'I saw Dirk Prinsloo in SA'
Pretoria - Dirk Prinsloo's "mother" is "more certain than ever" that she spotted him at OR Tambo International Airport’s customs area on March 16 this year.
Fransie Meiring, the woman referred to by Prinsloo as "the mother I never had", believes he entered the country with fake travel documents.
Although no such journey is indicated in his South African passport, the police cannot exclude the possibility that Prinsloo had used fake travel documents, said national police spokesperson Sally de Beer on Tuesday.
Prinsloo's South African passport was found in his possession when he was arrested in Belarus recently. A copy of the passport was faxed to the South African police.
According to the document, Prinsloo had spent time in the countries of the old Soviet Union since fleeing South Africa.
De Beer said the possibility that Prinsloo might have used fake documents will only be clear once the investigation has been completed.
Meiring says she and Prinsloo developed a close friendship in 2002. After he fled the country in 2006, he contacted her from Russia via e-mail.
Prinsloo wanted Meiring to fetch his dogs, which had been left with his father, Johan Prinsloo, and have them sent to his new home. Meiring didn’t do so, but did give a statement to Interpol about Prinsloo’s e-mail.
Meiring said she left for a holiday in China with her sister and sister's child on March 16.
"I was standing in a queue when I realised Dirk was standing right next to me. We made eye contact. He was so close to me that I could've touched him," said Meiring.
She says she was too scared to raise the alarm. She didn't know if Prinsloo was accompanying someone, or whether he was alone.
"My thoughts were focused on simply getting on the plane and going away for a holiday," Meiring related.
Difference in appearance
She says she noticed the difference in Prinsloo's appearance immediately.
"He always had bags under his eyes, and those were gone completely."
Upon Beeld's request, a plastic surgeon who prefers to remain anonymous, analysed photos taken of Prinsloo before he fled the country, and those which were released by the Belarus police on Monday.
According to him, there's "now definitely less excess skin" under Prinsloo's eyes, but it's difficult to make a diagnosis based only on photographs.
Meiring was one of the people who Prinsloo thanked in a letter which he had earlier sent to various media institutions, including Beeld.
According to Meiring, Prinsloo's inclusion of her name was "his way of saying thanks for the fact that I didn't make a scene at the airport".
Prinsloo fled the country during the course of a trial at the high court in Pretoria, where he, along with his ex-lover, Cézanne Visser (better known as Adv. Barbie), were facing sixteen charges including rape and indecent assault.