Contract killings come cheap in South Africa
Getting rid of an insufferable husband comes relatively cheap in South Africa, while political hits are more expensive.
Crime studies say hiring a contract killer costs anywhere between $145 and $8,700 in South Africa, where assassinations have come under renewed spotlight after the murder of a popular rapper.
One of South Africa's hottest artists, Kiernan Forbes, known as AKA, was shot dead outside a restaurant in the city of Durban earlier this month.
Forbes, 35, was gunned down on a Friday night alongside his friend Tebello Motsoane or "Tibz", 41, as the two were walking towards their car along one of the most popular roads in the south eastern coastal city.
The incident shocked the nation, which has grown accustomed to crime and violence.
South Africa has one of the world's highest murder rates.
AKA's murder was captured on security camera footage that went viral online.
In it a man wearing a white hat is seen crossing a road and walking at pace past a parked car.
He approaches the singer from behind on the sidewalk and opens fire at close range before running away.
Police said they are following multiple leads, but everything points towards a targeted assassination.
No arrests have been made so far.
- 'Easy' murder -
Only about one in five murder cases are solved in the country, according to the latest annual police report.
With data released in February showing there were an average of 82 murders a day across the country between October and December, many killers remain unnamed and at large.
"Few murders involving hitmen end up in court and when they do hitmen are often killed," Mary de Haas, an academic focusing on political violence in Durban's KwaZulu-Natal province, told AFP.
That makes eliminating someone seem "pretty easy" she said.
It is not known how much AKA's murder cost.
But the more prominent a target, the higher the cost of their assassination, according to a 2021 report by Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, a Swiss think tank.
Hitmen in South Africa billed little more than $3,000 on average for murders motivated by personal reasons, according to the study -- although figures varied also depending on eventual insurance pay-outs.
Politically motivated and organised crime related hits cost more.
- 'Shortcomings of policing'-
Earlier this month a city employee in Cape Town was shot dead in her car.
Her body was found at the entrance of the construction site of a real estate project worth more than 500 million rand ($27 million).
Prior to the killing, people working on the project had suffered from intimidation and extortion attempts, according to a source at city hall.
The city, run by the country's leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, offered a 100,000 rand reward for information leading to the successful prosecution of those responsible.
Police minister Bheki Cele who every three months presents nationwide crime statistics in a live broadcast, has long been under pressure to improve the situation.
"The quarterly crime stats... represent more of a history lesson highlighting the shortcomings of policing, rather than a crime intelligence toolset," Cape Town city hall said in a statement.
As he unveiled the latest figures this month, Cele said police continued "to arrest hit men and those who order assassinations".