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SA super sleuth Piet Byleveld dies

South Africa’s most successful police detective, known as ‘Piet Byl’, has died at the age of 67.

FILE: Piet Byleveld pictured in 2007. Picture: Gallo Images

JOHANNESBURG - Brigadier Piet Byleveld, endearingly referred to as ‘Piet Byl’ by his former colleagues, has passed away at the age of 67 following a diagnosis of stage four lung cancer.

He was the country's most successful police detective and at the time of his retirement in 2010 was believed to have a 99% success rate in his career that spanned almost 40 years.

Byleveld was best known for his pursuit of serial killers such as the Cleveland serial killer Moses Sithole, the Wemmer Pan serial killer Cedric Maake and Nasrec serial killer Lazarus Mazingane, amongst many others.

But he also achieved notoriety as a celebrity super sleuth for his breakthrough in the Leigh Matthews murder case and for solving the murder of Pretoria school girl Sheldean Human.

However, his detractors disparagingly labelled him ‘the docket carrier’, suggesting he would take the solved dockets to court for the media while others did the real work.

Piet Byleveld dies at the age of 67.  Picture: EWN

Byleveld liked to refer to himself as a ‘boerseun’ from Nylstroom who 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.

‘Piet Byl’ will be remembered as a formidable detective, cracking cases with a ubiquitous cigarette between his fingers and a fierce, dogged determination to catch the killer.