Seventh suspect arrested for AKA’s murder

Police Minister Bheki Cele talks about the AKA murder investigation after six men were arrested in connection with the killing of the rapper. Picture: Viasen Soobramoney/IOL

Police Minister Bheki Cele talks about the AKA murder investigation after six men were arrested in connection with the killing of the rapper. Picture: Viasen Soobramoney/IOL

Published Feb 29, 2024


Police on Wednesday confirmed that they have arrested the seventh suspect in connection with the February 2023 murders of rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes and his friend, Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane, outside the Wish Restaurant in Durban.

Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda confirmed the seventh arrest.

He said the 30-year-old suspect was arrested on Wednesday.

The SAPS said five suspects will appear in court on Thursday, while the other two are being held in neighbouring eSwatini while their extradition process gets under way.

Crime experts on Wednesday welcomed the arrests and praised the police for a professional investigation.

KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi told reporters on Tuesday night that the “mastermind”, two gunmen, two spotters and “the organiser of firearms and vehicles” were all in police custody.

He said some of those arrested were linked to separate murder cases. Mkhwanazi said police worked with Interpol and the eSwatini law enforcement agencies to arrest two suspects hiding there and extradition procedures would be started to bring them to South Africa.

Mkhwanazi hinted that the police had a suspicion of the motive for the murders but would not discuss the matter.

It was revealed that the rapper had been followed from his time of arrival at Durban airport to the restaurant.

Mkhwanazi said it was an intense process to get the suspects arrested in eSwatini.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said the oldest suspect was 36 years old.

“The first suspect was arrested in April 2023. We congratulate the SAPS for refusing the pressure to confirm the arrest as this would have compromised the investigation. We can see the case has spread out with suspects being arrested in eSwatini.”

Chad Thomas, an organised crime investigator from IRS Forensic Investigations, said this was a massive win for the police as some of the suspects had been linked to other unsolved assassination cases. Thomas added that this intelligence-driven and prosecution-guided investigation was able to operate under the radar and it was a good sign for future investigations by the law enforcement agencies.

“What stands out in this investigation is how the state law enforcement agencies picked off the suspects one by one, linking them to other crimes before nailing them all for this high-profile conspiracy that led to the untimely deaths of Forbes and Motsoane.”

Thomas said that the State was sending a clear message that it was serious about breaking the back of crime syndicates.

Gareth Newham, head of the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, said the arrest of the seven suspects was welcome news.

“It does show that we have good detectives who have the capability to investigate cases thoroughly and the ability to solve such crimes. Often crimes of this nature go unsolved. It’s good to see police get on top of this situation.”

Newham added that this investigation also showed why police can’t sometimes explain everything to the public that they know about ongoing investigations.

“It’s important that they don’t tip off suspects. If police were to give us too much information on an ongoing investigation this would result in suspects going into hiding and moving locations, they would destroy evidence and they would threaten witnesses.

“It is always best for police to say as little about an investigation as possible, so they are able to gather enough evidence so that when they arrest and charge the suspects they have all the evidence available to enable a successful prosecution.”

The Mercury