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Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed (Revised and Updated Edition)

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In September 2005, Brett Kebble, a prominent South African mining magnate, was killed on a quiet suburban street in Johannesburg in an apparent ‘assisted suicide’. The top-level investigation that followed was a tipping point for democratic South Africa, which implicated an astonishing array of high-profile politicians and public figures as well as illuminating the shadowy In September 2005, Brett Kebble, a prominent South African mining magnate, was killed on a quiet suburban street in Johannesburg in an apparent ‘assisted suicide’. The top-level investigation that followed was a tipping point for democratic South Africa, which implicated an astonishing array of high-profile politicians and public figures as well as illuminating the shadowy depths of Johannesburg’s underworld. This new paperback edition of Killing Kebble includes: a Postscript that brings readers up to date on the developments and the people involved in this story since the publication of Killing Kebble in April 2011; and an extensive Author Interview.


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In September 2005, Brett Kebble, a prominent South African mining magnate, was killed on a quiet suburban street in Johannesburg in an apparent ‘assisted suicide’. The top-level investigation that followed was a tipping point for democratic South Africa, which implicated an astonishing array of high-profile politicians and public figures as well as illuminating the shadowy In September 2005, Brett Kebble, a prominent South African mining magnate, was killed on a quiet suburban street in Johannesburg in an apparent ‘assisted suicide’. The top-level investigation that followed was a tipping point for democratic South Africa, which implicated an astonishing array of high-profile politicians and public figures as well as illuminating the shadowy depths of Johannesburg’s underworld. This new paperback edition of Killing Kebble includes: a Postscript that brings readers up to date on the developments and the people involved in this story since the publication of Killing Kebble in April 2011; and an extensive Author Interview.

