Poison is the cause of South African businessperson Andre Hanekom’s death yesterday in police custody in Mozambique, his wife Francis claimed, saying he was bleeding under his skin.
“The doctor 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,” Francis told The Citizen yesterday.
What also baffled her was that his vocal cords were destroyed. He could not speak.
Hanekom, 62, was accused of being complicit in Islamist terror in Mozambique – but although he died at 4am, Francis only learned 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.
Department of international relations and cooperation spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said the high commissioner will probe Hanekom’s death.