Two Throb accused confess

2000-12-06 20:22

Durban - Two of the accused in the Throb nightclub tragedy on Wednesday admitted their involvement in the incident to the Durban High Court.

Thirteen children died when a teargas canister was detonated inside the club on 24 March, causing the children to stampede and resulting in a wall collapsing on top of them.

The three accused, Selvan Naidoo, Vincent Pillay and Sivanathan Chetty are facing 13 murder charges and 56 assault charges in the matter. All three have pleaded not guilty.

Naidoo and Pillay on Wednesday, however, admitted they were involved in smuggling the canister into the nightclub and detonating it.

Naidoo said he placed the canister behind a speaker in the club after Pillay smuggled it in.

Both men told the court Chetty provided the canister because he wanted the children to rather attend the less popular Silver Slipper club, of which he was manager.

Earlier the court heard that more than a thousand children, some as young as 11 years, were in the club for an end of term matinee.

Naidoo said he was present when Chetty gave the canister to Pillay. At first he thought it was a bomb, he said. However, Chetty assured them it was teargas.

He said Chetty showed them how to detonate the canister and told them it would make the children's eyes tear.

Naidoo, unemployed at the time, said Chetty promised him money and a job at the Silver Slipper if he detonated the canister.

"I did not expect anyone to die, there were four exits and I did not know they would all rush out through one.

"So many people died and it was hurting me, so I told the police," Naidoo said.

Naidoo said Chetty offered him R5 000 and a gun to kill State witness Dayalan Pillay for fear he would talk to the police.

Vincent Pillay said he was told to take the canister into Throb or loose his job. Pillay said Silver Slipper owner Gonny Subramoney told him if he did not take the canister to the club, "he must not think about coming back to work".

Chetty, when took the stand after lunch, denied any involvement in the incident.

"I was never involved. I was accused of something I did not do."

He said he had alibis for all the times the other accused said they were with him.

He denied knowing that his co-accused were involved in the tragedy because he said he did " not mind other people's business".

All he did was give them a lift to Umkomaas after Pillay's "hysterical family" begged him to take them away from Durban.

His two co-accused, sitting in the dock, kept shaking their heads as he related his testimony. - Sapa