SAPS honours ‘Bones’ Pillay

2017-03-17 09:37
Captain Dhanabalan ‘Bones’ Pillay recently received a gold medal for 40 years’ service in the SAPS.

Captain Dhanabalan ‘Bones’ Pillay recently received a gold medal for 40 years’ service in the SAPS. (Ian Carbutt)

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After heading up some of the biggest arrests in Pietermaritzburg, Captain Dhanabalan “Bones” Pillay recently received a gold medal for 40 years’ service in the SAPS.

He was involved in the arrest of Rodger Thusi, who was convicted for the murder of Loyiso Jokweni, whose head was found in Thusi’s fridge.

“We were tasked with trying to find the missing person in the case. We arrested Thusi and took him to his house. We searched the whole place and one of my members, Xolani Shabangu, randomly decided to open the fridge. To everyone’s surprise there the head was, in the freezer,” remembers Pillay.

Thusi was convicted for the murder of 18-year-old Jokweni, which he alleged was for a ritual to make his business prosper, as ordered by the late traditional healer Mduduzi Manqele.

“The feeling you get after a successful arrest is so amazing. You feel a sense of reward from knowing that you’ve made a difference in your community,” said Pillay.

He said he was nicknamed Bones because when he was in police training college he weighed only 56 kg and was the smallest in his group. Alongside his team of four members — Themba Mdunge, Nkosinathi Dladla, Xolani Shabangu and Dumisani Ngcobo — Pillay is responsible for the tracing unit of the Pietermaritzburg South cluster, which traces and arrests suspects in serious crimes in the region.

“We’ve had a lot of success, but none of them would have been possible without such a hard-working and dedicated team,” said Pillay.

He said the serious crimes with the highest number of incidents in Pietermaritzburg were robberies and housebreakings and in the CBD it was mostly crimes involving the vagrants.

“They [vagrants] are a hard one to tackle because you cannot just go in and arrest all of them because of freedom of association. I think it is great that the mayor is now offering them rehabilitation for their whoonga addiction,” said Pillay

“With all the things that are inside the whoonga including ARVS and rat poison, withdrawal symptoms are aggravated. They will do anything to get their next fix. Anything they see, they take,” said Pillay, adding that whoonga only started showing up on Pietermaritzburg streets about four years ago.

Pillay, who has been a captain for 24 years, said he knew as a young child that he wanted to become a police officer.

“When I was 11 years old, we used to have a tenant in our yard that would lose their mind [about once a month].

“I remember seeing the police coming to pick them up one day. I watched as they put them in the police van and decided that when I grow up I also wanted to become a police officer and arrest people,” said Pillay

Pillay joined the force in 1976 and by 1984 at age 26 he was a warrant officer. He became a detective in 1990 and three years later a captain.

Pillay, who will be retiring next year at 60, said all it took to be a good police officer was honesty and passion.

“I don’t carry a gun. I believe that if it is your time to go you will go. I go into an arrest with the belief that I’m not going there to fight, but to do a job in an honest and fair way.

“Someone has committed a crime and I’m here to arrest them,” said Pillay.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  good cops

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