AKA’s dad comes face to face with suspects in his son’s murder

Tony Forbes, the father of slain rapper AKA, was at the Durban Magistrate’s Court and got a close-up look at the men accused of murdering his son. | DOCTOR NGCOBO/ Independent Newspapers

Tony Forbes, the father of slain rapper AKA, was at the Durban Magistrate’s Court and got a close-up look at the men accused of murdering his son. | DOCTOR NGCOBO/ Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 3, 2024


Durban — A large media contingent and Tony Forbes, the father of award-winning rapper AKA (Kiernan Forbes) were all poised and positioned at the Durban Magistrate’s Court to catch sight of the men allegedly involved in the musician’s death.

AKA and his friend Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane were gunned down outside the Wish restaurant on Durban’s Florida Road last February.

Anticipating journalists’ camera lenses would be trained on them, the accused – Lindokuhle Thabani Mkhwanazi, 30; Lindani Ndimande, 30; Eddie Myeza, 22; Mziwethemba Harvey Gwabeni, 36; and Lindokuhle Ndimande, 29 – entered the dock with heads bowed and faces covered.

The 10 charges they face include conspiracy to commit murder, murder, attempted murder and the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

Empangeni-based magistrate Vincent Hlatshwayo allowed proceedings to run for nearly 20 minutes before he called for a short adjournment.

When Hlatshwayo returned, he delivered what most in the courthouse and others in front of TV sets wanted, the unveiling of the accused persons’ faces.

“Why are the accused covering themselves? This is an open court,” Hlatshwayo said.

Legal representatives for the accused indicated their concern that their clients would be prejudiced if the State ordered an ID parade in the future.

“There is no pending ID parade and there are no safety concerns. It is my decision, they should uncover themselves,” Hlatshwayo instructed.

Attorney Sizwe Cele, who with advocate Paul Jorgensen represents Lindani Ndimande and Gwabeni, said they noted with interest the magistrate’s remark that their safety was not an issue.

“We will raise that issue during the bail application. The State didn’t commit to what their investigations were about. They are not playing open cards with us,” Cele told the Sunday Tribune.

Attorney Sbu Dlamini, who represents Lindokuhle Mkhwanazi, added that the State had yet to reveal their witnesses, which made it difficult for them to prepare.

Dlamini said his client was arrested around 2pm on Tuesday.

“My client is also an accused in another matter, and is out on bail. Part of his bail conditions was for him to report to a police station daily. He was arrested while doing that.”

Attorney Yolanda Gielink represented Myeza and Lindokuhle Ndimande.

Two more accused in the matter have been arrested in eSwatini after apparently being on the run, and are likely to join proceedings once their extradition to South Africa is completed.

All the accused are said to be linked to the taxi industry, with Gwabeni being involved with mining. He has other businesses and owns at least three properties. He handed himself over to the police on Tuesday evening.

Rapper AKA's murder accused appeared briefly in Durban Magistrate Court on Thursday, from left, Lindokuhle Thabani Mkhwanazi, Lindani Ndimande, Eddie Myeza, Mziwethemba Harvey Gwabeni, and Lindokuhle Ndimande. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/ Independent Newspapers

With a year having passed since AKA’s death, there was growing public sentiment that police investigations had hit a dead-end and his family were unlikely to get the closure they desired.

That was doused when the breakthroughs by the detectives from the KZN Provincial Organised Crime Unit, led by Warrant Officer Bob Pillay and including warrant officers Praved Maharaj, Denver Parbhu and Sunil Sukdeo, emerged earlier this week.

Along with the SAPS top brass who were in the courtroom on Thursday, Forbes sang the praises of the work done thus far by the investigative team, and now looks forward to the arrest of the masterminds who ordered the hits.

The arrests are the fruit of the collaborative efforts of various SAPS units, which included the detectives, digital analysts, crime intelligence, tracking and tracing.

AKA publicised his trip to Durban at the time of his murder via social media posts, which would have also caught the attention of those who conspired to have him killed.

Police tracked back to the time he landed at Durban’s King Shaka Airport and made his eventual arrival at Wish. To identify the car that carried those who tracked AKA’s movements, the investigators spent many hours studying video footage and eventually singled out the vehicle they were looking for.

In singling out the role-players, police used cellphone tracking methods and noticed certain numbers appearing frequently in the vicinity of the crime scene.

Police believe that among the seven men arrested were the two shooters and the co-ordinator of the ambush, the person who arranged the vehicles, weapons and personnel, who eventually shared R800 000 for their efforts. Forbes said he was cautiously optimistic about how things had transpired thus far.

“Seven accused is the start of the next step to get closer to the truth and finding out who is behind all of this. This is only the bottom of the pyramid. I don’t think the true mastermind has been arrested yet,” he said.

The matter will resume on March 6.

Sunday Tribune