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Brenda's coke laced with rat poison: report

May 24, 2004

President Thabo Mbeki comforts Bongani, Brenda's son of during her funeral service
Photo - AFP
JOHANNESBURG — An inquest has been launched into the death of singer Brenda Fassie after evidence that the crack cocaine she used was laced with rat poison, the Sunday Times reported.

Preliminary post mortem results show the singer died of a drug overdose, but the newspaper said Peter Snyman, Fassie's manager, had evidence of the drugs having been tampered with.

In a statement on Sunday, however, Snyman denied saying Fassie had taken drugs the night before she was taken to hospital, or that the drugs were tampered with.

"What we did discuss (with Sunday Times reporters) was that drug dealers sometimes used the types of techniques described in the (newspaper) piece," said Snyman.

Drug dealers are known to add harmful substances to their merchandise to increase their bulk, and the dealers' profit.

Snyman and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a friend of Fassie, reportedly wanted police to question a young woman – not her lover, Gloria Chaka – who visited Fassie at her home in Sandton on April 25. The next morning Fassie had an asthma attack and was rushed to the Sunninghill Clinic in Johannesburg.

Fassie lapsed into a coma from which she never recovered, and died on May 9 after her life support machines were turned off.

Snyman denied discussing with Madikizela-Mandela the matter of the police questioning anybody. "What I did say was we would like to speak to the person who was with her the night before she died, to shed some light on what happened".

A drug dealer visited Fassie – who was in drug rehabilitation clinics 30 times – while she was in hospital, the newspaper said.

Professor Hendrik Scholtz, the pathologist who conducted the post mortem on Fassie, said his final results would be forwarded to the inquest magistrate within two weeks, the Sunday Times reported.

Snyman said he had not seen any post mortem report. "To the best of my knowledge, no-one, not even the family, has seen the report."

A funeral service for Fassie was held at the Langa Stadium, Cape Town on Saturday. President Thabo Mbeki addressed the mourners, saying South Africans had a responsibility to help those with drug addiction. Nine people were injured when the crowd surged into the VIP area where Fassie's body lay in a gold-coloured coffin. – Sapa

Related links stories
Brenda Fassie: South African 'Township Madonna' [10/05/2004]




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