Prominent advocate Pete Mihalik was shot and killed in his black Mercedes-Benz while dropping off his son at school. Picture: Noor Slamdien/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - A third suspect in the assassination of criminal defence lawyer, Pete Mihalik, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Vuyile Maliti, 35, joined Sizwe Biyela, 26, and Nkosinathi Khumalo, 31, in the dock where they face charges of murder, attempted murder, as well as the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Maliti, who turned himself over to police on Wednesday, was from Kuils River in Cape Town, while the other two accused hail from Kwazulu-Natal and needed a Zulu interpreter during court proceedings.

Maliti was described as "self-employed" in the charge sheet.

Magistrate Greg Jacobs granted state prosecutor Helene Booysen's request to hold the three suspects in separate prisons for their own safety "based on information from the investigating officer".

Biyela will be held at the Malmesbury prison, Khumalo at Allandale prison and Maliti at Drakenstein.

Maliti was represented by Jannie Kruger, a lawyer from Johannesburg, Biyela has made use of legal aid and Khumalo, who told the court he had been unable to get hold of a lawyer, was granted another week to appoint one.

The first two suspects were arrested on Tuesday last week shortly after the murder of Mihalik, 50, who was shot in the head at point-blank range as he dropped his children off at their private school Reddam House in Green Point. 

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila. Video: Kim Kay/Daily Voice

Mihalik's eight-year-old son sustained a gunshot wound to his jaw. The advocate's teenage daughter, 17, who was in the back seat, was not injured. 

The gunman fired a shot through the driver's window of Mihalik's Mercedes-Benz. Neighbours reported hearing two gunshots.

The state alleges that the murder was premeditated. In the charge sheet, the state alleges that the accused intentionally killed Mahalik by shooting him in the head with a firearm and that the offence "was committed by a person, group of persons or syndicate acting in the execution or furtherance of a common purpose or conspiracy". 

In the attempted murder charge, the state alleged that the accused intentionally attempted to kill Mihalik's son by "shooting him in the face/head with a firearm and thereby inflicting serious and potentially life-threatening injuries". 

The third and fourth charges relate to the accused's alleged possession of a 9 mm unlicensed firearm and ammunition. 

There has been much speculation about the murder with one newspaper reporting that a R1 million hit on Mihalik was ordered from a jail cell.

Three years ago Mihalik, the go-to-lawyer for underworld figures, lost his wife, who was suffering from depression, to suicide.

The case has been postponed to November 15.

African News Agency (ANA)