Killing of Cloete and Thomas Murray

Media release from Freedom Under Law

Quotes attributed to, and inquiries: Johann Kriegler 082 652 0920 /

Killing of Cloete and Thomas Murray

The apparent assassination of BOSASA liquidator poses a threat to the rule of law and to South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

Freedom Under Law notes with deep concern reports of the killing of Mr Cloete Murray and his son Thomas on 19 March 2023. Cloete Murray was a well-known insolvency practitioner who was acting as the liquidator of BOSASA, a company implicated in corrupt activities and which featured prominently in allegations of state capture during the Zondo Commission of Inquiry. Thomas Murray had become a director in his father’s firm, Sechaba Trust. Cloete Murray is also reported to have held court appointments as liquidator or trustee in other cases linked to state capture.

Cloete Murray’s involvement in such high-profile, politically connected matters raises serious concerns about the possibility of the killing being an assassination linked to matters investigated by him. Such killings are sadly not unique. There have been others, notably:

The murder of Anti-Gang Unit police officer Charl Kinnear, who was investigating cases involving organised crime;
The murder of Gauteng Department of Health whistle-blower Babita Deokaran, who was killed after flagging a series of suspicious and potentially fraudulent transactions.

These events raise fundamental concerns that those who threaten to expose corruption are themselves at risk of assassination. They point to murder being used as a tool to delay, distort, and pervert the course of the law. This situation is untenable. The killing of individuals such as the Murrays, court-appointed liquidators and trustees, has a potentially chilling effect on key role players in the justice system, who should be able to do their jobs without fearing for their lives. The killings are a fundamental threat to the rule of law and to our constitutional democracy.

Freedom Under Law condemns the killing of Cloete and Thomas Murray in the strongest terms. We join others across society, including the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners’ Association (SARIPA) and the Defend our Democracy campaign who have called on law enforcement agencies to ensure that those responsible for the killing are speedily brought to justice.