An overheating car and a jammed gun led to the “assisted suicide” of mining magnate Brett Kebble being postponed twice.
Boxer Mikey Schultz was the first state witness to testify on Monday in the South Gauteng High Court in the Kebble murder case, for which drug dealer Glenn Agliotti is in the dock.
Schultz’s gripping evidence made it appear as if the universe was conspiring against Kebble’s death.
Schultz told the court how a number of unforeseen incidents stood in the way of two previous attempts to kill Kebble, including the gun misfiring twice on one night.
Schultz explained how his former boss, and head of security for the Kebble mines, Clinton Nassif, arranged for Schultz, Nigel McGurk and panel-beating shop owner Faizel “Kappie” Smith to assist Kebble in his own suicide.
They were promised R2-million by Nassif for the shooting, said Schultz, dressed in a black suit with neatly cut hair.
On the initial evening of the planned shooting in September 2005, Schultz claims to have received phone calls from Nassif’s wife, Kerry, as well as from Agliotti, to call off the shooting.
A few days later, on September 26, Schultz’s wife’s Volkswagen Golf GTI, which he, McGurk and Smith were driving in to carry out the shooting in Melrose, overheated at the last minute, leaving them to find a garage and call off the plan. Schultz said that Kebble had been “furious”, because he had had to drive around the area looking for them for fear they had “picked up the wrong tail”.
On the third attempt, the next night, things didn’t go smoothly either. “Kappie flashed his lights and Kebble pulled over to shoulder of road,” said Schultz. “We pulled up next to him, my window was in line with his. This was the first time I’d ever seen Mr Kebble. He was in the driver’s seat, had both hands on the steering wheel. He looked at me then in front of him and lifted his right shoulder — I aimed at his head, like Clinton [Nassif] instructed me. I pulled the trigger but it did not discharge. I then climbed back into the car and said ‘Kappie go!'”
The hit men drove around the block, while Schultz said he loaded a new round of bullets into the chamber of the gun. When Kebble’s silver Mercedes-Benz pulled up next to them for the third time that night, Schultz said: “You could see the disappointment on his face. He gave me a look like to say, ‘Come on man, get this over with.’
“I pulled the trigger, this time the gun fired,” Schultz said, sighing. “I kept firing. I think it was more than five times. Our instructions, received from Clinton, were that Brett mustn’t suffer, he must die. This is why I shot him five times.”
Earlier on Monday, Agliotti pleaded not guilty to four charges.
The Kebble murder trial got under way on Monday after numerous postponements since Agliotti’s arrest in November 2006.
State prosecutor Dan Dakana added two more charges to the indictment against Agliotti on Monday morning. They are the attempted murder of Allan Gray fund manager Stephen Mildenhall in August 2005, and conspiracy to murder Mildenhall and mining bosses Danie Nortier, Mark Bristow and Mark Wellesley-Wood.
The two other charges against Agliotti are the murder of Kebble and conspiracy to murder Kebble.
Schultz was the state’s first witness on Monday morning. He testified about an alleged hit list Kebble gave to Nassif. On the hit list were the names of a number of businessmen, and noseweek editor Martin Welz.
The Scorpions, who took over the murder investigation from the police in 2006, came under fire for dishing out indemnity agreements to Nassif, Schultz and other people implicated in the murder. The state has argued that Agliotti and Kebble’s former business associate, John Stratton, were the masterminds behind the hit.
Stratton currently lives in Australia and efforts to extradite him to South Africa have been under way for a number of years.
Agliotti will not be prosecuted by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who headed the Scorpions’ investigation into the criminal network around Kebble. Prosecutions boss Menzi Simelane removed Nel and his team from the case earlier this year to focus on prosecuting Selebi.