dr klatzow

Previous high profile cases

The Helderberg Crash

Dr Klatzow is extremely well known for his efforts in the investigation of the Helderberg disaster where a fully loaded South African Airways Boeing 747 crashed into the sea off the island of Mauritius some 25 years ago.  He is known as an international expert on the Helderberg matter and his views are solicited by researchers and others on a regular basis.

Guguletu 7

The case of the Guguletu 7 involved seven young activists who were brutally murdered by the police at Crossroads.  The police gave out the story that they had been attacked by these seven young men who were alleged to be part of the armed military wing of the ANC.  Tony Weaver who was at that stage the deputy editor of the Cape Times, together with Chris Bateman, a reporter at the time, did some investigation and found that the story simply did not hold water.  There were eyewitnesses who gave a different version completely.  As a result of the publication of this information, Tony Weaver, was charged under the Police Act for publishing untrue stories about the police and was put on trial which carried a mandatory jail sentence at the time.  Dr Klatzow was involved in the defence of Tony Weaver and was able to show that the police version given in sworn affidavits was simply denied by the forensic evidence that was available.  The nature of the bullet wounds as well as the angles and directions from which the deceaseds had been shot did not match the police version of events.  As a result, Tony Weaver was acquitted and the net effect of that was that some years later at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), Eugene de Kock came out and gave the true version of what had happened.  It was all a set up at the time and it was designed to get more money from the National Treasury to run the killing machine at Vlakplaas. 

Ashley Kriel

Ashley Kriel was a young activist who was wanted by the police, in particular a man by the name of Warrant Officer Jeffrey Benzien, who went out to go and fetch Ashley Kriel.  In the course of arresting him, there was an alleged struggle, during which Ashley Kriel was shot in the back with his own pistol which was allegedly stolen. Dr Klatzow was able to show from ballistic evidence that the version given by Warrant Officer Benzien was simply untrue and this resulted in an inquest.  Unfortunately, the magistrate in question was an apartheid type apparatchik and he simply refused to listen to the evidence.  As a result, Ashley Kriel’s death has gone unpunished. 

The Piet Retief Massacre

This is another interesting story involving Eugene de Kock and the Vlakplaas people.  In this particular instance, they used to lure people across the border, allegedly to come and do ANC work in the country as the Swaziland border was not far away from Piet Retief.  When the people came across the border, they were picked up by a car with an informer therein and this informer would then drive to a lonely spot in the forest where he would get out of the vehicle on the pretext of going to urinate.  The police would then move in and massacre the people in the car with automatic weapons and whatever else came to hand, making certain that none of these people were left alive.  The inquest was conducted at Piet Retief which Dr Klatzow attended and acted on behalf of the deceased and their families.  The inquest was run by Zac Jacoob who is now a judge of the Constitutional Court.  Again, it was one of those awful apartheid murders which has come out subsequently; at the TRC it was shown to be conducted by the people at Vlakplaas.

Brett Kebble

In this case, Brett Kebble was a mining magnate who defrauded his various companies of vast amounts of money.  It appears that there was a R2 billion shortfall in the books of these companies.  When the dénouement was ripe and ready, it appeared that Brett Kebble realised that the time was up and he arranged with some of his workers to have them shoot him at a lonely spot near Melrose.  In that way he could both escape justice and he could defraud the insurance companies into paying out a large sum on an insurance policy which would otherwise not have paid had he taken the gun and shot himself.  This was one of those cases known as an assisted suicide.  Dr Klatzow was able to give this information to the advocate within a week, (Judge Willem Heath), who was running the inquiry for Brett Kebble’s father and amidst much press speculation Dr Klatzow was able to tell him that Brett Kebble had committed an assisted suicide.  This was much ridiculed by e-TV who were forced a year later to eat their words when the killers came out and admitted to having been contracted by Brett Kebble to shoot him so that his family could claim the insurance money.

Read more in Mandy Wiener’s book, “Killing Kebble”: 

Klatzow, forensic scientist

Tel: +27 21 685 5747

Fax: +27 21 685 7748

Cell: 082 807 2585

Klatzow, forensic scientist


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“Here’s freedom to him who would speak,

Here’s freedom to him who would write;

For there’s none ever feared that the truth should be heard,

Save him whom the truth would indict!”


Klatzow Helderberg, Brett Kebble

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Dr David Klatzow                        Forensic Scientist