Ret. Brigadier Piet Byleveld, South Africa’s veteran police investigator passed away at the age of 67 after failing to survive a stage four lung cancer.
The former top detective was announced dead on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, after he was restlessly struggling to breathe in Roodepoort’s Life Wilgeheuwel Hospital.
He had been sedated since last Sunday, and on Monday as doctors stopped all his treatment on him saying there was nothing they could do to help his critical situation.
Byleveld – or otherwise known as Piet Byl, had stage four cancer in both of his lungs which later spread to his spine, adrenal gland and liver.
His stepdaughter who spoke to the media days prior to his death said it was a “matter of time” before he passed away as it was “not going well” and he was not awake.
His sister Elize Swart confirmed this when she spoke to News24, saying that it’s a matter of hours now.
“Actually, it’s a matter of time. We’re taking it hour by hour at this stage. His condition has deteriorated now from day to day. He’s sleeping backwards.”
Brigadier Piet Byleveld was born in 1950 but retired in 2010, after serving 38 years in the state Police Service. Prior to his announced retirement, the brigadier dealt with some of South Africa’s most dangerous and notorious criminals, solved numerous cases linked to crimes and thus has been dubbed “Super Cop” by colleagues and admirers.
Since 1970 when he joined the SAPS the veteran was involved in several high-profile cases, including that of Leigh Matthews, Sibille Zanner and Sheldean Human.
He was even responsible for the arrest of serial killers like Cleveland serial killer Moses Sithole, Cedric Maake and Lazarus Mazingane (1996-2002).
Thus he was noted as South Africa’s most successful police detective with a 99% success rate in his career that spanned almost 40 years.
Not only was Brigadier Piet Byleveld known for his exceptional skills in investigating crimes, he was also known for his super skills in solving the murder cases like that of Pretoria school girl Sheldean Human in 2006.
However, liked to refer to himself as a ‘boerseun’ from Nylstroom said he wanted to become a church minister, but became a cop instead.
He was the longest serving member of the notorious Brixton murder and robbery unit and was honoured by the International Police Association, the FBI and Scotland Yard for his achievements.
Cases Brigadier Piet ByleveldHandled Before 2010
- 1977 – Shotgun gang (Dougie Scheepers convicted)
- 1996 – Knysna Serial killers (Juan Havenga and Toney Wessels convicted )
- 1996-1997 – Kranskop serial killer
- 1996-2002 – Nesrec serial killer
- 1997-2000 -Wemmer Pan/Hammer Serial Killer
- 2001-2002 – Bruma Lake Serial Killer
- 2003 – Mine dump Serial killer
- 2004 – Solved the Leigh Mathew murder case
- 2006 – Solved the Sheldean Human case
Though his detractor labelled him ‘the docket carrier’, suggesting he would take the solved dockets to court for the media while others did the real work, Brigadier Piet Byleveld will be remembered as a formidable detective with a dogged determination to catch the killer.