General Lothar Paul Neethling was born in East Prussia. In 1948, the Afrikaners who were supporters of Nazi Germany during World War II came up with a plan to adopt 10 000 German orphans. The German Children’s Fund (GCF) could only manage to fund 83 orphans to be transported to Cape Town. Among the orphans was Neethling, who at the time went by his biological parents’ name Tientz. He was adopted by GCF chairman, Dr J C Neethling.

Neethling adopted the Afrikaner culture as his own. He later became a member of the Afrikaans Academy of Arts and Science, having proved he was  a brilliant scientist. He gained two doctorates in chemistry, one of which was from the University of California. His scientific work earned him awards including a golden award from AAAS and a medal from the Taiwanese government. In 1971, Neethling founded The South African Police’s forensic unit. His work in the unit earned him seven SAP awards and three years later he was appointed Chief Deputy Commissioner.

In the 1980’s Neethling found himself embroiled in one controversy after another. He was accused of having interfered in the investigation into the plane crash that killed Mozambican President Samora Machel. In 1989, his reputation was tarnished when he was accused of having developed a poison that he would administer to anti-apartheid activists. Neethling denied the allegations and sued the two Newspapers that published the story for defamation. He first lost the case but later won on appeal. 


SAPA (1997) POLICE GENERAL SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH MURDER, SAYS MAX DU PREEZ from Justice [online] Available at: [Accessed on 16 October 2013]|

Gould C. & Folb P. Project Coast: Apartheid's Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme UNIDIR pp 47 ”“ 56 

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