Man hunter remembered

Piet Byleveld is hailed as a super sleuth by the South African police service. Photo: The Citizen


Piet Byleveld, who died on 24 May at the age of 67, has been hailed as a super sleuth for his work as a police detective – from his first big case in 1977 to his retirement in 2010.

Among his many cases, the ones Byleveld is most remembered for are catching notorious gangs, serial killers and difficult murder cases.

In the 70s, the Shotgun Gang, who were shop and bank robbers, were stopped by Byleveld and Spyker van Wyk after an intense investigation. According to the Daily Maverick, the kingpin, Dougie Scheepers was the first white person in South Africa to receive the death penalty for armed robbery.

Byleveld then went on to catch the Knysna (1993), Kranskop (1996 to 1997), Nasrec (1996 to 2002), Wemmer Pan/Hammer (1997 to 2000), Bruma Lake (2001 to 2002) and Mine Dump (2003) serial killers. He also solved the murders of Leigh Matthews (2004) and Sheldean Human (2006).

READ: Renowned detective Piet Byleveld dies

As a tribute to Byleveld, who worked tirelessly for justice, the South African Police Service posted the following statement on their Facebook page,

“It is with shock and sadness that the South African Police Service yesterday learnt about the passing of former celebrated top cop Brigadier Piet Beyleveld. The former detective at Brixton Murder and Robbery Unit was a member of the South African Police Service with almost 38 years service when he left the police.”

The statement added that former colleagues of Byleveld and the entire management of the South African Police Service paid tribute to him, a man who worked tirelessly to bring notorious criminals to book.

“He had a particularly high success rate in serious and violent cases, which he attributed to a great sense of patience. Brigadier Piet Beyleveld will be remembered by many police officers and former colleagues as a man that could hardly rest until a case was solved and put through courts of law successfully.

“Criminals would remember him as the detective with the soft voice that eventually cornered them with his unique interviewing techniques,” read the statement.

On Facebook, police management conveyed their sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the distinguished former police officer.

A biography, Byleveld: Dossier of a Serial Sleuth, has been published.

Amy Ingram

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