30 review for Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed (Revised and Updated Edition)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    Phew, I cannot imagine why I constantly want to read these kind of books. They spin me into a depression which no pill can remedy for several weeks! Mandy Wiener wrote: "If there is anything I have learnt during the process of writing this book, it has been the inherent value of the concepts of loyalty and trust. For many of those I interviewed, the value placed on a person's word far outweighs that of a legal document or signature. Most have placed their faith in me on the basis of my undertaki Phew, I cannot imagine why I constantly want to read these kind of books. They spin me into a depression which no pill can remedy for several weeks! Mandy Wiener wrote: "If there is anything I have learnt during the process of writing this book, it has been the inherent value of the concepts of loyalty and trust. For many of those I interviewed, the value placed on a person's word far outweighs that of a legal document or signature. Most have placed their faith in me on the basis of my undertaking that I would handle their stories with objectivity, rectitude and integrity. I hope I have achieved that." Mandy aimed and succeeded as a journalist not to 'bastardize or sensationalize' the stories of The Bad Guys who never trusted journalist in any way. Although the events surrounding the death of Brett Kebble overshadowed all other issues in South Africa for several months/ years, and managed to have the entire South African population puking in disgust, switching off their televisions, stop buying newspapers and completely lose their faith in the so-called New South Africa, she managed to bring the humanity back into this shocking story with this book. She relied heavily on an arsenal of media resources to chronologically paste the background, actual events and characters involved together in "this saga of corruption at the very highest of levels, of insatiable greed, unpalatable political interference, the abhorrent abuse of state agencies and the downright dirty and dangerous tactics employed by agents hired to scare and kill." I toggled between four- and five stars for the book because her research and efforts were outstanding. After much consideration I decided to give it five stars, simply because I believe that history should be written by more than one author to counterbalance the noble nonsense that is prescribed in schools. It also took a lot of guts to get this book out there and live to tell the tale! My impressions and comments on the content: The only period in which South Africa became the blue-eyed wonder child of the world, was when Mr. Nelson Mandela came on stage and idealistically worked on an integrated society where forgiveness and hope were the basis of a new beginning. But it was the only, and last time that his nirvana would exist. The greedy mafia in his own party, waiting for his retirement, just could not wait any longer to start plundering the country's resources in shocking and very creative ways! It was soon evident that his ideals did not match those in his party. This book is a detailed report of some of these atrocities. The weapon scandal, the other mines being looted, the gross mismanagement of public funds and the story of thousands of murders, complete this new history of South Africa. Every day hundreds of workers lose their jobs because of this heartless coldblooded mafia who is suppose to serve the public. Mandy Wiener just contributed a little bit more to the story with this book. How the legal system is masterfully manipulated to protect government officials, underworld predators acting as noble public servants, is so well illustrated in this book. Regardless of Brett Kebble's demise - the question remains if a murder was staged as an assisted suicide - the deeper level of this book highlights the extraordinary skills used in public service to protect the high and mighty on all levels. Nobody went to jail in this story. In my opinion Brett Kebble was the doorway to some of the riches of South Africa. An intelligent, talented, kind man who went to extraordinary lengths to be loved and accepted on all levels of society. He made many so-called friends, including high ranking public figures, the ANC Youth League, captains of industry, and many more who all benefitted from his looting of three big companies in the gold industry. He tried to help them all, dishing out millions to their dreams and schemes, and went totally overboard, like a dog trying to please his blood-sucking fleas by lying down and let them suck him dry. And when his use was over, he was 'let go' - barely alive but useless and dangerous. He knew too much. He had bad relationships with his dad and brother - very bad. In the end he substituted them with the fleas for the love and admiration he so craved. A tragic figure who paid the ultimate price. He was a puppet in the hands of too many puppeteers. Mandy Wiener managed to keep me riveted to the book. I even read the acknowledgments! She is one of the courageous writers who should be hailed for her perseverance and guts. She truly succeeded in keeping her tale compassionate, honest and objective.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    Side note: This review originally appeared on the women24 website, which you can find here. An in-depth look at how the death of Brett Kebble exposed corrupt relations between high-profile public servants and organised crime syndicates. 2005 saw the death of the mining magnate, in what was eventually declared as an "assisted suicide". The years of investigation that followed exposed the corrupt relationship between SA's former Chief of Police, Jackie Selebi and businessman, Glenn Agliotti. In excha Side note: This review originally appeared on the women24 website, which you can find here. An in-depth look at how the death of Brett Kebble exposed corrupt relations between high-profile public servants and organised crime syndicates. 2005 saw the death of the mining magnate, in what was eventually declared as an "assisted suicide". The years of investigation that followed exposed the corrupt relationship between SA's former Chief of Police, Jackie Selebi and businessman, Glenn Agliotti. In exchange for their freedom, killers Mikey Schultz, Nigel McGurk and Fiazal Smith, disclose the chilling events that led to the night of Kebble’s murder. Agliotti, in turn, provides his own version of how the events unfolded. In this book, journalist Mandy Wieners recounts the startling details of the business tycoon's demise and what ensued thereafter. I'm neither a fan of non-fiction or current affairs, but I was intrigued and I somehow knew this book would offer some important facts and answers about the Kebble case that has had many people scratching their heads in confusion. And I was right. This book is no quick read. In fact, I believe that it shouldn't be read in one sitting. The info is actually so overwhelming that one really needs to take a step back to absorb everything that's being laid before you. It's also a rather convoluted story which shines a spotlight on just how little we, as readers and South Africans, know of the strings being pulled behind the scenes. One of the biggest surprises is the realisation of this murky underworld that dates back to the early '90s, when the club scene in and around SA began flourishing. This is essentially where Mikey Schultz starts his tale. Mandy paints a violently realistic portrayal of the squalid and shady ganglands. She is an incredibly gifted writer and her ability to tell the story, without passing any judgement, is one of the reasons that I think this book is such a phenomenal success. She relates Mikey, Nigel McGurk and Kappie Smith's stories in such an undeniably riveting manner that one can't help but feel a bit of empathy for them - even while you are aware of all the horrible crimes that they've committed. We’re essentially treated to the story behind the story, but of course my review would be incomplete if I overlooked Brett himself. Because, let's face it, if Brett Kebble had not been killed in the manner he was, there would be no story to tell. It's an absorbing read that casts a sobering look at how unhinged the corruption within our very own justice system has become and how, the people who are supposed to protect us, have failed - not only in this book, but us as South African citizens too. I highly recommend this book and believe that every South African should read it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tania Kliphuis

    I have a lot of respect for Mandy Weiner. How she managed to keep tabs on all the developing events of this case, and keep a cool head in the face of being charmed by the "bad guys" is a marvel. And yet she did it, and she got a book out of it too. And what a book it is. This is a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in politics and the dirty games politicians play to keep themselves in power. It's also a tale of how the South African political system has a lot of growing up to do. It see I have a lot of respect for Mandy Weiner. How she managed to keep tabs on all the developing events of this case, and keep a cool head in the face of being charmed by the "bad guys" is a marvel. And yet she did it, and she got a book out of it too. And what a book it is. This is a fascinating read for anyone who is interested in politics and the dirty games politicians play to keep themselves in power. It's also a tale of how the South African political system has a lot of growing up to do. It seems unreal that stuff like this really happens in my city.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Zaheera Walker

    Telling it like it is...loved every bit!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Al

