Murder leaves Tuks staff in fear

Photo: Gopolang Chawane

Staff at the Pretoria University campus are living in fear as the killer of a colleague last week remains at large.

Employees at the Hatfield campus said they believed the man behind the murder of Johan de Beer knew how to bypass security at the institution.

The 64-year-old De Beer, a retired agricultural science lecturer, was maintenance manager at the university when he was found dead in a toilet cubicle in the Musaion building in the early hours of Wednesday.

His hands were tied behind his back and a plastic bag was tied over his head. A post-mortem showed that the grandfather had died as a result of suffocation.

Robbery could have been the motive of the attack as R600, withdrawn by De Beer at an automatic teller machine on campus before the murder, had been taken. His bank cards were not taken.

Brooklyn police spokesman Captain Colette Weilbach said on Monday there were no new developments in the murder investigation.

UP spokesperson Anna-Rheta Bouwer said security of personnel and students at the university had always been a priority.

“We are waiting for the completion and findings of the police investigation before any decision can be taken regarding security measures,” Bouwer said.

Several Tuks employees approached by Rekord expressed concern about their own safety on campus.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said the security measures at the Musaion Building were common knowledge for everyone working or studying at UP.

“It is quite scary to think that there could be a murderer right under our noses on campus,” said an employee who works in the Musaion.

“It is known at security at Musaion is not very tight,” she said.

Grave concern about the violent manner in which De Beer had been killed on the university campus was expressed by the trade union Solidariteit.

Spokesman Johan Botha described the death of the former lecturer and member of the union as heart wrenching.

“The killing also once again create great concern about the general safety at university campuses all over the country.”

Botha said Solidariteit would urgently enter into discussions with the UP management on the matter.

“We will urge management to improve security on campus. As a union, high value is placed on the safety of our members at their places of work,” Botha said.

De Beer was last seen on campus CCTV footage around 14h00 on Tuesday shorty after withdrawing cash from the ATM on campus.

He then walked in a southerly direction and was not seen alive again. When De Beer failed to arrive home after work on Tuesday afternoon, his wife and security staff at UP launched a night-long search.

De Beer’s body was discovered by security at 04h30 in a toilet cubicle. Shoe scuff marks indicated that quite a struggle had ensured during the attack.

De Beer, also known as a poet and musician, leaves behind his wife Coosie, a son Rohan, a daughter Jaconett and a grand-child.

Also read: 

Tuks shaken by murder

UP man allegedly tied up before murder

Body found in toilet at Tuks

Another death at Tuks

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Stephané Bothma

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