A man identified at this stage only as Silvanus could hold the key to finally resolving what exactly happened to murdered student Leigh Matthews.
This is the latest breakthrough in the investigations, which have stalled since killer Donovan Moodley was the lone culprit jailed for life by Judge Joop Labuschagne, who ruled that accomplices were still walking free.
The name Silvanus was brought to eBlockwatch – a crime awareness and community crime network – by an anonymous source who appears to have information on the Matthews murder and wants to clear his conscience.
“We don’t know who he is, but we are convinced he is genuine and he has promised to give us more,” said eBlockwatch creator and owner Andre Snyman.
“For all we know, it could be (Silvanus) himself who is speaking.”
Snyman’s online group of 80 000 members has been involved with the Leigh Matthews case since her disappearance first made headlines, just days after she had turned 21.
And the group remains committed to helping the Matthews – parents Rob and Sharon and daughter Karen – see justice and get complete closure by knowing the whole truth of what happened.
“We have built up a load of information, and I am certain that this new bit of information is accurate. It fits with everything we know. This could finally be the last bit of the puzzle,” Snyman said, excited by the prospect of finally solving the mystery that has captivated South Africans for years.
The news has been welcomed by Rob Matthews, who has been kept up to date with the tireless investigation, echoing Snyman’s sentiment, “it fits with what we know”.
Asked to explain further, Matthews said: “I suppose it’s okay to say, because the information is already in the public domain, but we believe it’s linked to the guy on the bridge.”
Matthews was referring to information published by retired Brigadier Piet Byleveld in his book, Byleveld: Dossier of a Super Sleuth, in which he dedicates a chapter to the Matthews murder.
In speaking about the unsolved aspects of the case he has been credited with solving, Byleveld described how he had been able to place Moodley’s friend, Koogan Reddy, on a bridge over the ransom drop-off point.
“From the cellphone records I could place Reddy on or near the flyover at the time the ransom money was dropped off. What was he doing there at that exact moment?” Byleveld wrote.
Matthews believes the positioning of the drop-off in close proximity to the bridge was a key factor in a crime orchestrated by a group of people. On the night he paid the ransom, Matthews, in his distressed state, drove past the spot he had been instructed to stop at, triggering the wrath of Moodley.
“He called me and swore at me and told me to go back to the bridge,” Matthews said, explaining that any efforts to chase a person on the bridge from the drop-off point would requirea detour of several kilometres first.
Moodley recently petitioned the court for a retrial, claiming he was now able to reveal the truth. He claimed he had been forced to take part in the kidnapping by men he didn’t know. But the court found that again he was lying, and dismissed the application.
“I think there was a thread of truth in Moodley’s latest story,” Matthews said. “Not the junk about drug dealers, but that he had accomplices. And that is how he managed to stick to a version that made sense and fitted parts of the evidence.”
Efforts to contact Byleveld for comment were unsuccessful.