    This book really kept me interested from the first page to the last - well-written and an easy style that makes for easy-reading, despite it being quite a heavy subject. Her ability seems to lie in the fact that although you know full well that these guys are "bad boys" you still cant help liking them. Her research was fantastic and her obvious ability to engage well with the people interviewed came through well. I would this book to anybody who has an interest in politics in SA - her background in This book really kept me interested from the first page to the last - well-written and an easy style that makes for easy-reading, despite it being quite a heavy subject. Her ability seems to lie in the fact that although you know full well that these guys are "bad boys" you still cant help liking them. Her research was fantastic and her obvious ability to engage well with the people interviewed came through well. I would this book to anybody who has an interest in politics in SA - her background information is excellent and I ended up seeing the people concerned in a different light.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mya

    The story itself is interesting and intriguing. I think that the author did a good job with Mikey Schultz, Nigel and Kappie as characters, but others weren't as well developed and harder to relate to. She also would slip into journalism mode quite often and there was a lot data to try and absorb (names, dates, information) which I struggled with as sometimes I had to concentrate quite hard to keep track of everything. I did find it quite a tiring book to read, but I think if you're interested in The story itself is interesting and intriguing. I think that the author did a good job with Mikey Schultz, Nigel and Kappie as characters, but others weren't as well developed and harder to relate to. She also would slip into journalism mode quite often and there was a lot data to try and absorb (names, dates, information) which I struggled with as sometimes I had to concentrate quite hard to keep track of everything. I did find it quite a tiring book to read, but I think if you're interested in the Brett Kebble story and the political story related to it, it's probably worth a read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ulrike Hill

    Mandy Wiener has brought the characters to life in a well written book. At times i felt some sympathy for the three killers until I am reminded of the fact that they are thugs. Wiener has highlighted the fact that the criminals are actually the ones who are in power with friends in high ranking positions. The book shows that money and an inept crime fighting force can buy you your freedom. A compelling read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mariaan

    another example that things are not always what they seem. This man lived a lavish life and was bankrupt. The amount of money he stole and used to keep up his lifestyle is just crazy. Still no one has any idea if he was assasinated or assisted, who knows. As for Mickey Schultz and his buddies, they are no heroes, they are just no justifying killing someone ..

  9. 5 out of 5

    Charlize Platts

    An amazing story. What a strange man Kebble must have been. What low-life types he socialised with. This was an unusual book to read. It was like a crime thriller but it was also journalism. And good journalism. I felt the author crawled under the skin of the main characters and there is obviously a lot of research in all of this. The way the book is structured is also very good. One feels all the time that the next chapter has to be read: it can't be put aside for tomorrow. I was captured, wanti An amazing story. What a strange man Kebble must have been. What low-life types he socialised with. This was an unusual book to read. It was like a crime thriller but it was also journalism. And good journalism. I felt the author crawled under the skin of the main characters and there is obviously a lot of research in all of this. The way the book is structured is also very good. One feels all the time that the next chapter has to be read: it can't be put aside for tomorrow. I was captured, wanting to know what happened next. This is a very good read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Jennings

    An amazing true story. This novel does not do it full justice, but it certainly exposes the underside of the gangster world and the corruption that seeps through the society. I would have liked less of the journalistic approach and more of the novelist's approach in this. Nevertheless, although it is pretty jerky and needs flow and rhythm to make it a good thriller, it is a powerful story and well worth reading. An amazing true story. This novel does not do it full justice, but it certainly exposes the underside of the gangster world and the corruption that seeps through the society. I would have liked less of the journalistic approach and more of the novelist's approach in this. Nevertheless, although it is pretty jerky and needs flow and rhythm to make it a good thriller, it is a powerful story and well worth reading.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matthew White

    The mysterious death of crooked mining magnate Kebble makes for a fascinating story. Wiener is a good reporter; unfortunately, she is not a polished writer. This in combination with some of the worst editing I have ever encountered makes the book immensely tedious at times. Also, Macmillan SA, part of the great international publishing group, let down the author by failing to provide an index, which such a complex account with so many characters requires.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Isobel Weeks

    This is a fascinating story, well written. The shocking levels of crime in the country provide the background to a story which is almost too strange to be true, but we know from journalists' reports that it is indeed true. This reads like a crime fiction novel but it is also documentary and memoire. The characters are starkly drawn and the facts are simply laid out fior the reader. It all makes for a really suspenseful brew. This is a fascinating story, well written. The shocking levels of crime in the country provide the background to a story which is almost too strange to be true, but we know from journalists' reports that it is indeed true. This reads like a crime fiction novel but it is also documentary and memoire. The characters are starkly drawn and the facts are simply laid out fior the reader. It all makes for a really suspenseful brew.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natisha

