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Fingerprints on hire car complicate murder case bail application

May 13, 2019


A tracker has placed a car hired in the name of one of the men accused of murdering Pete Mihalik near the scene of the crime, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard on Friday.

According to a second affidavit by anti-gang unit officer Charl Kinnear, a Vuyile Maliti hired a white VW Polo at Avis at Cape Town International Airport on October 27 – days before Mihalik was killed in front of his son and daughter on October 30.

A temporary driver’s licence issued in his name on October 1 in Lingelethu West, Khayelitsha, was used to hire the vehicle, and the return date was stated as October 31, the day after Mihalik was shot in the head and died.

The car’s tracker marks the vehicle as being near where Mihalik was killed before, and at the time, of the shooting while Mihalik was doing the school run to Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard School.

Mihalik’s son was injured and his daughter escaped physical harm.

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

Prosecutor Helene Booysen said that according to the tracker details, on October 29, the day before Mihalik was killed, at 07:44:45 the vehicle was at the corners of Upper Portswood and Main Road in Green Point.

“This corresponds to the information given by Accused 2 [Khumalo] in his warning statement about how they have scouted the area a day prior to the shooting,” said Booysen, reading Kinnear’s affidavit.

On October 30, the day Mihalik was killed, it was at De Smit and Somerset Road, Green Point at 07:13:25.

This is in the vicinity of the crime scene.

At 07:42:26 it was at Somerset Road and Ebenezer street in Green Point, where it was pulled over by traffic officer Boy Makutu minutes after the murder, on a traffic violation.

The traffic violation became the breakthrough in the case, the court has heard previously.

Biyela 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 from KwaZulu-Natal to carry out a hit, allegedly instructed by Maliti.

The three, together with afourth unidentified suspect, allegedly travelled in two cars – a VW Polo and a Renault Clio.

Both vehicles were spotted on CCTV footage in the area a day before Mihalik was killed, as well as the morning of the fatal shooting.

Khumalo was arrested less than an hour after Mihalik was gunned down when Makutu 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 is said to have 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.

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.

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.

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.

Maliti is understood to have handed himself in.

On Friday Booysen also submitted a lengthy print out of cellphone records obtained through a Criminal Procedure Act application, which show a flurry of mostly quick calls between Maliti and the other two suspects before and after the shooting.

Booysen, who is opposing bail on behalf of the State, said she had another submission by police that was still handwritten because it was recently obtained.

She said a fingerprint identified as Maliti’s was found on a Monster Red energy drink tin found in a white Audi A3 linked to the theft of a Toyota bakkie in Century City.

The Audi A3 had been stored at the police pound in Stikland.

Maliti has a previous conviction for drunk driving, and a pending case relating to the theft of a black Audi A3 from a house which was robbed.

That case is still continuing, and it is not yet clear at what stage the bakkie and white Audi case is at, just that the fingerprint was found on the tin in the white Audi.

The court also heard that neither Khumalo nor Biyela’s addresses in KwaZulu-Natal could be confirmed for the purposes of bail. Khumalo is a taxi driver in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal and Biyela is a money lender.

At the address Biyela gave in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, the family and neighbours said they had never heard of him.

Khumalo said he lived in a house in Hlangubo Reserve, near Empangeni, but police in the area said it would be “fruitless” to try and find the house without a landmark such as a shop.

The part-heard bail application almost stalled when isiZulu interpreter Gift Sithole said he would not work because he had not been paid since last October.

Magistrate Greg Jacobs postponed to June 24 for the lawyers of the three to consult their clients over the new information received.

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