Grand plan to kill acclaimed rapper AKA laid bare in court

The assassination plot that ended the life of acclaimed rapper Kiernan Forbes, better known by his stage name AKA, was laid bare in court on Wednesday.

Five men appeared in the Durban magistrate’s court for a bail hearing on the murder, which grabbed international headlines and sent shockwaves across the entertainment industry.

AKA was cornered and shot dead outside the Wish restaurant in Durban on February 10 2023. He was shot at close range in the head.

Sought-after entertainment venue

The who’s who of the creative industry frequented the restaurant, which has since closed down and was one of Durban’s most popular entertainment and nightlife destinations.

During the proceedings on Wednesday, the state prosecutor, advocate Elvis Gcweka, submitted to presiding magistrate Vincent Hlatshwayo that the accused had worked in cahoots.

The cellphone records, which have now become part of the state evidence, put Muziwethemba Harvey Gwabeni at the King Shaka International Airport on the day AKA was murdered.

According to Gcweka, Gwabeni had been waiting at the airport for the flight ferrying AKA and his entourage to land.

“Upon further investigation, it should be noted that cellphone records put accused number four at the airport at about the same time that AKA was at the King Shaka International Airport,” said Gcweka, reading from an affidavit authored by the investigating officer.

Followed from the airport to uMhlanga

“Further to that, the same vehicle that accused number four has admitted to belonging to him was also seen in the vicinity of the Hilton Hotel.”

It also emerged that Gwabeni was the driver of the BMW, which followed Forbes and his crew from the airport to uMhlanga.

The records also show that at the airport, Gwabeni paid for the parking ticket using a bank card that was linked to him.

The state alleged that Gwabeni was the key mover who assembled the hit squad and hired guns and vehicles with the sole purpose of killing AKA.

He is believed to have put together a team of assassins.

“All the accused were part of the group that went to collect the vehicle and the firearms that were going to be used in killing the deceased,” alleged the state.

At the wrong place at the wrong time

The state also contends that Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane was at the wrong place at the wrong time, while AKA was the intended target.

It is not yet known what the motive behind the assassination was, but the police do not rule out the possibility that there could be other key movers behind the hit.

Close to a million rands was allegedly paid to Gwabeni, which he has already admitted in court records to receiving.

However, he claims that the money was part of a business transaction.

While only five accused are currently appearing before the Durban magistrate court, there are seven people linked to the murder.

Two of the accused, the Ndimande brothers, are in Eswatini and the National Prosecuting Authority has applied for them to be extradited to stand trial with their co-accused.

Deadly firearms

The brothers are alleged to have divided among themselves close to R133 000 of the R800 000 that was received for the hit.

Sunday World reported recently that Gwabeni owned some of the deadliest firearms, some of which needed a special licence to own.

He also admitted to hiring the accused in his security business to assist him. In his previous brushes with the law, some of the accused are listed as his co-accused.

Meanwhile, inside the court, AKA’s father, Tony Forbes, flanked by his bodyguards, sat quietly while the gruesome details of his son’s death were being revealed.

The accused buried their heads on their laps during the entire court proceedings.

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