A tribute to top cop Piet Byleveld

26 May 2017

A tribute to top cop Piet Byleveld

The tragic news came yesterday that our country’s most famous super sleuth and most successful serial killer hunter had passed away in hospital after a battle with cancer.

Piet Byleveld, known as Piet Byl, had a 40-year career in the South African Police Service that boasted a 99% success rate in solving some of the most notorious and brutal crimes to have made headlines.

Prior to his retirement in 2010, Byleveld succeeding in apprehending the Knysna serial killers in 1993, the Wemmer Pan serial killer in 2000 (a case that took four years to solve), and the Bruma Lake serial killers in 2002, among others. He was also responsible for the breakthrough in the Leigh Matthews murder case in 2004 and the murder of Pretoria schoolgirl Sheldean Human in 2006.

He was honoured by the International Police Association, the FBI and Scotland Yard for his determination and achievements.

And when it came to creating a TV series about a formidable Afrikaans detective with an uncanny ability to get inside the mind of serial killers, he was the obvious choice for inspiration.

Byleveld served as technical advisor on the crime series Die Byl (all 13 episodes are on Showmax), and he was the inspiration behind Waldemar Schultz’s character, homicide detective Piet van der Bijl.

“The stories and characters in Die Byl are entirely fictional, but thanks to Piet’s input, the end result is frighteningly authentic,” said executive producer Herman Binge. “We had to place our story in an Afrikaans language environment and invent our own murderers and victims. So although he inspired our scriptwriters, we could not use Piet Byleveld’s real-life cases.” But they did borrow his name and nickname as a thank-you.

Piet Byl: we salute you, and we thank you.

Get Showmax now »

Original African stories by local talent

Original Sin: My Son The Killer on Showmax

Original Sin: My Son The Killer

Original Sin: My Son The Killer follows the murder of Andrea Venter by Gerhard Jansen van Vuuren, who then went on the run from South Africa to Brazil.

/images/za.svgMade in South Africa
Tracking Thabo Bester on Showmax

Tracking Thabo Bester

From the makers of Devilsdorp and the director of Convict Conman comes the true-crime documentary South Africa has been waiting for. Two episodes now streaming, and the remaining two episodes land on 22 March 2024 on Showmax.

/images/za.svgMade in South Africa
The Illuminated S1 on Showmax

The Illuminated

The Showmax Original docuseries The Illuminated explores different religious movements in South Africa. Stream now, with new episodes every Wednesday.

/images/za.svgMade in South Africa
Koek S1 on Showmax

Koek S1

The crime comedy Koek, starring Cindy Swanepoel, now streaming on Showmax, with new episodes every Thursday.

/images/za.svgMade in South Africa
Ekhaya Backpackers is on Showmax

Ekhaya Backpackers S1

Stream the Showmax Original comedy series Ekhaya Backpackers, with new episodes every Thursday.

/images/za.svgMade in South Africa
Cheta M on Showmax

Cheta M

Cheta M explores the love story between Adanna and Nnanna, young lovers who battle the spiritual and political forces in their way. Stream now, with new episodes Wednesday to Friday.

/images/ng.svgMade in Nigeria
Youngins on Showmax

Youngins S1

Stream Tshedza Pictures’s first teen drama, Showmax Original Youngins, with three new episodes every week. 

/images/za.svgMade in South Africa
Sadau Sisters is on Showmax

Sadau Sisters S1

Rahma, Zainab, Aisha, and Fatima Sadau pull back the curtain on their family, fame, and lifestyle. Stream now on Showmax.

/images/ng.svgMade in Nigeria
The Winning Ticket, a Showmax Original
Youngins S1 episodes 1-20 recap