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‘My life is in danger,’ claims Zane Kilian as he pleads for bail in murder case

‘My life is in danger,’ claims Zane Kilian as he pleads for bail in murder case
Zane Kilian in the Western Cape High Court on 5 May 2023. (Photo: Daily Maverick)

Murder suspect Zane Kilian has made an emotional plea to the Western Cape Division of the High Court to release him on bail because he is a target inside prison and is only safe outside the province.

Zane Kilian made an emotional appeal during the continuation of his third bail application and cross-examination by prosecutor Greg Wolmarans before Judge Mark Sher in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

Kilian has been charged for the murder of Anti-Gang Unit Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear in 2020 and on Monday he told the court that he was told if he implicated accused gang boss Nafiz Modack in the assassination “myself and my family might as well pick out our coffins”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Lawyer warned me not to implicate Modack in Kinnear’s murder, Zane Kilian claims in latest bail bid

Kilian and Modack are the main accused in the murder of Kinnear, who was shot outside his Cape Town home on 18 September 2020. He was investigating a number of high-profile cases at the time.

Kilian has admitted to “pinging” Kinnear’s cellphone to trace his location and claims he did it for Modack. Initially, Kilian was the sole accused when he was arrested shortly after the murder, but Modack was added to the charge sheet. The pair have also been charged with attempting to murder lawyer William Booth on 9 April 2020.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Gang leader charged alongside Nafiz Modack over attempted murder of lawyer William Booth

Modack, Kilian and 12 other co-accused face more than 3,100 charges in a case that depicts Modack as the leader of a lucrative criminal organisation dubbed the “Modack Enterprise”.

Zane Kilian

Zane Kilian (back to the camera) appeared the Western Cape High Court on 5 May 2023. (Photo: Daily Maverick)

‘My life is in danger’

On Tuesday, Kilian, who is from Gauteng, proceeded to testify and provide arguments for why he should be released on bail in the interests of justice.

He told the court: “Your lordship, my life is in danger. In prison I am an open target. The safest place for me is to be released on bail and sent to Springs where I’m surrounded by my own people.

Read more in Daily Maverick: The assassination of cop Charl Kinnear – three years of controversy and waiting for accountability

“My life’s at stake here. I will do anything I can after this. My life is in danger after today. That is why bail is very important to me. If I’m in Gauteng or Springs, in my safe zone with my people, I will be fine, whereas if you put me in any prison in Cape Town I won’t be safe. These people’s tentacles reach anywhere. This is a desperate attempt for me to clear my name, so that I can get bail and just go home and not die in prison.”

Kilian also told the court that while he was incarcerated, Modack’s supposed close associate, Renier van der Vyver, sent a voice note through his girlfriend to Kilian’s ex-wife warning him that “if I were to change my legal representation, he would put bullets through their cars”.


After his previous bail applications were denied, Kilian must present the court with new facts if he wants to be released pending trial. 

On Tuesday, the prosecutor, Wolmarans, went through the affidavit Kilian submitted on Monday and said it contained no new material and repeated what the accused said during his initial bail application in November 2020.

The following statements were found in the affidavits from November 2020 and Monday, 27 November 2023, both of which had the same assertion and were highlighted by the State:

  1. I intend to plead not guilty to all the charges against me;
  2. The only fact that links me to the murder is the allegation that I pinged the cellphone of the deceased in order to locate him;
  3. I do have the tools to ping a cellphone. It is done from my cellphone via a platform with the aid of a code;
  4. The software and the user code for this tool was obtained from Mr Bradley Goldblatt. He loaded the software on my cellphone and provided me with the code. It later came to my knowledge that neither the platform not the code was exclusive to me;
  5. The deceased is unknown to me; and
  6. I submit CCTV footage photographs proving that I was in Hillcrest Chemist in Springs purchasing medicine at the time of the murder.

Kilian responded by saying he had presented new information.

“If you look back, three years ago, we didn’t know which other individuals were also using the pinging platform, whereas in my submission Monday, we can say there is a whole meaning to that because we can corroborate all those statements with evidence we have.

He approached me in the holding cells, white as a sheet of paper and shivering. We then learned that he had been threatened.

“The narrative was that I offered the shooter information, but the images show that I wasn’t on my phone, and neither was the shooter on his or any phone,” he said.

The State also raised the subject of all various legal counsel who have been assigned to him since his detention in September 2020, including at least five lawyers. 

Kilian was asked if advocate Marius Botha, who is representing him in the bail application, had taken over from his previous counsel, advocate Johan van Aswegen.

“On the day of my bail application, Van Aswegen was supposed to do my bail. He approached me in the holding cells, white as a sheet of paper and shivering. We then learned that he had been threatened. He dropped out before we even got to court,” he claimed.

Kilian Modack

Nafiz Modack (far left), Zane Kilian (second from left) and 13 co-accused at the Western Cape High Court on 5 May 2023. (Photo: Daily Maverick)

Kilian did not take the stand in his previous bail applications. Asked why, he said: “To be honest, I never knew that I could testify in a bail application. My counsel never advised me that testifying was one of my options.”

He further told the court that the affidavit that was read into the record in the Bellville Regional Court in November 2020 was handed to him in court on the day of his bail application and he signed it.

“It wasn’t read to me. I signed stuff on the court bench. In retrospect, I’m not happy that the affidavit was read into the record, there was so much more that he could have done. 

“That bail application they made for me was pretty basic, like a guy charged for petty theft, it wasn’t up to standard for a schedule 6 bail application.”

Kilian’s cross-examination was cut short due to load shedding on Tuesday. His bail application was due to continue on Wednesday after the other accused in the case who had previously not secured legal representation, including Modack, appear in court. DM


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