Who was the mysterious ‘pale Xhosa’ hitman in Mihalik’s murder?
A man described as having light brown skin is the missing puzzle piece in an otherwise near-complete probe
The investigation into the murder of Cape Town advocate Pete Mihalik is almost complete, according to the investigating officer.
But the probe has not shed light on the involvement of a “light-complexioned Xhosa man” in orchestrating the hit that claimed Mihalik’s life outside his children’s school six months ago.
During last week’s bail hearing of alleged KwaZulu-Natal hitmen Sizwe Biyela and Nkosinathi Khumalo and Cape Town taxi boss Vuyile Maliti, investigating officer Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear said the probe was almost wrapped up.
In an affidavit read at Cape Town Magistrates’ Court by prosecutor Helene Booysen, Kinnear said: “The investigation is nearly finalised. I still await the crime-scene photos as well as some statements from the mortuary, but expect to receive some soon.
“The matter will be referred to the high court for trial. It is not a complicated matter, and should not result in a long and protracted trial.”
Statements taken by Kinnear, Biyela and Khumalo indicated a fourth suspect was involved in the murder.
Biyela said he arrived in Cape Town four days before Mihalik’s murder on October 30 and reconnoitred the crime scene outside Reddam House in Green Point.
He said he, Khumalo and Maliti drove to Sea Point in two vehicles on October 29, and “a guy that is light of complexion” also came along. Biyela said the man also travelled with them on the day of the shooting.
Biyela was caught on CCTV cameras firing two shots at Mihalik through the lawyer’s car window. He said the man drove one of the cars after shooting.
“I heard he drove the Renault from there,” Biyela said in his statement. “The driver of the Polo [Maliti] told me that the light of complexion [man is] driving the Renault away.”
Shortly after the shooting, Biyela was arrested in Bellville as he was about to board a bus to Durban. Police recognised him from CCTV footage obtained from properties near the crime scene.
He told detectives he had bought the bus ticket in Langa and had left the clothes he had been wearing with “the dark-complexioned man who drove the Polo [Maliti]”.
He added: “We went to the house of the guy who is light in complexion, and they took me to Shoprite where I bought the ticket to go back to Durban in the bus.”
Khumalo said he arrived in Cape Town from KwaZulu-Natal three days before Mihalik’s death to drive Maliti’s taxi.
He claimed Maliti took him to Sea Point to “show me where I was going to start when I am driving the taxi”.
He also alluded to the involvement of a fourth person in the plot.
“[Maliti and I] left Khayelitsha with the Polo. When we got to Cape Town, we got the Renault. In the Polo was Sizwe and another guy. The other guy I do not know was driving the Renault. The other guy was Xhosa but light of complexion,” Khumalo’s statement said.
“We drove up from Main Road, then Maliti told me that there was a white man that had to be killed. I then told him that I was scared. We drove around Sea Point, and then we went back to Khayelitsha.”
Khumalo corroborated Biyela’s statement that the “Xhosa man who is light of complexion” also took part in the plot on the morning of Mihalik’s death. He said he would be able to identify Maliti and the other “Xhosa man”, but especially Maliti.
Kinnear opposed the bail application, but there was no indication the police were going after the “light- complexioned man” or that they had found his existence to be a sham.
“There is a very strong case against the accused, and when they are convicted they face a sentence of life imprisonment,” Kinnear said in his affidavit.
“I am persuaded that in the circumstances the accused will be highly motivated to evade their trial. This is a very high-profile case that has been widely reported in the media. The court is aware of the fact that during every appearance, journalists are present.
“The deceased was a well-known and respected member of the Cape Bar. He was killed in execution style in front of a school during peak hour with no regard for his own children who were with him in the vehicle, other school children, parents and pedestrians using the road.”
Mihalik, 50, was killed as he dropped off his son and teenage daughter. A man walked up to his Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 and fired two shots through the driver’s door window. The gunmen fled the scene in a silver VW Polo.
The men are facing a slew of charges including murder, two counts of attempted murder, possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition. Mihalik’s eight-year-old son was hit by fragments of one of two bullets fired into the advocate’s car outside Reddam House on the Atlantic Seaboard in Green Point.