Cape Town advocate Pete Mihalik was killed in a well-planned hit by known killers-for-hire, who were transported to the city from KwaZulu-Natal to carry out one instruction: “Shoot the white man.”
This was the picture painted by Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear, a top cop investigating the execution of one of Cape Town’s most sought after defence advocates.
Bail proceedings of Sizwe Biyela, Nkosinathi Khumalo and Vuyile Maliti commenced in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. They face charges of murder, attempted murder and the possession of a firearm and ammunition.
All three intended to plead not guilty, denying any involvement in Mihalik’s murder. He was shot dead on October 30 in Green Point while doing the school run.
Mihalik’s son was also hit in the shooting, but survived. His daughter escaped uninjured.
Biyela is accused of firing the fatal shots and was, according to the State, captured on CCTV footage filmed from a nearby guesthouse fleeing the scene and shoving a gun into a file, folder or bag he had been carrying.
According to the prosecution’s evidence, Biyela and Khumalo were brought to Cape Town to carry out the hit, ostensibly by Maliti.
The three, together with a fourth unidentified suspect, allegedly travelled in two cars – a VW Polo and a Renault Clio, apparently hired by Maliti. Both were spotted on CCTV footage in the area a day before the hit as well as the morning of the murder.
Khumalo was arrested less than an hour after Mihalik was gunned down when a traffic officer pulled over the Clio he was driving and the VW Polo behind him for not stopping at a stop sign.
According to an affidavit by Kinnear, Maliti accepted his traffic fine but the Clio drove off and the driver later returned on foot.
The traffic officer asked Khumalo where his car was and he responded that his passenger had driven away in it.
Maliti left the scene after receiving the ticket while the traffic officer asked Khumalo to accompany him to look for the car so that the fine could be completed.
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Kinnear said the traffic officer became aware of the shooting and the cars involved when he arrived at the Sea Point police station with Khumalo and informed authorities that he might have a suspect with him.
Kinnear himself arrested Biyela after tracing the cellphone which he received several calls from while he was with the police.
The alleged gunman was found at a Bellville bus depot and the investigating officer said he recognised Biyela from the CCTV footage, as well as his watch and shoes.
Kinnear added that Biyela had been warned of his rights and opted to answer his questions after his arrest.
He told the officer that he was in Sea Point that day because “Khumalo said the white man needed to be shot”.
Khumalo also ostensibly handed him the weapon used in the shooting. It has still not been retrieved.
Khumalo also answered Kinnear’s questions, allegedly saying that Maliti had asked him to kill a “white man” the day before. But he told him he was scared.
They returned the next day and he was driving the Polo.
Maliti had gone to Johannesburg after the murder. He was found to have sold 11 gold Kruger Rands the same day Mihalik had been murdered in Kenilworth and was given R200 000 cash.
Kinnear said in his affidavit that Biyela and Khumalo were known in their hometowns as “hitmen” who were used in taxi-related hits.
Biyela, a father of two from Durban, told the court he was not formally employed but earned a living as a money lender.
He has a pending case of attempted murder, which was committed in Melmouth.
Khumalo, a father of three from Empangeni, is a taxi driver with a pending murder charge who “planned to turn State witness”.
Maliti, a taxi owner from Blue Downs, admitted he had been previously convicted for drunk driving as well as theft. He also has a pending case of possession of suspected stolen property.
All three said they intended to plead not guilty to all charges.
Bail proceedings continue on May 10.