20-year sentence for July 2021unrest killing

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

A 38-year-old man, Joel Pillay, has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for a murder he committed during the KwaZulu-Natal public unrest in July 2021.

Pillay was sentenced in the Scottburgh High Court.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, said Pillay was found guilty of murdering Lindani Mthethwa while he was walking down a street in Verulam when Pillay drove past him.

“Pillay, who was driving a marked vehicle owned by a security company, turned his vehicle around and drove back towards Mthethwa. When he was alongside Mthethwa he lowered the window of his vehicle and shot him in the head. Mthethwa died on the scene.

“The NPA commends the work done by the prosecution and other stakeholders in securing the conviction,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

The state’s case was led by Advocate Thabani Buthelezi who led evidence from two eyewitnesses.

“Buthelezi also submitted a Victim Impact Statement compiled by Mthethwa’s sister and facilitated by Court Preparation Officer Thandeka Mofokeng. In her statement the woman said Mthethwa was a responsible and hardworking person. She said that her family has been financially and emotionally affected. She added that the incident was traumatic, as she still has flashbacks.

“In sentencing Pillay, the court deviated from the minimum sentence of life imprisonment, citing that he was a first offender when he committed the offence. Pillay was sentenced accordingly, and the court found him unfit to possess a firearm,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

Some 350 people lost their lives during the July 2021 unrest that unfolded in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The violence and destruction also caused damage to infrastructure and businesses costing South Africa’s economy some R50 billion, with a further two million jobs being lost or affected. – SAnews.gov.za