Kebble was born in the mining town of Springs, on the East Rand. He matriculated from St. Andrew's School, Bloemfontein, in 1981, and then went on to the University of Cape Town, from where he graduated in 1986.
His first job was as an articled clerk for Mallinicks, which has since merged with, and become part of, Webber Wentzel, in Cape Town in the late 1980s. He was involved in the sale by Anglo American of its JCI gold assets to Mzi Khumalo in 1995, but the partnership ended soon after.
In August 2005 he was deposed from the companies he ran, Western Areas, JCI and Randgold & Exploration, following moves by concerned investors and stakeholders. An investigation followed to determine the whereabouts of some R2-billion-worth of Randgold Resources shares, which Randgold & Exploration could not easily account for and which had either been loaned out or sold. This was followed by the suspension of JCI and Randgold & Exploration shares from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) which recently, Randgold & Exploration has been relisted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
He married Ingrid in December 1990 and they had four children.
He was shot dead near a bridge over the M1 in Abbotsford, Johannesburg at around 9pm on 27 September 2005 while driving to a dinner engagement with his business associate, Sello Rasethaba. An autopsy performed three days after the murder found that the bullets were a rare, 'low velocity' type used by bodyguards and crack security operatives. The purpose of such bullets, which requires a specially adapted pistol, was to hit assassins and terrorists without passing through their bodies and hitting bystanders or hostages. Despite the closer range, the gunpowder burns in general were not severe, providing further evidence that the ammunition was of a special "reduced charge".
On 16 November 2006 businessman Glenn Agliotti was arrested in connection with the murder of Brett Kebble. Agliotti, a convicted drug-dealer, was a close personal friend of former South African Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi. It was alleged that Agliotti had strong links with organised crime and racketeering. On 27 October 2008, the National Prosecuting Authority officially recognised that Kebble orchestrated his own murder. In July 2010, his death was the subject of a high-profile court case, with a number of state witnesses admitting complicity. However, in November 2010 Agliotti was acquitted when the court ruled that the state had not made a prima facie case against him.
Legal action has since been ongoing to resolve the issue of the missing Randgold Resources shares. On 21 January 2010 a revised settlement agreement was signed between the JCI Group and the Randgold & Exploration Group.
Sale of art collection
His art collection went under the hammer on 6 May 2009. Bidders from as far as Australia, New Zealand and Pennsylvania were at the auction. 133 pieces of art were sold for ZAR53.90 million. This falls short of the one billion rand that he was said to have squandered.
The Brett Kebble Art Awards
Kebble was the controversial patron of the Brett Kebble Art Awards which he established in 2003 to provide a showcase for established artists, and to help those less known to attain recognition. It was also meant to build a non-racial bridge into the 21st century.
The Kebble as it became known, was the most inclusive award of its kind (often criticized for including a "craft" category to be judged on par with the other mediums like painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography) in South Africa. Adding to this, it was also the richest, having a total purse of R620 000 (roughly $98 000) with a grand prize of R200 000 (roughly $32 000).
After Kebble’s murder, his family decided to cancel the 2006 awards.
In February 2006, artist Deborah Weber opened a solo exhibition in Johannesburg called Art Media Media Art on the same day that the BKAA were to open at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. She explored the time trajectory from being selected as an artist for the 2004 Kebble Art Awards, to working on the awards in 2005, and ending with Brett Kebble’s death in September 2005.
- Brett Kebble - The Inside Story by Barry Sergeant
- Killing Kebble by Mandy Wiener
- Brett Kebble is used as an illustration for corruption in South African companies - see Chapter 5 "Forget the Vision and the Mission" in Muzi Kuzawayo's book amusingly titled There's a Tsotsi in the Board Room.
- The Kebble Collusion: Ten Fateful Days in a R26 Billion Fraud by Barry Sergeant
- New revelations on Kebble money Archived 23 March 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
- Kebble's 'missing' money Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
- Ancyl link to Kebble fraud Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
- Malherbe, Kathy. "Psychopaths in suits". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2016-05-03.
- Maughan, Karyn. "Brett Kebble 'planned' his own death". IOL. Independent Media. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Daily News reporters and Sapa. "Kebble slams Agliotti claims". IOL. Independent Media. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Franz, Wild. "Charges Against Agliotti for Kebble’s Murder Dropped". Bloomberg. Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
- Barry Sergeant (2006). Brett Kebble: The Inside Story. Zebra. ISBN 978-1-77007-306-7.
- Mandy Wiener (1 January 2012). Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed. Pan Macmillan South Africa. ISBN 978-1-77010-245-3.
- Kuzwayo, Muzi (2007). There's a Tsotsi in the Boardroom. Jacana. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-77009-087-3.
- Barry Sergeant (1 January 2013). The Kebble Collusion: Ten Fateful Days in a R26 Billion Fraud. Jacana Media. ISBN 978-1-4314-0464-3.