    I've struggled to get into this book, there is a lot of information and it's difficult to wrap your head around it. I want to be able to push through but the style does not appeal enough to have me finish it to find out what happens next. I may pick it up again but for now, it's going to be put aside. I've read Mandy's book above Reeva Steenkamp's murder and this was far easier to follow even with the difficult legal concepts. I've struggled to get into this book, there is a lot of information and it's difficult to wrap your head around it. I want to be able to push through but the style does not appeal enough to have me finish it to find out what happens next. I may pick it up again but for now, it's going to be put aside. I've read Mandy's book above Reeva Steenkamp's murder and this was far easier to follow even with the difficult legal concepts.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Gumede

    Amazing book. Very frightening, of course, to think that people can get themselves into such a predicament that they have to arrange their own murder-suicide. The media articles at the time meant that I knew most of the details, so it took me time to get around to reading this book. But the writing is good and the whole story hangs together like a crime thriller. Very enjoyable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    ALAN KINCAID

    Amazing story. The fact that it's all true is even more amazing. Who would pay someone to kill them and make it look like a suicide? Only a desperate man. These are low life people and they are beyond empathy. Full marks to the writer for making the story interesting enough to sustain attention from the reader right through to the end. Amazing story. The fact that it's all true is even more amazing. Who would pay someone to kill them and make it look like a suicide? Only a desperate man. These are low life people and they are beyond empathy. Full marks to the writer for making the story interesting enough to sustain attention from the reader right through to the end.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sipho Marakabi

    I remember reading the newspapers about this case. This is a good summary of it and a good exploration of the weird people involved in it. Very depressing, showing the rot in the country among the rich and powerful.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Friederich Blum

    What an horrific set of characters these are. The writing is good and the characters spur the reader on because they are so fascinating. I remember reading the press accounts of all of this but the book puts it together very nicely indeed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Monk

    Very good reporting on a very troubling case. The book makes for good reading, after one has read the newspaper reports. It pulls things together in a nice novelistic way, well structured and exciting..

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bothma van Tonder

    At certain points, it's almost hard to believe that this is non fiction, as the events seem like something out of a movie, almost far fetched at times, but still true. Excellently written book, definitely worth the time. I particularly enjoyed the focus on facts and details At certain points, it's almost hard to believe that this is non fiction, as the events seem like something out of a movie, almost far fetched at times, but still true. Excellently written book, definitely worth the time. I particularly enjoyed the focus on facts and details

  20. 4 out of 5

    Peter Ravenscroft

    Fascinating. Stranger than fiction, is real life. Imagine asking - paying - criminals to kill you and make it look like it was murder instead of suicide. You have to be desperate. This is well written and most enjoyable despite the gruesome detail.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom Neal

    Very fascinating. I read the news reports about all of this and could hardly believe what I read. But this book puts it all together very nicely. What a cast of characters and what a strange and unexpected thing to do.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Trevor Robinson

    Fascinating and macabre telling of a tale that one finds hard to believe but that is true in every respect. Who would have thought this possible? A weird protagomist and a bunch of thugs. All makes for exciting drama. Good to read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Philip Weyers

    Astonishing story of high level corruption, manipulated policing due to political interference, inept and incompetent prosecution all woven around the assisted suicide of a crooked mining mandate. And all unpunished! Scary stuff, adds to the fear factor of South Africa.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Helen Filster

    Very intriguing and thorough description of what held our attention every day in the media. Good to read this considered analysis.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Basil Vanrensburg

    Intriguing and well written. What a creep this character was. Frightening context, too, in South Africa. Bad crime all the way.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kobus Koopmans

    Very good. Accurate in every detail. I liked the way the real story has been taken and forged into a believable crime story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    richardmarshall

    Awesome expose on the South African underworld if you’re interested in it, pretty localized as far as the interest factor goes

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah Dube

    Very good. I rad all about this at the time but it was good to come back to it and see this very well constructed book about a shocking set of events.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Refilwe Rakuba

    "The only people who have gotten compensation are the people who have gotten away with the crime. That's the real compensation."- Guy Kebble Literally couldn't put it down. "The only people who have gotten compensation are the people who have gotten away with the crime. That's the real compensation."- Guy Kebble Literally couldn't put it down.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alan Hunt

    Very interesting. Nice research behind it but it would have been better if it had been moulded into a more interesting narrative. Too much detail and not enough on the characters involved.

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