The Assassination of Charl Kinnear

The Assassination of Charl Kinnear by corruption and organised crime in South Africa

In the battle against organized crime, few stories resonate as profoundly as those of courageous individuals who stand firm against the forces of darkness, only to become martyrs in the pursuit of justice. The assassination of Charl Kinnear, a dedicated South African police officer, echoes the tragic tales of Italian prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, who were murdered by the Sicilian Mafia in the early 1990s.

Kinnear’s death, like those of Falcone and Borsellino, underscores the perilous journey of fighting organized crime.

Charl Kinnear: A Beacon of Courage

Colonel Charl Kinnear served in the Anti-Gang Unit of the South African Police Service, dedicating his life to dismantling the complex web of gang violence and organized crime that plagues the Western Cape. Known for his unwavering commitment and deep sense of duty, Kinnear’s investigative work brought him face-to-face with some of the most dangerous criminals in South Africa. Yet, despite the constant threats to his life, he remained steadfast, driven by a belief in justice and the protection of the innocent.

The Assassination: A Calculated Act of Violence

On September 18, 2020, the fight against organized crime in South Africa was dealt a devastating blow when Kinnear was brutally assassinated outside his home in Cape Town. This calculated act of violence was not just an attack on an individual but a direct challenge to the state’s authority and its efforts to combat criminal syndicates. Kinnear’s murder highlighted the immense risks faced by those who dare to confront the entrenched networks of organized crime and exposed the vulnerabilities within South Africa’s criminal justice system.

The Echoes of Italy’s Struggle

The assassination of Kinnear parallels the tragic stories of Falcone and Borsellino, whose lives were cut short by the Mafia’s bombs in retaliation for their tireless efforts to dismantle the Cosa Nostra. These Italian prosecutors, like Kinnear, believed in the power of the law to combat organized crime, despite the personal risks.

Their deaths became symbolic of the perilous path of justice in the face of corruption and criminal collusion, serving as a stark reminder of the costs associated with challenging powerful and deeply entrenched criminal networks.

Corruption: The Enemy Within

One of the most insidious challenges in the fight against organized crime, as revealed by Kinnear’s assassination and the experiences of Falcone and Borsellino, is the corruption within the ranks of those tasked with upholding the law. In South Africa, as in Italy, organized crime groups have exploited corrupt officials to shield their operations from scrutiny, undermining investigations and eroding public trust in law enforcement institutions. This collusion between criminals and corrupt officials not only hampers efforts to combat crime but also poses a significant threat to the rule of law and democracy itself.

The fight against organized crime and corruption requires a united front, transcending borders and drawing lessons from the sacrifices of individuals like Kinnear, Falcone, and Borsellino. It necessitates collaboration between law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, and civil society to foster a culture of integrity, accountability, and resilience. 


The assassination of Charl Kinnear is a tragic testament to the dangers faced by those who challenge the powers of organized crime and corruption. Yet, in this darkness, there lies a beacon of hope—inspired by Kinnear and his Italian counterparts—that illuminates the path to a future where justice prevails. As we reflect on their legacies, let us remember that the fight against crime is not just the responsibility of the few but a collective duty that demands courage, integrity, and perseverance from everyone.