Mihalik murder accused says witnesses too 'scared' to testify on alibi

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Advocate Pete Mihalik
Advocate Pete Mihalik
PHOTO: Jaco Marais, Netwerk24
  • One of the men accused involvement in the murder of lawyer Pete Mihalik struggled to get witnesses to support his alibi.
  • Vuyile Maliti said one person he approached told him he needed to think about it and told him a close associate involved in the case had been shot dead. 
  • A second said he was too scared to testify.

One of the three men accused of the murder of lawyer Pete Mihalik told the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday that he couldn't get any of his black-market gold coin contacts to testify in support of his alibi.

Vuyile Maliti, Sizwe Biyela and Nkosinathi Khumalo are on trial for the murder of Mihalik on 30 October 2018, the attempted murder of his two children, and unlawful possession of a gun and ammunition.

They pleaded not guilty. 

All three said they were conducting a black-market deal with a gold-exchange owner the day of the murder and the day before the murder. 

Maliti said that at the time of the murder, he was brokering the sale of Kruger Rands with and for Biyela and Khumalo, who had travelled from KwaZulu-Natal to offload 19 coins that involved no paperwork. 

They were in a parked VW Golf in a Spar parking lot in Green Point the day before the shooting, the day of the shooting, and at the time of the shooting. 

However, Maliti was not able to convince two gold-coin traders he had met on the day of the murder and the day before the murder to testify in court to support his version that he was nowhere near the murder scene. 

Maliti, a taxi owner from Khayelitsha, testified in the Western Cape High Court that his pleas via phone calls for them to testify led nowhere. 

READ | R200k in Kruger Rands cashed in by Mihalik murder accused hours after hit

Gold exchange owner "Muhammed" (no surname) said he would like to speak to his lawyer before committing to testifying, even though they had known each other for years. 

"Baba", (no surname) who also owns a gold exchange in the Cape Town CBD, did not make him wait for an answer when he called him from prison. 

Maliti testified:

He told me straight. He said that he is not coming - he is scared.

Baba initially wanted the coins, but backed out.

He said Muhammed also told him that an old friend, Nkululeko, "who was also involved in this case", had been shot dead. 

He did not elaborate on how Nkululeko was involved, but news reports in 2019 also linked a Nkululeko Tuntubele in Gugulethu.

He ultimately sold the coins at a shop that used to be owned by Marc Orton in Kenilworth, Cape Town.

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His counsel took him through the call and cellphone tower log that the State presented earlier in the trial and filled in some of the blanks regarding unidentified cellphone numbers on his call log. 

One belonged to one of his taxi drivers, another to Muhammed and the flurry of calls between himself and his co-accused were mostly of the "where are you now" nature. They then turned to Khumalo's car going missing. 

Accused in Pete Mihalik murder trial seated togeth
Vuyile Maliti, Nkosinathi Khumalo and Sizwe Biyela appear at the Western Cape High Court for the alleged murder of lawyer Pete Mihalik in Cape Town.
Gallo Images PHOTO: Jaco Marais, Gallo Images, Die Burger

He said he spoke to Muhammed quite a bit that day because he tried to convince Muhammed to reconsider turning down the coins at the R200 000 that Biyela wanted for his 11 coins.

Ultimately, with a bit of haggling, he sold the coins to a gold exchange in Kenilworth for R200 000. 

Asked if he had anything to do with Mihalik's murder, he said: "No."

The trial continues.

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