The price of a life? Anything from R5,000 upwards: Read an excerpt from Hitmen for Hire by Mark Shaw
 More about the book!

In Hitmen for Hire, author Mark Shaw takes the reader on a journey like no other, navigating a world of South Africa’s hitmen, informers, rogue policemen, taxi bosses, gang leaders and crooked businessmen.

Hitmen for Hire examines a system in which contract killings have become the norm, looking at who arranges hits, where to find a hitman, and even what it is like to be a hitman – or woman.

The Sunday Times has shared an excerpt from the book, in which Shaw interviews a hitman named Simon in Johannesburg. Simon how the process works and what costs are involved.

Just before the two part, Shaw asks Simon if he has any regrets. ‘Not many,’ the hitman replies. ‘It’s really just a job.’

Read the excerpt:

Payment is strictly in cash and negotiated in advance. Small jobs are cheap: anything from R5,000 upwards. “Big targets”, like a taxi boss, are likely to be expensive.

“A taxi owner is about R20,000. A real taxi boss or a high-profile person is something like R150,000 or more.” For big hits, there is often an initial discussion and some planning. The difficulty will be talked about for a bit. Information on the person’s movements is presented. That sort of detail is usually conveyed by the person ordering up the hit. They may have been observing the target, or may know him. In most cases, a person who has collected these details will also act as the witness to make sure the job is done properly.

Simon implied that a lot of innuendo is used when talking about a hit — no names, just a reference to “removing” someone. This roundabout way of talking is not out of fear of surveillance or police informers, but, said Simon, because it is just easier to discuss someone else’s death like that. Hitmen are human too. It’s unseemly to talk about killing too directly.

How does he salve his conscience? With alcohol, for a start: whisky is his favourite. He needs to do this, he said, in the same way that people with different jobs do other things to get their mind off work. It’s just that, he emphasised: a job.

Click on the link above for the full excerpt 

Categories Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Book extracts Hitmen for Hire Jonathan Ball Publishers Mark Shaw Sunday Times

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