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Hired killing… A phenomenon that haunts South Africans


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Hiring the “services” of a hitman to eliminate an unwanted person costs between $150 and $8,000 in South Africa, depending on the nature of the target, as it is cheaper to get rid of a troublesome husband than to assassinate a municipal councilor, depending on the “qualifications” of the executor.

And no one realizes until today how much it cost to get rid of the rapper “AKA” (35 years), whose real name is Kiernan Forbes, who was killed in mid-February when he was leaving a dinner with his friends in a restaurant in the southeastern city of Durban. This case shocked South Africa, which is accustomed to acts of violence, which have become almost normal events.

Crime is an element of the general landscape of daily life in South Africa. The latest police statistics indicate that 82 murders are committed every day in this country, and investigations rarely lead to tangible results. South Africa is known as one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

Scenes captured by surveillance cameras and widely circulated on the Internet show the execution of the crime, which took 19 seconds. The footage shows a man crossing the road and then starts running towards the rapper and his friends before shooting AKA at close range, while shots are heard from another man at the same time, before the two men responsible for the crime flee.

AKA and his friend Tepelo Motswan, nicknamed “Tips”, 41, were killed instantly.

The police explain that they are studying several hypotheses about the crime. Some of the seized phones made it possible to access certain information regarding the case, but no one has been arrested so far. The investigators’ first conclusions indicate that a planned assassination took place, which revived fears associated with the phenomenon of hired killers in the African country.

Kill the hired killer

Hire killings are common in South Africa, some aiming to obtain life insurance money, while others aim to get rid of a political rival or an employee who knows about wrongdoing.

Marie de Haas, a professor specializing in political violence in Zulu (east), said, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, that “few cases related to hired killers take a judicial path (…) and if there is a possibility of transferring the case to the courts, it is discarded.” From the hired killer himself.

“It’s easy to kill someone in South Africa,” she says.

Criminals receive between $150 and about $8,000, according to a study published in 2021 by the non-governmental organization The Globe Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC). The organization collected data on homicides for four years.

In Cape Town, a municipal employee was recently killed by multiple bullets in her car. The employee revealed the location of a huge real estate project worth more than $27 million. A source in the municipality indicates that attempts were made to intimidate and blackmail employees at the site, shortly before the employee was killed.

The city authorities, which are controlled by the country’s most prominent opposition party, have offered a reward of more than $5,000 for any useful information someone might provide. As for the municipality, which confirmed that it is determined to conduct an investigation in particular, it blames the police for being satisfied with addressing the crime rates, which are witnessing a steady rise.

Every three months, the criticized police minister, Becky Seele, presents the latest crime statistics during a large, live-streamed meeting.

The municipality considers that what the minister is presenting is “more like a history lesson highlighting the shortcomings of police work than a tool” against criminals.

As for Seleh, he confirms that the police “will continue to arrest hired killers and those who order them to commit crimes.”

Only two out of every ten cases (20.74%) have their perpetrators uncovered, according to the police’s most recent annual report.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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