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Killing Kebble: @MandyWiener’s Replies to Twitter Questions about Her Bestselling Book

Killing KebbleKilling Kebble, Mandy Wiener’s gritty, fast-paced true crime tale of how Brett Kebble’s death blew the lid off Johannesburg’s underworld, is a best-seller – and is now available as an eBook (ePub) at Kalahari.net.

Ten copies of the Killing Kebble eBook were up for grabs in Pan Macmillan’s eBook giveaway. Below are Mandy’s responses to the ten best questions submitted via Twitter.

@NyakalloLephoto asked: “Had Kebble not died when he did, would our politic[s] have taken a different course?”

Brett Kebble was shrewd and calculating and ensured that he funded all parties and had a slice of every pie. He gave money to the ANC as readily as he gave to the DA. In that way he always ensured that he curried favour with whoever held power in the country. However, in the years before his death he aligned himself with Jacob Zuma. They both had a common enemy in the National Prosecuting Authority and its former director Bulelani Ngcuka. Kebble felt that by supporting Zuma and ANC Youth League leaders like Fikile Mbalula, he had made himself a target for those aligned to President Mbeki. If Kebble were still alive today, he would be sitting pretty. I don’t think our politics would have taken a different course though – Kebble would have just benefited more.

@bornfreesa asked: “Do you think criminal tendencies are so engrained in the freedom fighters it has become a norm?”

I do believe that there is a serious culture of ‘entitlement’ amongst the top political elite and the leadership in law enforcement in the country. There is a sense amongst many that they have dedicated their lives to the struggle and they have compromised to such an extent that they deserve far more. For someone like Jackie Selebi, who had spent years at the vanguard of the struggle, I don’t believe he ever though that he would have to answer to a court of law. We’re also seeing the emergence of a culture of money amongst that elite and that will be the downfall of so many ex-freedom fighters who are now leading the country. The problem is endemic.

@loyisothevictor asked: “I imagine this case has shed some light on the justice system, what are some of your insights?”

I think this case has exposed the critical flaws in the justice system in the country. I say in the book that the case against Glenn Agliotti was a victim of the criminal justice system in the country, as it became the battlefield for the fight between two agencies of the state – the SAPS and the Scorpions. It shows that if there is insufficient political will and ineffectual prosecutors, anyone can get away with murder.

@shauntrennery asked: “If you could go back in time and ask Brett one question, what would it be?”

There is the obvious one … “Were you an active participant in your own murder?” but I would also be fascinated to know about how he managed to ferret away so much money, how he was able to plunder and pillage an established, listed company and how he got away with that malfeasance for as long as he did.

@tjaartvdwalt asked: “Will there be a sequel?”

The sequel is certainly playing itself out at the moment but I’m not sure if there will be a sequel in the form of a book. The story is not ripe to be told yet, in the same way that I had to wait for the Kebble story to be ripe to write.

@nachofine asked: “What was your most exciting day when writing Killing Kebble?”

Judgment day in Glenn Agliotti’s murder trial, for purely selfish reasons. I had already done extensive interviews with Mikey, Nigel, Kappie and Agliotti. But in order for me to be able to use them in the book, I needed Agliotti to be acquitted and the three shooters to be granted indemnities by Judge Frans Kgomo. It was the worst possible outcome for the State and for the dispensation of justice, but for me it was exactly what I needed. In the subsequent chaos and excitement, I jumped on a table to interview Agliotti and ripped my jeans open on live TV. Quite a moment!

@shaunmarran asked: “Were you ever worried while writing that someone [would] prefer it as never-published and would ensure it was never finished?”

Not at all. Look obviously there are some people who are named in the book who would have preferred to have been kept out of it all, but I don’t think anyone was adequately aggrieved to go to those kinds of lengths to stop me from publishing it. John Stratton and his attorneys indicated in an official letter that I ran the risk of litigation if I published certain material but at no stage did I ever feel that someone would stop me from publishing it.

@jaycee_k asked: “Mandy did you ever feel intimidated when interviewing the underworld thugs who were involved with killing Kebble?”

I could never have interviewed them if I wasn’t confident enough to do so and the only way I was able to earn their trust and respect was by not being intimidated by them. In many situations they operate on the currency of fear and intimidation and that’s how they earn their respect and street cred. If I played into that I would never have been able to entice that genuine emotion that comes across in the text.

@dumahs_hardahs asked: “How has your life changed since writing Killing Kebble?”

As a journalist, all you have is your reputation and your credibility. I do find that when I interview people now, I’m taken more seriously as my name is more familiar. Being in radio, I have always had the luxury of anonymity as most people don’t know what I look like. That has changed to an extent now.

@virtuallynormal asked: “What’s the best book you’ve read this year?”

Without a doubt James Brabazon’s My Friend the Mercenary. It’s real gutsy journalism and so raw. I devoured it!

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