NEWS1 June 2009

South African police probe murder of Klaas Jonkheid

Legal Middle East and Africa

SOUTH AFRICA— Police are investigating the suspected robbery and murder of Klaas Jonkheid, a noted market researcher and owner of The Consumer Psychology Lab.

The body of a man matching his description was discovered in the grounds of a church in the Western Cape town of Stellenbosch on Saturday.

A post-mortem revealed the man had died of a gunshot wound to the head. His body was found partially burnt, police said. Formal identification is expected to take place this week.

Jonkheid was based in Johannesburg but had travelled to Stellenbosch to attend the annual conference of the South African Marketing Research Association (Samra), where he was a member of the paper judging panel.

He was reported missing by his wife Liezel on Saturday after failing to arrive for his 8am flight back home.

Police suspect he was the victim of a car-jacking as the blue Toyota Yaris he had rented during his stay is still missing.

Samra chair Niel Victor issued a statement on behalf of the association’s national council paying tribute to a man he called “one of our top global strategists and qualitative researchers”.

“Dr Klaas Jonkheid has been a mentor to many and his contribution to the industry was well recognised locally and on the global stage. Many of us will miss his words of encouragement, guidance and motivation,” said Victor.

“We offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his loved ones and close colleagues left behind to deal with this senseless act of brutality. Our thoughts and prayers are with you that now have to face a very difficult and traumatic time ahead.”

Jonkheid set up The Consumer Psychology Lab in 2005 after stints in brand management at Cadbury Schweppes and as head of research and strategy at advertising agency FCB South Africa.