Kinnear investigator uncovers the anatomy of a botched Cape Flats hit
A week before an attempt to throw a hand grenade at his house in November 2019, anti-gang unit detective Lt-Col Charl Kinnear’s life was already in mortal danger.
A hitman who later turned state witness had already been approached by Elsies River mother of two Amaal Jantjies and asked to do a drive-by shooting at the Kinnear family home.
This is according to an affidavit presented in Jantjies' bail hearing last month by Hawks warrant officer Trevor Shaw, who investigated the grenade plot.
Jantjies' alleged motive, according to the state, was to help alleged underworld boss Nafiz Modack to either kill or scare Kinnear.
The detective was investigating Modack on firearm-related charges and was responsible for Modack’s arrest and prosecution in an extortion case dating back to December 2017.
Modack and his associates were acquitted after the Cape Town regional court heard of connections between alleged rival underworld boss Mark Lifman and police officers involved in the case.
The way the extortion case was handled and the subsequent murders of Modack's fellow accused Carl Lakay and lawyer Pete Mihalik placed Kinnear firmly at the centre of Modack's focus.
The detective made enemies when his guns investigation led to the arrests of 10 officers — including brigadiers — connected to the police Central Firearms Registry in June 2019.
Reports at the time suggested three generals were also implicated but they were not arrested. TimesLIVE sources said generals are usually politically-aligned, suggesting that the guns inquiry made Kinnear unpopular with superiors and the ANC.
Modack will attempt to apply for bail on Monday after his arrest at the end of April for Kinnear's September 2020 murder. He is charged with more than 3,000 offences, mostly involving “pinging” cellphones to locate their owners.
In comparison to last year's hit outside Kinnear's home in Bishop Lavis, the grenade plot was rudimentary.
The state alleges Jantjies assisted Modack in the hope that he would help her secure the freedom of her lover, Janick Adonis — a member of the Junky Funky Kids gang who was on trial at the time — by paying for his lawyers to secure an urgent bail application.
By November 2019, when hitmen were looking for an opportunity to strike at Kinnear, Jantjies had allegedly already corrupted anti-gang unit sergeant Ashley Tabisher on Modack's behalf. The officer allegedly fed her information about possible raids on Modack's residences.
By November 17, the alleged hitman — who cannot be named because he is a state witness and for safety concerns — had reconnoitred Kinnear's home.
In WhatsApp conversations downloaded from her phone after her arrest, Jantjies told him: “They did not ask you to let the man fall [die] but only wants an attempt.”
She asks him to make the attempt happen. “If [Kinnear] dies, it’s a bonus.”
During one of his recces, the would-be assassin took a video of Kinnear's home from a moving vehicle and sent it to Jantjies.
Cellphone information obtained by Shaw, a member of the Hawks national priority violent crime office in Pretoria who was part of a national intervention team that investigated Kinnear's murder, showed Jantjies forwarded the video to Modack via WhatsApp.
She told Modack: “U see there is a lot off polisie but ons is besag hy se hy vat sy tyd ... Hy Sal dit doen u don’t have to worry.” (“We are busy, he says he’s taking his time ... He will do it, you don’t have to worry.”)
She followed it up with a voice note: “He [the hitman] asks if there isn’t a way that one could get a hand grenade. It would be better just to throw one, please, than if a person just had to go and hit there. If we can get one of those, a hand grenade, then things can happen.”
During Jantjies’ bail application last month, prosecutor Blaine Lazarus alleged that her WhatsApp communications and cellphone calls proved she was planning various attacks from at least November 17 2019.
“The conversations between several of the people that she approached to do this attack showed that she did not care if any person who they attacked died in the process,” he said.
Jantjies claimed she was actually part of a conspiracy to aid the anti-gang unit to trap Modack into arranging a hit on Kinnear. Everything she did, she said, was part of a plan concocted by unit boss Lt-Gen Andre Lincoln.
Her WhatsApp conversations showed how on November 18 she contacted a person named “Yussie” and asked him to do a drive-by shooting at Kinnear's home.
Yussie did a reconnaissance and reported back to Jantjies, saying there were police at the house and asking whether the occupants were under police guard.
She told Yussie that “whoever stands there must fall [die]”, adding: “I want to stand by my window so I can hear the shots.”
Yussie appeared to back out, saying he didn’t want “his guys” who would do the shooting to go to jail.
Jantjies contacted another hitman — saved on her WhatsApp as a contact called Morne — and offered him R20,000 for the job. But he turned it down.
On November 21 she contacted a “Stone”, who told her “Nico” would take the hit. She tried to contact Nico directly about obtaining guns, bullets and grenades.
At 9am that day, she received a message telling her to go to the Shell petrol station at Canal Walk shopping centre at 8pm, where someone will drop off R20,000 — money the state alleges was to pay for the hit on Kinnear.
CCTV footage showed her park next to a white BMW and collect an envelope from the occupants shortly before 9pm.
Her WhatsApp message showed that she immediately contacted Adonis, who was in prison, and sent him photos of the money. The pictures depicted R200 notes with the serial numbers visible.
On November 22, Jantjies again tried to arrange for hitmen to attack the Kinnear residence. By this time she was trying to procure a hand grenade from at least three contacts.
She eventually procured a grenade and a willing hitman — said to be their fellow accused in the case, Faeez Smith, also known as Mamokkie.
At 10pm, Jantjies left to meet a contact who would supply her with a grenade at a petrol station in Macassar.
The state alleges, with testimonies by more state witnesses, that she told Adonis over the phone that everyone who handled the grenade would need gloves.
Jantjies left to pick up Smith in Manenberg and allegedly told him how to conduct the attack and where to meet her afterwards.
During cross-examination in her bail bid, Jantjies admitted picking up the grenade and showing Smith where it must be thrown.
“She admits that she showed him the video that was taken by AB of Kinnear’s house. That she dropped him off close to Kinnear’s house so that he can go and throw the hand grenade and that she waited for him to return to a prearranged place after the hand grenade attack,” said Lazarus.
“Her recordings and tower location also showed that she picked him up and that he spoke to Adonis shortly after he was picked up.”
The plan was all set for the attack she and Adonis had allegedly been stitching together. But one more thing was needed: she allegedly stopped and bought Smith some crystal meth, or “tik”, to give him some “lust” for the attack.
Nothing could go wrong, she allegedly told Adonis. But then everything did.
This article is part of a series on evidence led in court about the grenade plot.