Background[ edit ] Kebble was born in the mining town of Springs , on the East Rand. He matriculated from St. His first job was as an articled clerk for Mallinicks, which has since merged with, and become part of, Webber Wentzel , in Cape Town in the late s. The purpose of such bullets, which require a specially adapted pistol, was to hit assassins and terrorists without passing through their bodies and hitting bystanders or hostages. Despite the closer range, the gunpowder burns in general were not severe, providing further evidence that the ammunition was of a special "reduced charge". On 16 November businessman Glenn Agliotti was arrested in connection with the murder of Brett Kebble.
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Value is what you get 8. A swine among swine A bit of a billionaire The calm before the storm Showdown at Randfontein Past imperfect, future tense The first whiff of death Scam of the century The laughing Zulu Play it again, Brett The final straw By the Cathedrale Notre Dame de la Paix Ways and means of a Robber Baron The headlights pierced the black void through the metal slats.
The unnatural angle at which the crippled vehicle had mounted the kerbstones would instinctively prompt a passer-by to call paramedics, the police, anyone schooled in dealing with what must surely have been an accident. But the cellphone call made from the overpass by the mystery man was not to summon help. He knew all too well that there was nothing random about the extremely large and lifeless body slumped behind the steering wheel of the car with Cape Town registration plates. As he pressed the number of someone awaiting his call in Pretoria, he alone knew the full and shocking truth.
A lesser quarry would have died instantly, but in macabre defiance of all natural law, this one had somehow managed to propel the Mercedes S some metres down the deserted, tree-lined street before surrendering to his fate.
Some of the vagrants sleeping rough at the nearby garden refuse dump might have seen their VW Polo leave. One hobo might even have watched as the mystery man came out of nowhere to review their handiwork. None of them would have understood why it mattered that the man who had just been murdered at the age of 41 was Brett Kebble. There was a chill in the air, and later that night, it would rain.
Weather-wise, the day had been about as perfect as only early spring on the Highveld can be. But for Kebble, as one newspaper would later report, Tuesday 27 September was the day on which the perfect storm that had been building for months made landfall in his personal domain. He and his father Roger had lost their last chance to get charges of fraud, conspiracy and insider trading dropped and would now have to go to trial.
The National Prosecuting Authority had offered a plea bargain, but insisted that Kebble would have to serve jail time, though this might be no more than 90 days, so he had turned them down. Besides, a guilty plea would bar him from serving as a company director. And then there was the bloody tax probe.
His stable of consultants had managed to keep SARS at bay for months, but by April , they would be aggressively going after at least R million that Brett and Roger between them owed in back taxes.
There had been unusually high emotional demands, too. Relationships within the family were tense, but it was the black economic empowerment BEE brigade that had been neediest of late. Deals that ought to have been closed months before were jammed up, others were stalled somewhere along the pipeline, yet the players still expected their monthly sweeteners, and more.
None of this, though, had been as stressful as the bruising showdown from which Kebble had emerged on 30 August not only jobless, but effectively penniless. But the consummate crisis was that he could no longer dip into the corporate piggy bank that had funded not only his personal profligacy for more than a decade, but had also financed the flamboyant lifestyles of those he had made rich and almost famous.
The cash cows had been milked dry. There had been so many, for so long, that they had almost become routine, and besides, killers with genuine intent rarely warned their victims. With that in mind, Kebble had recently revisited his life insurance policies and increased them to a whopping R80 million.
The irony was that while his unassuming wife Ingrid and their children, Matthew, Andrew, Hannah and sweet little Lily, stood to inherit a fortune, life as they knew it depended on Kebble finding R5 million, fast. For more than a dozen years, he had cunningly fooled investors, family, friend and foe alike with a slew of bogus transactions involving billions, yet not worth the paper they were written on. But he had never figured out the cash conundrum.
There had been assets aplenty and shares by the million, but hard cash was the chimera Kebble never vanquished. A frugal man might have stashed several hundred krugerrands or a velvet pouch of uncut diamonds somewhere safe for the proverbial rainy day.
But Kebble had got away with grand larceny and grotesque looting for so long that rational thought had been subsumed by hubris. Since being sacked, he had called on every business associate and underworld operator still willing to give him the time of day, all but begging them for help to raise the five measly million he needed just to meet his immediate obligations. They were impervious to his pleas; there was nothing left to grift and his doggerel verse was falling on deaf ears.
And then, finally, one man tossed out a lifeline. True, he was a dangerous man, this Mr X, someone no right-thinking individual would dare to double-cross, but Kebble had been doing dirty business with him since It had started with cigarettes and cannabis, then run the gamut of organised crime on a global scale, involving Asian triads and the Irish mafia, London gangsters and African warlords with blood diamonds to go.
The deal had been slated to go down 24 hours earlier. Kebble had advanced his weekly Tuesday commute from Cape Town to Johannesburg for that very purpose, draining one of his last active bank accounts of R on arrival. On Monday night, as he drove to their prearranged rendezvous, Kebble spoke to Mr X and learnt that there was a last-minute hitch — not serious enough to abort the transaction, but sufficiently important to warrant a delay. In due course, cellphone records would show that Kebble was at or very near the Melrose Bird Sanctuary, between the Glenhove and Atholl Oaklands off-ramps on the highway from Johannesburg to Pretoria, when that conversation took place.
On Tuesday 27 September, he lunched with financial journalist David Gleason, his friend of 28 years and unchallenged leader of the pro-Kebble media pack. Around 7 p. They had originally planned to have breakfast together, but despite the fact that Kebble already had a dinner date, had opted for an early supper instead. A cheerful blaze was crackling in the big fireplace in the main reception room, where the two men chatted briefly before sitting down to a simple meal of steak and salad.
The hands on the expensive timepiece that graced the mantelpiece were nudging 8. Shortly afterwards, his driver Joseph having been given the night off, Kebble eased himself behind the wheel of his Mercedes and gently rolled down the metre driveway, past the manned guardhouse at the electronic gate and turned right into the quiet suburban street.
How long had he been there, and why, have yet to be revealed, but at some point within the next 30 minutes, Kebble was trundling slowly east along Melrose Street Extension, having spoken to Mr X again, the call relayed through the same cellphone mast as their conversations the night before.
At the loneliest point of the leafy, fairly well-lit street, with the bird sanctuary on his left, Kebble brought the big Mercedes to a gentle halt and pressed the button to open the window to his right. Two men stepped out from their hiding place under one of the big bluegum trees on the left, close to where the park fence had been cut.
They must have been waiting for a while. Police later recovered at least ten Camel cigarette butts from the ground under the tree. A third man held vigil in the VW Polo, out of sight. Two members of the trio had arrived in South Africa very recently, after a circuitous journey that included Mozambique as the last leg. The third was from Pretoria. Was it, as some have speculated, Kebble himself? There was nothing menacing about his approach, and even though it was a quiet road and a dark night in the world capital of violent crime, Kebble had no foreboding of danger.
Mr X had briefed him well, and in a few minutes he could drive on to keep his dinner date. Suddenly, with clinical precision and at the speed of lightning, there was a gun, and seven muzzle flashes cleaved the night at such close range that Kebble must have tasted sulphur in the instant before adrenalin flooded his mortally wounded body, allowing him to hit the accelerator.
Mr X had made sure of that before placing his call to Pretoria from the overpass.
Brett Kebble: The Inside Story