Cape Town – The motive for the murder of Valentino van de Heyde, a lecturer in the mathematics and physics department at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), is still cloaked in mystery.
Van de Heyde, known as Tino, was allegedly hijacked at a petrol station and later killed in Mitchells Plain on Sunday, September 1.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed on Tuesday afternoon t hat Mitchells Plain police are investigating a case of murder. The incident took place at about 7pm.
"According to information, police responded to a shooting incident in Imperial Street, Eastridge. Upon their arrival on the scene, they noticed a bronze Chevrolet Spark parked on the pavement with a body of a 35-year-old man in it.
"The victim had a bullet wound to his face. The motive for the murder is unknown at this stage and arrests are yet to be made.
"Anyone with more information can contact the investigating officer, Sergeant Billy Burrows, on 082 777 8076 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111."
Gasant Abarder, manager: media, marketing and communications at UWC, said: "As a university community, we are pained by his death. It is a very sad loss for the department of physics and astronomy, the faculty and UWC.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, son, daughter, mother and brother at this very difficult time.
" The university community will remember Tino as a kind and gentle spirit always willing to assist and guide both lecturers and students.
"Tino will be fondly remembered by his colleagues in the department of physics and astronomy and the Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies.
"He was passionate about the department of physics and astronomy and their use of emerging technologies for student development.
"Tino created an online physics animation and simulation lab as well as an open source library for the different categories of physics modules within his online environments.
"This was to enable students to reinforce lessons discussed in class and to prepare for assessments. In addition to being the eLearning specialist in the department, Tino was also the technical backbone of the extended curriculum programme.
"Tino was a role model. He was highly regarded by his peers in the eLearning arena, where he published five manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and a recent book chapter titled, 'Towards the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa: The African Space-Education Ecosystem for Sustainability and the Role of Educational Technologies', in the book 'Embedding Space in African Society: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Supported by Space Applications'."
Van de Heyde obtained a BSc, BSc Honours (Physical Science) and MSc in Space Physics from UWC and was enrolled for a PhD degree in experimental condensed matter physics.
His career at UWC started in August 2011 as a technical officer in the department of physics and astronomy.
He joined the Centre for Innovative Education and Communication Technologies in June 2014 as an instructional designer. Due to his love and passion for physics, he returned to the department of physics and astronomy in April 2017.
Below is Van de Heyde's last post on Facebook on September 1.