These are just some of the assassinations and targeted killings that South Africans had to experience over the past few years. This list is not exhaustive and is a mere illustration of how ubiquitous killing someone in South Africa is. The reasons, locations and people vary, but the outcome is the same.
In compiling this list of assassinations that have rocked the country – I was overwhelmed by just how many people have been murdered in targeted killings.
As I was wrapping up this list, which is not by any stretch of the imagination an exhaustive one – merely an indication of the sheer audacity of killers and their financial backers – news broke of a shooting outside the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, which claimed the life of a woman.
It is alleged that the woman had just finished testifying in a criminal case before she was gunned down.
What is even more shocking is the brazen nature of the incident that attests to South Africa’s descent into an assassination nation.
This was what a staffer outside the court told News24’s reporter:
I just heard someone say, ‘daar skiet hulle die witness’ (there they shot the witness). Police arrived within seconds at the scene because the police station is right next door to the court.
And to emphasis the point, more breaking news on Thursday indicated that a wanted Bulgarian fugitive, Krasimir Kamenov-Karo, was shot in Cape Town, along with three others. He was wanted on an Interpol red notice.
Recent high-profile assassinations:
Muzi Manyathi (4 November 2022)
The regional deputy chairperson of the ANC in the Gert Sibande District, Manyathi, was shot dead at a petrol station in Mkhondo, Mpumalanga. Two men in a Mercedes-Benz were seen moving from one fuel pump to another, while Manyathi was buying something from the kiosk. When he exited, one of the men shot him multiple times. He died at the scene.
Kiernan Forbes – AKA (10 February 2023)
The musician was shot in the head by a hitman outside a Durban restaurant. His friend, celebrity chef Tebello Motsoane, was also killed in the incident. Forbes was gunned down while standing on a pavement shortly after 22:00. The shooting occurred in the popular entertainment district, which was brought to a standstill after police officers closed the road.
Babita Deokaran (23 August 2021)
The Tembisa Hospital whistleblower was shot 12 times as she returned home after dropping her daughter at school. Deokaran was a civil servant who took a stand against corruption. News24’s award-winning investigative team produced the documentary ‘Silenced: Why Babita Deokaran was murdered’, which exposed rampant syndicate activity, shell company networks and the politically connected who scored millions.
Cloete and Thomas Murray (18 March 2023)
Prominent insolvency lawyer Cloete and his son, Thomas, known for their work on cases involving the powerful and the corrupt, were shot by hitmen on the N1 highway near Johannesburg. Thomas died on scene, while his father, struck at least once in the head, died in hospital. The Murrays were followed by a car and a motorcycle from Pretoria to Johannesburg and were watched for hours before they were gunned down.
Simone Jasmin (29 October 2020)
Murdered outside her home as she was getting into an Uber, gunman fired six shots at her. Jasmin was allegedly the leader of the Cartel Gang, which operated in Wentworth, Durban. She was out on bail on murder and attempted murder charges when she was shot several times.
Rashied Staggie (13 December 2019)
The former Hard Livings gang leader was killed in a hail of bullets outside his family home in Salt River. His twin brother, Rashaad, was killed by Pagad in August 1996 on the same road. The twin brothers had ruled the Cape Flats. Rashied’s son, Abdullah Boonzaaier, was gunned down in Manenberg, Cape Town, on 17 September 2022.
Ernie ‘Lastig’ Solomon (20 November 2020)
The Cape Town 28s gang boss died in a multitude of bullets while driving in Gauteng, Boksburg. Solomon was with his baby grandchild and two others. He had survived an attempt on his life in May that year.
Siyabonga Mkhize (15 October 2021)
The ANC candidate was killed in Cato Crest, Durban. He was a candidate for Ward 101 and was shot during a door-to-door campaign. He was in the company of another person. That person was also killed. Emergency personnel declared both men dead on scene with multiple gunshot wounds.
