Cape Town - Assassinated gangster lawyer Pete Mihalik’s name was on a hit list.
And he had received death threats a day before he was gunned down outside his son’s posh school in Green Point on Tuesday morning, reveal colleagues.
Detectives from the newly established anti-gang unit took two people in for questioning within hours but said no arrests had been made by Tuesday night.
The hit comes a week ahead of the trial of underworld kingpins Nafiz Modack and Colin Booysen in the Cape Town Regional Court.
A friend and business associate of Mihalik’s tells the Daily Voice the well-known advocate had been preparing and discussing his plans for the upcoming trial and had been threatened on Monday.
“He and nine other advocates, some affiliated to this extortion case, have been put on a hit list,” says the friend speaking on condition of anonymity.
“There are genuine concerns that something in this trial is going to be revealed and someone wants that to remain a secret. Everything comes back to this case.”
Modack, Booysen, Ashley Fields‚ Jacques Cronje and Carl Lakay were arrested last December on charges of extortion.
Mihalik led several other lawyers representing the accused, and during their bail application, accused the police of corruption.
The defence alleged the investigating officer, Charl Kinnear, leaked their clients’ whereabouts to their business rivals, thus endangering their lives.
Mihalik reportedly withdrew from the case after he was accused of brokering extortion deals involving rich Jewish businessmen in Cape Town.
He denied the claim.
Lakay, 45, was shot and killed in August while sitting in his car in his driveway in Goodwood.
Mihalik, 50, and his girlfriend, Tasmin Tobitt, were busy dropping off his kids at Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard in Cavalcade Road and while the family was still seated in his black Mercedes Benz SUV, the killer pulled up in a silver VW Polo, walked up to Mihalik and shot him in the head through the driver’s window.
The same bullet hit Mihalik’s nine-year-old son in the face, and the bullet was still stuck in his jaw on Tuesday night.
Mihalik died at the scene while his son was rushed to the New Somerset Hospital, stabilised and then transferred to a private facility.
Tasmin and Mihalik’s 17-year-old daughter were not injured, according to police. Tasmin is a model and former wife of ex-Springbok rugby star Percy Montgomery.
Witnesses at the scene say Tasmin screamed hysterically as she realised what was happening. The suspects, described as black males, fled in the car which had GP number plates. The school was shut and remained closed for the rest of the day.
Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed: “A suspect is being questioned by detectives of the anti-gang unit in connection with the murder.”
Mihalik’s partner, Advocate Bruce Hendricks, says everyone at their firm was in shock.
“His family, his children are grieving and have requested their privacy. Two kids have been left orphaned and we need to consider them now,” Bruce told the Daily Voice.
“Security detail for all lawyers and advocates have been beefed up for now.”
He added Mihalik would only use bodyguards when attending high-profile cases at court.
The Mihalik family has suffered tragedy after tragedy. The lawyer’s wife Karin, who suffered from depression, hanged herself in 2015 at the age of 48.
His mother, Hantie, committed suicide at the age of 38 by taking rat poison and his sister killed herself at the age of 38 by jumping from a building.
Mihalik’s murder bears chilling similarities to that of his former partner, Advocate Noorudien Hassan. Hassan was shot and killed while seated inside his car in front of his Lansdowne home in November 2016.