Kebble’s son Guy confirmed that his father had taken his own life and that no foul play was suspected. The body was found with a gunshot to the head.
“He was concerned that he was becoming a burden,” said Guy, explaining that his father had suffered poor health over the past few years and had been in pain. He had undergone knee operations and suffered from a heart condition.
The 78-year-old leaves behind his son, daughter and several grandchildren.
His son Brett, the flamboyant mining tycoon, was killed in what a court found to have been an assisted suicide in Johannesburg in September 2005. The irony of his father committing suicide was not lost on Guy, who reiterated yesterday that both he and Roger had never believed that Brett had had himself killed.
Drug dealer Glenn Agliotti was acquitted of orchestrating Brett’s murder. Confessed hit men Mikey Schultz, Nigel McGurk and Faizal ”Kappie” Smith received indemnity from prosecution for testifying against Agliotti.
Roger had been spotted in his Mercedes-Benz hours before news of his death surfaced. A Bishopscourt resident had seen him leaving the neighbourhood shortly after 10am. When the man returned, Kebble’s vehicle was parked in the same spot.
“I saw someone looking down at his lap in the car,” said the man, who did not want to be named. “It was like he was on the phone . I did not see blood. [After] 3pm I heard someone was shot. Now I heard on the radio that it was Roger Kebble.”
Kebble’s lawyer, Kim Warren, said no one had “expected this”.
“He was a gentleman, in the true sense of the word, with people. He was always polite.”
Roger Kebble began his career in mining as a shift boss. As a mining captain working on the Reef, he climbed the ranks. With the assistance of his son Brett, he moulded himself into a magnate, heading some of the country’s most influential mining houses.
Despite his stature, he remained “rough as a goat’s knee” and “uncouth and coarse”, as people close to him described him.
Roger was never far from controversy. He fought an arduous battle with the South African Revenue Service, which accused him of tax evasion.
He was accused of fraud at DRD Gold, with allegations that he pillaged millions from the mining house in what became known as the “Skilled Labour Brokers affair”. He was charged with siphoning off money paid to SLB while he was in control of the Durban Roodepoort Deep mining company. The case was struck off the roll in 2005.
Kebble was also at the centre of a massive investigation into financial misdemeanours at JCI and Randgold & Exploration, which had ultimately led to Brett’s demise.