Oupa John Sefoka – DJ Sumbody (20 November 2022)
The musician was died in a hail of bullets in the Woodmead area of Johannesburg. Sefoka was on his way to a gig before he and his bodyguard were killed.
Ayob Mungalee (12 February 2023)
Prominent Eldorado Park anti-gang activist was killed in what police believe to be a hit. He was shot once in the head outside a car wash. Mungalee was the former Gauteng head of Pagad and worked closely with police against corruption.
Abahlali baseMjondolo murders (From 2005 to present)
Leaders of AbM, a socialist shack dwellers’ activist movement, have been the targets of assassinations since the inception of the movement in 2005. To date, a minimum of 24 members have been assassinated. Many of these killings are not even reported on. Some of the names of the members, who have been killed, are listed below:
Ayanda Ngila; Nokuthula Mabaso; Lindokuhle Mnguni; S’fiso Ngcobo; Soyiso Nkqayini; S’bonelo Mpeku; Thuli Ndlovu; Nkululeko Gwala
Loyiso Nkohla (17 April 2023)
Nkohla, a former politician, was gunned down at Philippi railway station in Cape Town while attending a community meeting. He was allegedly targeted for his role in talks to clear Metrorail’s Central Line, where families had built their homes.
Fundile ‘Jeff’ Budaza (25 May 2022)
The ANC activist was murdered outside his home in Makhanda, Eastern Cape. He was the manager of the Makana municipality’s parks and recreation department. He was a non-partisan community builder and had criticised the municipality’s leaders regarding corruption many times over the years.
Charl Kinnear (18 September 2020)
Kinnear was gunned down in his car outside his home before he could drive through the entrance gate. The police lieutenant-colonel was a detective for 31 one years and a prominent member of the specialised police Anti-Gang Unit working in the Cape Flats.
Sikhosiphi ‘Bazooka’ Radebe (22 March 2016)
He was killed after two men who said they were police came to his workshop and insisted he accompany them. When he resisted, they shot him multiple times and fled in a hijacked car. It was alleged that his murder was motivated by his opposition to mining at Xolobeni. Radebe was the leader of a community group that opposed a mine and new highway on South Africa’s Wild Coast.
Mthunzi Mathenjwa (11 August 2022)
The chairperson of the KZN provincial CPF board was killed outside his home in Empangeni. He was shot as he tried to find out why the car was parked near his house. Crime fighters in the area say they are under fire, and that illegal firearms have become a problem in KZN after the July 2021 unrest.
Sandile ‘Mteshe’ Tembe (4 March 2023)
Another member of a policing forum in the KZN, this time in Manguzi, Tembe was shot outside a tuckshop near his home at eMfihlweni Royal Residence.
Judah Mthethwa (16 February 2023)
Mthethwa was killed when he arrived home from a trip when assailants, waiting for him, opened fire. Mthethwa was chairperson of the Umhlabuyalingana Society Against Crime, in northern KZN. Both Mthethwa and Tembe were involved in the fight against cross-border crime in their areas.
Hlompho Mohapi (July 2018)
The 25-year-old was stabbed to death after being lured under the guise of a job interview. Life insurance policies were taken out on her life and the deception formed part of a scam orchestrated by Melisizwe Monqo (a pastor), his then fiancée, Siphosihle Pamba, and his cousin, Phumlani Qhusheka.
Jayde Panayiotou (April 20 2015)
Jayde was shot after being abducted from her home a day earlier. Her husband, Christopher, was the mastermind and hired hitmen to kill his wife in Kabega Park, Gqeberha. He and four others were convicted, with one dying before the trial concluded.
Anni Dewani (13 November 2010)
During a botched hijacking while on honeymoon with her husband, Shrien, in Cape Town, Anni was killed after she was shot in the neck. Shirien was acquitted due to insufficient evidence, regardless of the confessions by the three men caught for the incident. It was alleged that Shrien hired hitmen to kill his newly-wed wife.