The suspects who shot and killed rapper Kiernan “AKA” Forbes and his friend, prominent chef Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane, have been identified, KwaZulu-Natal police said.
KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner, Nhanhla Mkhwanazi said a crack team of investigators are building a solid case before they make arrests.
“So when we end up in court on the day ... we're going to have a very lengthy court case,” Mkhwanazi said.
“Do we want to go to court tomorrow with a half baked case? No.”
He said that the list of suspects also continued to grow and some of them were in jail for other crimes.
Forbes and Motsoane were assassinated in February outside the Wish restaurant on Durban’s Florida Road.
Speaking to news channel eNCA Mkhwanazi said that investigators had painstakingly analysed all the phone calls that were made in the area where Forbes and Motsoane were killed and built a picture of who was making them and who they were communicating with.
In addition, Mkhwanazi revealed that:
– Police have identified the shooters.
– Police have the murder weapon.
– Police have the getaway car.
“I think we've downloaded over 25 phones that we've collected that we've been analysing since then. That much data that we received,” he told the broadcaster.
“There are volumes and volumes of video clips that we've been watching that we've been dealing with throughout the investigation, and we have been able to even see the things that we did not pay attention at the time.”
Mkhwanazi said that the team of investigators comprising some of the most seasoned officers in the province pored over hours and hours of CCTV video which they used to link potential suspects and the phones they were using to communicate with each other.
“And then we start picking up something and we go back to the footage again and say but this is number that was communicating this, but who was using this number and we go back to the footage and we say this person who was standing there was the one who was communicating and then we identify who this person is,” he said in the interview.
From there police were able to further flesh out the case.
“And then we start making approaches. There would be vehicles around, so many vehicles were driving before, during and after (the incident). Some innocently so, you know, up and down the street, parking, and as we investigate,” he said.
“We start getting information about some vehicles that were part of the crime that were already there before the arrival of (Forbes) and we start profiling those cars.”
Investigators then honed in on the owners of the cars and started “going after those individuals”, the provincial commissioner said.
He said that the team assigned to investigate the murders have been working non-stop, and that he had to give them extra computers because the information and data they had gathered to store evidence were so extensive that they had run out storage capacity.
Asked when the matter would be brought before the courts, Mkhwanazi said: “Well, we can go tomorrow. But do we want to go to court tomorrow with a half baked case?
“No. We don't want to go to court because of the few arrests that we’ve effected. Now we will just leave them and say you know what, we'll take someone and charge that person for another crime and keep him in custody, but we know that he is part of this case that we are investigating.”
Mkhwanazi said that when the police do eventually do a take down of the suspects involved in Forbes’ murder, they want to round all the suspects up together.
“So that we can say here is the shooter, here is the organiser and here is the person who ordered the hit and we have all of them,” he said.
Mkhwanazi also revealed that they had already identified the shooters.
“And we are still uncovering some of the people that are part of it. Spotters that were there, because there's quite a few of them that were there. We've identified quite a few already,” he said speaking to eNCA.
“But arresting them is not something that we're interested in doing because they're going nowhere. They're still within the Republic even if they go out we will flag them and we are be able to know their movements.”
Mkhwanazi said that since the investigation began the number of suspects had grown and so had the evidence.
“I think it's a public knowledge that one of the firearms has been found which killed Mr Forbes and it is now in our possession. The getaway car that was used is in our possession.
“I must say although they (suspects) were found and people were arrested, those people were not necessarily charged in this murder case,” Mkhwanazi said.
“They are in custody. Are they involved with these ones? I'm not going to answer the question,” he said.
Mkhwanazi stressed that the police were working around the clock to put together a strong case for the prosecution team.
“I can give an assurance to South Africans that we are doing our level best and the picture is really matching. We are solving a 1000 piece [puzzle] and we are trying to get the shape together. It is quite a lot of work.”