Andre Hanekom’s wife calls for second autopsy

Francis and Andre Hanekom.

Francis and Andre Hanekom.

Late SA businessman Andre Hanekom’s death last week in police custody in Mozambique continues to raise troubling questions, according to his widow Francis.

She now wants a second autopsy to be performed by a South African forensic team.

She took to Facebook on Sunday to write: “We need a second opinion from our side and would like to ask a private independent forensic pathologist to be part of the team.”

She told The Citizen last week week that the doctor had diagnosed him with pneumonia “but I suspect poisoning because he was bleeding under his skin, there was blood in his urine and on his stomach tube”.

What had also baffled her was that his vocal cords were destroyed. He could not speak.

“A quick autopsy was done, without informing me, obtaining my consent or having me present at the procedure. How would we know if the results will be honest or the body [is] not being deliberately contaminated?”

Francis also claimed the Mozambican government had wanted to change the cause of death on André’s death certificate from encephalopathy and hypoxia to meningoencephalitis of viral or bacterial origin.

Since she is a former ICU nurse herself, she was deeply sceptical of this.

“He did not present like a patient with meningoencephalitis on the brink of death. I know what it looks like, and have seen it before.”

Hanekom, 62, was accused of being complicit in Islamist terror in Mozambique – but although he died at 4am, Francis only learnt of his death from a friend at 9am.

She said authorities did not bother to notify her of her husband’s death. “Everybody knew – but I did not.”

According to Francis, Hanekom was admitted to hospital in a coma and bleeding on Saturday.

She saw him on Sunday. He opened his eyes when he heard her voice. “I brought him food but it was taken away,” she said.

The last time she saw him alive was on Tuesday, saying he was doing fine and was moving his legs and aware of his surroundings.

“I was surprised by his death because he was doing well. I did not expect he would die,” Francis said.

The SA high commissioner to Mozambique made arrangements to bring his body back to South Africa, she said.

Hanekom, of Mbombela in Mpumalanga, was in custody following his arrest in Mozambique on various terrorism charges.

He was taken into custody by military police in Palma, Mozambique, on New Year’s Eve.

During the arrest, he was allegedly chased down the road by undercover military men and took refuge in the Marula Hotel.

He was reportedly accosted by four men in balaclavas who crashed through the hotel’s security gate, with witnesses reporting he was fired at several times and hit in the arm.

Hanekom was reportedly bundled into the back of a Toyota Cruiser that sped off.

Francis maintained Hanekom was innocent, claiming he was targeted by businessmen.

She believes the charges against her husband, who owned a maritime logistics company in the gas-rich northern region of the country, were a ploy to take ownership of his properties overlooking the gas fields.

Hanekom was linked to a terror cell operating in the region and was due in court next week.

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