It has been a year since Cape Town advocate Pete Mihalik, 50, was shot dead at close range while doing a school run on a sunny spring day.
His young son and teenage daughter lost their dad that Tuesday, October 30, having been with him in the Mercedes-Benz when shots were fired a few metres from Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard school in Green Point.
Chatting briefly from Pretoria on Thursday, Mihalik’s father, Janos, said the family was holding up.
It is not yet clear whether they will attend the trial of his alleged killers next year.
Here is what has happened since the killing, as they await justice for the suspected hit:
Mihalik was killed at around 07:30 after being shot in the head, with one bullet lodging in his son’s jaw.
The police said the shooter was seen fleeing the scene in a metallic grey VW Polo.
Nkosinathi Khumalo, 31, was arrested less than an hour after Mihalik was gunned down. A traffic officer pulled over the Clio he was driving and the VW Polo behind him for ignoring a stop sign.
Khumalo and Sizwe Sinzokohle Biyela, 26, were charged with the premeditated murder of Mihalik shortly after the killing. Both are from KwaZulu-Natal.
They have also been charged with attempted murder (no premeditation clause attached), the possession of an unlicenced firearm and ammunition.
Biyela is believed to have pulled the trigger.
A few days later, 35-year-old taxi owner Vuyile Maliti handed himself over to the police.
The three, together with a fourth unidentified suspect, allegedly travelled in two cars – a VW Polo and a Renault Clio – that were spotted on CCTV footage in the area a day before Mihalik was killed, as well as the morning of the shooting.
They are being held at separate prisons in the Western Cape.
They applied for bail but were denied after the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court found the State had prima facie evidence that they had been part of the “well-organised and meticulous planning” of Mihalik’s murder.
The State believes that Biyela and Khumalo were brought to Cape Town to carry out a hit, allegedly instructed by Maliti.
It has a list of 26 witnesses.
Status of the case
Among the witnesses are the traffic officer who took Khumalo to the police station after the traffic infringement, Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear who investigated the murder, and officials from Vodacom and Cell C who are expected to use cellphone billing to show the three men were in conversation with one another in the days leading up to and on the day Mihalik was shot dead.
Kinnear said in an affidavit Maliti had hired a white VW Polo at Cape Town International Airport three days before the murder using a temporary driver’s licence.
He added the return date was October 31, the day after Mihalik was killed.
The car’s tracker pinpoints the vehicle as being near where Mihalik was killed before, and at the time, of the shooting.
Biyela said in an affidavit he had been “compelled” to making a statement to the police after being threatened with being sent to Pollsmoor Prison, where the inmates would know “what [he] was there for”.
Kinnear arrested Biyela after tracing the cellphone from which he received several calls while he was with the police.
The alleged gunman was found at a Bellville bus depot, and the investigating officer said he recognised Biyela from CCTV footage as well as his watch and shoes.
Kinnear added Biyela had been warned of his rights and opted to answer his questions after being arrested.
He told the officer he was in Sea Point that day because “Khumalo said the white man needed to be shot”.
Khumalo also ostensibly handed him the weapon used in the shooting. It has still not been retrieved. He also answered Kinnear’s questions, allegedly saying Maliti had asked him to kill a “white man” the day before. But he told him he was scared.
Maliti has categorically denied being involved in the murder, saying in an affidavit during his bail application that he had tried to get a lawyer because he was scared of being tortured by the police.
He said he did not use the phone the investigating officer claimed he had used at the time of the murder and only gave an old number he does not use because he could not remember his current number. His VW Golf, which was linked to the murder, had different tail lights and was a different colour, Maliti added.
He accused Kinnear of lying by linking that phone to the murder via cellphone tower triangulation.
“This is a blatant lie. He is committing perjury and misleading the court,” his affidavit read.
The men will appear in the Western Cape High Court for the first time on November 29 for a pre-trial.
Their trial is expected to start sometime next year.