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AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Kinnear case: Former Hawks officer Nico Heerschap forgives me for murdering his father, witness tells court

Kinnear case: Former Hawks officer Nico Heerschap forgives me for murdering his father, witness tells court
The scene outside the Bishop Lavis, Cape Town home of Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear who was gunned down in his car shortly after 3pm on 18 September 2020. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Mr A, a State witness in the trial of Nafiz Modack and 14 others collectively facing 124 charges, including the murder of the Anti-Gang Unit’s Charl Kinnear, concluded his explosive testimony in the Western Cape High Court.

Ending his seven-day testimony in the murder case against alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack and 14 co-accused, State witness “Mr A” on Wednesday told the Western Cape High Court he had asked prosecutor Blaine Lazarus to arrange a meeting with Nico Heerschap so he could ask for forgiveness for killing his father, Nicolaas, in 2019.

Mr A, a member of the Terrible West Siders gang, who the judge ruled cannot be named to protect his identity, has admitted killing Nicolaas Heerschap and is serving a 25-year prison sentence for the murder.

Heerschap was killed in a case of mistaken identity after Modack allegedly ordered a hit on his son, a Hawks officer who was investigating Modack at the time.

“It was an emotional meeting. After learning that the man I shot and killed was the father of a police officer, I expressed my regret to Nico and asked for forgiveness. He cried and said he and his brothers forgave me. He asked me to promise that I would never do such a thing again and that I would tell the truth,” Mr A told the court.

Heerschap told Daily Maverick that he and his three brothers had forgiven Mr A and were relieved that the truth about who was responsible for their father’s death was finally being revealed.

Heerschap Snr would have turned 79 on Wednesday.

Explosive testimony

Modack, former debt collector Zane Kilian and 13 others collectively face 124 charges, including murder, attempted murder, corruption, gangsterism, extortion, the illegal interception of communications, money laundering and contravening the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The other accused are Ziyaad Poole, Moegamat Brown, Riyaat Gesant, Fagmeed Kelly, Mario Petersen, Jacque Cronje, Petrus Visser, Janick Adonis, Amaal Jantjies, former Anti-Gang Unit sergeant Ashley Tabisher, Yaseen Modack, Mogamat Mukudam and Ricardo Morgan.

Mr A took the stand as the State’s first witness on Monday, 18 March. He testified that:

On Tuesday, Mr A claimed that Modack believed that alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen had killed Cape Town lawyer Pete Mihalik and in retaliation, Modack ordered that Booth, said to be Booysen’s lawyer, be murdered. (Out of court on Wednesday, Booth said that he had never represented Booysen or had him as a client.)

Kinnear case

On Wednesday, Mr A testified that while he was in prison in 2021, an inmate named Gilion told him to admit to the 18 September 2021 murder of the Anti-Gang Unit’s Charl Kinnear.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Age of the Assassin: A man died for his country today – RIP Charl Kinnear

It started with a visit from Hawks Captain Pieter Joubert, a member of the national task team established to investigate the murder. Joubert visited Mr A in Pollsmoor Prison in December 2021.

“Joubert told me he was investigating a murder. He didn’t tell me about the murder. I was in prison after being arrested for shooting at police officers in Woodstock. They returned fire and shot me twice in the right leg and once in the left. I knew the gun [I had on me] had been used to murder both the tow truck driver and the man in Melkbosstrand.

“Joubert asked me when I last visited Melkosstrand. Our interview ended before I could respond to him,” Mr A stated.

Melkosstrand was where Mr A murdered Nicolaas Heerschap.

Mr A testified that after the meeting with Joubert, he was confronted by Janick Adonis who wanted to know why he was meeting with the Hawks. Adonis and Amaal Jantjies are facing five counts of conspiracy to murder for a failed hand grenade attack on Kinnear’s house in November 2019.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Kinnear trial: Links between alleged criminal mastermind Nafiz Modack and 14 co-accused

Mr A said Adonis asked him whether the Hawks were asking questions about the Kinnear murder.  

Some time after that, “A prisoner named Gilion called me. I recognised his voice because it was the same person who had sent me a voice note about a map to Andre Naude’s house. That was the time when I was on my way to kill Andre Naude,” he told the court.

Mr A said Gilion asked him to confess to being the gunman who killed Kinnear and to say that he drove a white Polo on the day of the murder. He knew he couldn’t have killed Kinnear because he was in prison on 18 September 2020, but he played along with Gilion’s request.

“I decided to join in with their game.”

Although the gunman has never been apprehended, the State believes it has a solid case to successfully prosecute Modack and Kilian for Kinnear’s murder.

While misleading those who wanted him to confess to Kinnear’s murder, Mr A had already decided to spill the beans about his criminal activities, his fellow gang members and Modack when Joubert visited him in prison.

“I had a conscience and wanted to come clean,” he said in court.

Mr A will be cross-examined  when the case resumes on 16 April. DM

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