Man confesses to killing South Africa's former first lady

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The Independent Online

A security guard at the complex where former first lady Marike de Klerk was found dead has confessed to her killing, authorities said on Friday.

The 21­year­old guard, whom police declined to identify, told a Cape Town judge late Thursday night of his role in the killing, Lennit Max, police commissioner of the Western Cape province, was quoted as telling the South Africa Press Association.

The man was to appear in court Monday, he said.

Marike de Klerk's body was discovered by her hairdresser at her Cape Town home Tuesday afternoon, about 30 hours after coroners estimated she had died.

An autopsy revealed de Klerk, 64, had been strangled to death and also stabbed. Nothing was missing from her house.

Police detained the security guard for questioning late on Thursday night. Among the clues that led police to the guard was a call made from de Klerk's cell phone, Max said.

De Klerk was the former wife of F.W. de Klerk, South Africa's last president under apartheid. F.W. de Klerk gave up power to Nelson Mandela after South Africa's first all­race elections in 1994.

The de Klerks divorced in 1998 after 39 years of marriage. F.W. de Klerk married Elita Giorgiades, the former wife of Greek shipping magnate Tony Giorgiades, six days later.

South Africa's has one of the world's highest murder rates. More than 9,800 homicides were committed in the first half of this year, according to police statistics.