Order to kill Pete Mihalik was issued in jail cell
Two crime bosses are behind Cape Town murder of defence advocate, sources say
A R1m hit on Cape Town advocate Pete Mihalik was ordered from a prison cell, well-placed sources have told the Sunday Times.
The hit on Mihalik, who was shot dead on Tuesday while dropping off his two children at school, was at the behest of two senior figures in the Cape Town underworld, the sources said.
They are said to have approached a Gugulethu tavern owner serving time for armed robbery. In turn, the tavern owner approached a 35-year-old taxi boss in Khayelitsha to recruit the killers.
Two KwaZulu-Natal men, Sizwe Biyela, 26 and Nkosinathi Khumalo, 31, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate's court on Thursday in connection with the shooting. According to the sources, they were paid R250,000 each and the taxi boss was paid R500,000.
Mihalik's murder sent specialised police units and an army of underworld members scouring the Cape Flats this week for the alleged middleman.
"It's not taxi violence," a source said. "This thing is big, rough and dangerous. People are freaking out. The two guys from KZN were paid big money for this.
"There is one guy outstanding, and yes, let me just say, he is the link.
"Either someone is going to take him out before justice comes or he will just disappear.
"Unless he lawyers up and makes sure he's protected, then someone will try to take him out because he is the only one who can talk and say where it [the hit] comes from."
One source said the taxi boss was still in hiding on Friday. "Everyone is looking [for the middleman]," the source said. "He is calling people from a private number, he is so scared."
Mihalik represented numerous gangsters, and initially there was widespread suspicion that his murder could be linked to one of the cases he was involved in.
A number of sources said Mihalik defended rival gangs in their skirmishes with the law, and this could have put his life in danger as adversaries felt he double-crossed them.
A source said one of the men was arrested near Atlantis and the other was arrested in "Khayelitsha or Langa somewhere".
At the crime scene, outside Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard, "various cops arrived from stations … among them very skilled policemen, guys who are on the straight and narrow", he said.
"Those guys started investigating … and asked questions around the houses and they got video footage which showed how the guy got out the car, walked up to the window [and] everything. They got the number plate, sent the signal out and that is how these guys were arrested."
The Sunday Times understands there will not be a public funeral for Mihalik, and he will be cremated once his autopsy is completed.
"I think the feeling is that any kind of public memorial will end up being a bloodbath. It's just not safe," said another source close to the advocate.
Mihalik, 50, was killed as he dropped of his eight-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter at 7.35am on Tuesday. A man walked up to his new R2.3m Mercedes-Benz GLE 63 and fired two shots through the driver's door window. The gunman fled the scene in a silver VW Polo driven by an accomplice.
Biyela and Khumalo, from Umlazi, were charged with murder, attempted murder and possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition on Thursday.
FURTHER ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGE
According to the charge sheet, the alleged hitmen inflicted "serious and potentially life-threatening injuries" on Mihalik's son and were in possession of a 9mm firearm. Prosecutor Helene Booysen said the state intended adding a further attempted murder charge "regarding a female child". She asked the court to postpone the matter for seven days for further investigation.
"The accused hail from KZN. The investigating officer has asked for seven days to ascertain that the accused have fixed addresses," said Booysen.
She asked for the men to be held at Sea Point police station as detention in prison would endanger their lives. National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said one of the men had been out on bail in connection with another killing, "which happened out of his province".
The men were not legally represented and Biyela opted for a legal aid lawyer. A legal source said: "No lawyer wants to touch them in Cape Town."
Prominent Cape Town lawyer William Booth, chairman of the Law Society's criminal law committee, said: "I really don't want to comment on the matter at this stage.
"I knew him [Mihalik] very, very well. I have known him and his wife and friends for many, many years, since he was a prosecutor in the lower courts."
A LEGAL EAGLE OF THE UNDERWORLD
Advocate Pete Mihalik represented alleged hard-core gang bosses during his 20-year career at the Cape Bar. They included: Serbian fugitive Dobrosav Gavric, who was attempting to avoid extradition to his home country to serve time for murder. Gavric was sentenced in Serbia, in his absence, to 35 years for three murders in 2000. He had been living in SA since 2007 under the name Sasa Kovaceic when he was arrested in 2011. At the time, the Cape Town magistrate's court heard Gavric was linked to underworld figures including Jerome "Donkie" Booysen, the alleged leader of the notorious Sexy Boys.
The Cakasayo brothers - Andile, Melikhaya and Nkosithandile - and Nyameko Daki, who were implicated in taxi killings in Nyanga, Cape Town. According to the state, the men shot and killed two people and attempted to kill three others at the Nyanga taxi rank in 2013. The case is pending in the high court in Cape Town. On November 26, the court had been due to hear whether the taxi bosses would be able to foot Mihalik's bill until the end of their trial.
Nafiz Modack, Colin Booysen, Ashley Fields, Jacques Cronje and Carl Lakay, who are alleged to lead a protection racket. The men are accused of extorting hundreds of thousands of rands from the Grand Africa Café in Green Point. The group has been at war with a rival gang controlled by alleged mafia boss Mark Lifman, "Donkie" Booysen and bouncer boss André Naudé for control of nightclub security in Cape Town. Mihalik had been due to defend Modack and his co-accused in the Cape Town regional court next week.
Alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield, who is facing fraud, corruption and firearms charges - alongside his wife Nicole, his sister Francesca and three police officers - in the Khayelitsha priority crimes court. Stanfield survived a shooting in Johannesburg last year. He was reportedly hit up to 14 times when gunmen opened fire on his Audi R8 in Melrose Arch. It is understood he was wearing a bulletproof vest.