How Kebble’s hitmen began to sing

2011-04-09 15:31

The Scorpions were dangling a carrot in front of Mikey Schultz, Nigel McGurk and Kappie Smith.

Their attorney, Ian Small-Smith, was doing his damnedest to convince the trio that what the authorities were offering was not just a carrot, but something far sweeter. They were so opposed to cooperating with officials that it was simply not an option for them.

For Kappie, who endured years of abuse from police during ­apartheid and after, talking to the cops was a completely foreign concept. “I wouldn’t. I would ­never. It’s against the policy. That’s why I was tortured all my life. Because I’d never speak.”

Mikey felt the same way but he was also not prepared to go to jail.

“If I know that I’m going to jail tomorrow or I’m going to be ­arrested, that’s the end of it. ­Being inside four walls to me is like being dead so I’ve got nothing to live for. I’ll have it out with the police and they’ll shoot me.

I’ve made a pact with myself and I’ll stick to it, hey. And that was my plan all along,” he tells me.

After Small-Smith’s approach, Mikey spoke to Nigel and Kappie about the deal on the table.

“They said: ‘Listen, we keep quiet.’ I said cool. Now the way the three of us have always worked is that there’s three decisions.

­Every one of them must count.

So if two make the same decision and the other makes another ­decision, we’ve got to come to a decision that we either all three go this way or all three go that way.”

Small-Smith was persistent.

He tried a second time a few weeks later.

“He said to me: ‘Listen, come see me.’ I went to go see him. He said to me, listen, there must be some kind of truth in this.

This is the story.

The Scorpions kept on going to him, telling him: ‘Tell Schultz to give us a statement and he’ll walk out of court a free man.’

I said no.” Mikey was resolute and he wasn’t even coming clean to his lawyer.

It was only on the third attempt that Mikey began to buckle.

“The third time, Ian called me and said: ‘These okes are busy building a case and they say they’ve got evidence against you.

I think Clint’s (Nassif) talking”,’ recalls Mikey.

He tells me that he still wasn’t convinced his friend Clint would sell him out. Small-Smith told his client he was on his way to a ­meeting with Nassif’s legal team at the Sandton News Café.

He told Mikey to be available in case he needed him to go there. An hour after the meeting, Mikey received a call from his attorney and was told to go to the News Café.

“I sat down with Ian and he explained to me that the deal was made. Ian’s words to me were: ‘This boat’s leaving. You want to get on this boat before it leaves.’”

Reluctantly, they agreed in principle that they would take the deal. But first, they wanted to go home and tell their families what they had done.
Now, I’m not quite sure how one does this type of thing.

To have to go home to their families and tell them they had been keeping this gargantuan secret, that they had murdered Brett Kebble, could only have been terrifying.

“It was like the hardest thing ­ever to tell my wife. It didn’t go great,” Mikey says. An obvious understatement.

“I said to her: ‘Listen, I shot Brett Kebble.’ So she said: ‘Who’s saying this now again?’

Because every weekend there was a story when we were in the clubs about how we done this and how we done that, and I said: ‘No, that’s what happened. We shot Brett.’

“She was quiet and very ­withdrawn. She started crying and said: ‘What’s going to happen with the kids and that?’

I was like: ‘Listen, we busy sorting it out. We are going to be fine.’

She obviously also didn’t ­believe that we were going to get the deal we got.”

With his blue eyes, boyish grin and impeccable manners, it is ­difficult to believe that Mikey is capable of murder when first meeting him. He is polite and ­respectful, referring to those he respects as “Aunty” or “Mister”.

He loves to tell cheeky jokes and proudly displays pictures of his children on the chat feature on his cellphone.

Only his tattoos give any suggestion of another side.

For his wife to hear that he’d committed such a high-profile murder must have been devastating.

Mikey also went to tell his sister Cathy and her husband Mark Groenewald. What he didn’t count on, though, was that his brother-in-law would phone his attorney and friend Gary ­Mazerham to tell him.

Mazerham had his own ­connections to law-enforcement officials, and he phoned the ­police and the Scorpions.

The Scorpions were furious that one of the three had spoken out about their arrangement.

They called an urgent meeting at Small-Smith’s offices. But the trio had a backup plan, just in case the Scorpions decided to arrest them.

“When we went we said: ‘Ah fuck, Clint’s the only one who’s got any evidence against us,’ and we left Kappie waiting with a gun very close to Clint’s work. If we were arrested he was going to shoot Clint.”

Mikey tells me this quite ­dispassionately but I struggle to disguise the impact of the revelation.

I ask Kappie if it really is true and would he have killed Clint if it came down to it. “Yes,” he tells me, slightly embarrassed.

“To save me and my friends’ life. Yes. Something would have ­happened somewhere along the line and I’m sure that’s what he would have done to us if it had been the other way around.

“That’s why I still think we all three are still alive.”

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