Mystery surrounds Marike de Klerk's death

2001-12-04 22:18

Cape Town - Mystery still surrounds the death of Marike de Klerk, 64, ex-wife of former president FW de Klerk, who was found dead in her luxury flat in Blaauwberg, Cape Town, on Tuesday afternoon.

Police were not prepared to give any information on the cause of death, saying they were waiting for pathologists to complete their investigation.

Earlier reports suggested De Klerk took her own life, but the police refused to confirm this rumour. Other rumours had De Klerk dying of a bullet wound through the chest. Again, the police would not comment.

Spokesperson Superintendent Wicus Holtzhausen said De Klerk's body was found at approximately 16:00 after she failed to open the door for her hairdresser.

The hairdresser contacted the police and the security staff, who found De Klerk on the floor of the flat on the first floor of the Dolphin Beach Club complex. She was already dead.

A score of police force members, among them several senior officers, raced to the scene.

One of De Klerk's sons, Willem, was also there. Journalists were not allowed near the apartment.

'A very morbid time'

According to reports, De Klerk had recently been receiving treatment in Pretoria for a broken wrist in Pretoria.

Two days ago she contacted friends to let them know she was back in the Cape and that she had just been through a "very morbid time". She was also treated for depression while in Pretoria.

Former president FW de Klerk, speaking from Oslo, said he had not yet been informed about the circumstances of his ex-wife's death.

He is in Norway for the 100th Nobel Peace Prize celebrations.

Beeld's Marga Ley reports that De Klerk attended the baptism of her youngest grandchild and namesake, the three-month-old Marike Hillocks, in Pretoria on Sunday a fortnight ago.

She also made arrangements with her daughter and son-in-law, John and Susan Hillocks, to look after the baby over Christmas.

"We are too shocked to say anything sensible. This past weekend we were still discussing her visit," Hillocks said last night. His wife Susan was too shocked to comment.

'No hard feelings'

When asked, Hillocks said it was true that his mother-in-law was often lonely since her divorce from the former president.

"There definitely was such an element."

Jan de Klerk, Marike De Klerk's eldest son, who farms near Lichtenburg, said on Tuesday night everything was just starting to stabilise in his mother's life.

"The initial sadness was, to an extent, something of the past. We talked over the weekend and everything was hunky-dory."

She had recently returned from an overseas holiday.

"We don't exactly know what happened. The only thing I know for sure is that my mother is dead. We expect the police to do their job," De Klerk said.

John Hillocks said on Tuesday night they did not believe the break-up of her relationship with Johan Koekemoer or his subsequent wedding had anything to do with De Klerk's death.

"As far as we know they parted amicably and there was no bitterness. There were no hard feelings."