24 June 2019

South Africa: Mihalik Murder Accused Denies Being Involved, Says He Was Afraid of Torture

One of the three men accused of the murder of advocate Pete Mihalik denied having anything to do with the top lawyer's murder, and accused the investigating officer of lying about him, the Cape Town Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

"I once again categorically deny that I was in any way involved in the killing of advocate Mihalik," said murder accused Vuyile Maliti in an affidavit read out by his lawyer Jannie Kruger.

Maliti added that when he heard the authorities wanted to question him in connection with Mihalik's murder, he tried to get a lawyer first because he was scared of being tortured by the police.

"From experience, I realised I would be arrested and subjected to torture, so I decided to call a lawyer."

Maliti said could not find any lawyer in Cape Town to represent him, not even his usual one, Bruce Hendricks, who was a friend of Mihalik's.

He eventually found Kruger, who is based in Johannesburg, and then contacted the police.

Maliti said even after that, the investigating officer gave them two days before he handed himself in, which he questioned, wondering why they waited so long if they had such a solid case against him.

Through Kruger, his untested submissions unpicked much of the evidence built against him so far for his bail application.

He said he did not use the phone the investigating officer claimed he had used at the time of the murder and only gave an old number he does not use because he could not remember his current number. His VW Golf, which was linked to the murder, had different tail lights and was a different colour, Maliti added.

He accused the investigating officer, Charl Kinnear of the Anti-Gang Unit, of lying by linking that phone to the murder via cellphone tower triangulation.

"This is a blatant lie. He is committing perjury and misleading the court," said Maliti's affidavit.

Three accused

Mihalik was shot dead in his car while doing a school run near Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard School in Green Point, Cape Town, on October 30. His son was injured, and his daughter escaped physical harm. Both of them were in the car with him.

Maliti, Sizwe Biyela and Nkosinathi Khumalo were arrested and face charges of murder, attempted murder as well as the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition in connection with what may have been an alleged hit on Mihalik.

The court heard previously that Khumalo is a taxi driver in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, and lives on reserve land near Empangeni, while Biyela is a money lender who has an address in Umlazi. Police were unable to confirm those two addresses for the purpose of bail.

Mihalik had a diverse client list, from property mogul Jason Rohde, who was found guilty of the murder of his wife, Susan, to businessperson and alleged Cape Town underworld figure Nafiz Modack who is currently on trial for extortion.

Khumalo was arrested less than an hour after Mihalik was gunned down when traffic officer Boy Makutu pulled over the Renault Clio he was driving and a VW Polo behind him for a traffic violation. They had not stopped at a stop sign.

Maliti, who was in the VW, was given a fine and left, but the Clio drove off and the driver later returned on foot.

'There was no evidence I was on the scene'

Makutu asked Khumalo where his car was, and he responded that his passenger had driven away in it. The traffic offer took Khumalo to the police station to complete the administrative work on the fine.

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 the authorities that he might have a suspect with him.

Biyela was tracked to a bus depot in Bellville.

"No video footage is available to identify me on the scene. There is no evidence I was on the murder scene," said Maliti.

"I don't believe my two co-accused will implicate me during the trial. They also deny any involvement in the murder."

Maliti said he wanted to clear his name.

The bail application was postponed to July 29.

Source: News24

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