Advocate Pete Mihalik during the Susan Rohde trial in the Western Cape High Court on December 4 2017 in Cape Town. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/NETWERK24/ADRIAN DE KOCK
Advocate Pete Mihalik during the Susan Rohde trial in the Western Cape High Court on December 4 2017 in Cape Town. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/NETWERK24/ADRIAN DE KOCK

An arrest has been made after one of Cape Town's top criminal lawyers, advocate Pete Mihalik, was shot dead while dropping his child at school on Tuesday. 

“This office can confirm that a suspect is being questioned by detectives... [from] the anti-gang unit in connection with the murder of a 50-year-old man this morning in Green Point‚” said a police spokesperson.

Mihalik was killed in what witnesses described as an execution outside Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard in Green Point, his partner Bruce Hendricks said. 

It is understood that Mihalik’s eight-year-old son was injured in the shooting. His daughter was unhurt. 

His wife died several years ago. 

Sources said Mihalik had bodyguards but “the shooter went up to the car window and just killed him”. Paramedics arrived on the scene but were unable to save him.

There was a single bullet hole in the driver’s window of Mihalik’s Mercedes-Benz AMG. After the shooting it remained in the street with its passenger doors open. An eyewitness said he heard two gunshots and saw a silver-grey vehicle with GP number plates speed away from the scene.

“One man was in the vehicle as the other came running back. He got in as the car screeched away from the scene‚” said the man‚ who did not want to be named. Police were at the school and pupils were being escorted out. The person who answered the phone at Reddam said she had no comment.

Searching for clues

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said: “Detectives of the anti-gang unit and SAPS crime scene experts are combing the scene for clues following a shooting incident that occurred on the corner of Cavalcade and Thornhill roads in Green Point this morning at around 7.35am.

“According to reports‚ a 50-year-old man was shot in his head and fatally wounded in his vehicle by an unidentified suspect who is yet to be arrested. The suspect was seen fleeing the scene in a metallic grey VW Polo. The victim’s eight-year-old son sustained an injury during the incident and was admitted to hospital.”

As well as Jason Rohde‚ the Johannesburg businessman accused of murdering his wife‚ Susan‚ at Spier in Stellenbosch in 2017‚ Mihalik’s clients include some of Cape Town’s leading gangsters.

Noorudien Hassan‚ with whom Mihalik worked on a number of gang-related matters‚ was gunned down outside his Lansdowne home in November 2016. The man Mihalk referred to as “my little brother” was involved in several high-profile cases‚ and represented murder-accused David Forbes as well as suspected drug peddler Irshaad Laher.

Other “high-flyer” gang leaders Mihalik represented included Quinton “Mr Big” Marinus and Ralph Stanfield. Marinus has been tried and acquitted of murder‚ robbery and abalone poaching and has had run-ins with Sars. Five years ago‚ his plush Plattekloof home was auctioned after a successful application by Sars for his sequestration. He owed Sars more than R2m.

Stanfield, the suspected 28s Numbers Gang boss, was arrested this month after cops raided his garage in Bishop Lavis and found several stolen cars. He has also been embroiled in firearm and murder cases.

Nafiz Modack connection

There has also been speculation that Mihalik’s shooting could be connected to the trial of alleged extortion syndicate boss Nafiz Modack‚ which starts in the Cape Town Regional Court next week. Mihalik led several other lawyers representing Modack’s four co-accused — Colin Booysen‚ brother of alleged Sexy Boys boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen; Ashley Fields; Jacques Cronje; and Carl Lakay — when they accused the police of corruption during a bail hearing earlier this year.

They tried to implicate investigating officers under the command of Maj-Gen Jeremy Vearey in working with controversial businessman Mark Lifman. Mihalik withdrew from the case and handed the reins to Hendricks‚ after he was accused of brokering extortion deals involving rich Jewish businessmen in Cape Town.

He denied the claim and prosecutor Esna Erasmus told the court the allegation was not admissible and irrelevant to the court proceedings at the time.

Mihalik alleged, at the time, that the extortion case was an extension of a war over nightclub security which has seen numerous hits and shootings since 2016. Lakay was shot in a hit outside his house in Goodwood in August. His shooting came shortly after “Donkie” Booysen was shot and wounded at a Spur steakhouse in Kuils River‚ sparking battles between gangs on the Cape Flats.

A few weeks later Fields’s brother was shot while driving his BMW with his daughter in Salt River.

Colin Booysen was also allegedly targeted in a hit in Belhar last month‚ an incident that resulted in the alleged gunman being killed and Booysen being charged with murder.