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Cops defend detectives involved De Ruyter’s ‘cyanide poisoning’

That the CEO of a critical state-owned enterprise faced a possible assassination, one would expect a major-general or brigadier to have been directly in charge of the case, says policing expert.

The South African Police Service’s top brass has defended the cops who confused former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter’s cyanide poisoning charges with sinus problems. They did not know what cyanide was, they told the former energy utility’s boss.

De Ruyter suffered a poisoning attempt on 12 December 2022 and reported his case to the police, who sent two detective sergeants to interview him. In an interview with ENCA’s Annika Larsen on 22 February, he spilt the beans on the quality of the policing.

“A normal trained police officer or any other civilian will not have knowledge of scientific terms used to describe poison or poisonous substances,” said Brigadier Athenda Mathe.

She added: “It is only when the exhibits are collected and submitted to a forensic science lab for testing will our SAPS forensics analysts be able to describe the substance or chemical due to their qualification and training level.”

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