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Tue
23
Mar '10

Day 194-196: Saturday to Monday, 20-22 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

So with Monday being a public holiday this was a long weekend. Eventually the Sharks awarded their loyal rugby supporters with a win over the Highlanders in House of Pain and so we (as in the Sharks supporters) have a glimmer of hope that our team have their spark back and can do something to get them up into the top four at least, where of course ‘we’ know they should be.

The other news is that on Sunday morning, Buddy’s front left tyre was flat again, and after returning to Wynands workshop and once again checking it, he discovered that the rim is rusted and so the air is leaking from there. Unfortunately there is nothing he could do at the time but will have the rim cleaned while ‘Buddy and Me’ take a short break for a week or so. The spare wheel has a bad dent in the rim as well, this being due to the badly potholed roads we have been travelling through over the past couple of months, these being mainly in the Eastern Cape region of the old Transkei, and so he will have this repaired at the same time. So when I return to Cape Town and head up the West Coast into Namibia and Botswana, Buddy’s legs (wheels) will be all sorted out and ready to tackle the next leg of the project.

And so now onto factor 5 which involves our court/justice system.

Factor 5 & 5(a)
In factor 4, I mentioned the fact that I always pose the question “Why are we experiencing such a pathetically low conviction rate when it comes to the cases of child rape which are fortunate enough to get to court”, and the police officials I pose this question to invariably respond with, “It’s because the public prosecutors employed by the State are not as experienced or qualified as the defence council they appoint and pay for to defend the rapists”.

The senior prosecutors I have posed this question to always confirm that, although this statement is correct in that the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) does experience a high turn over of staff due to the extreme pressures prosecutors are forced to work under resulting in them accepting the lucrative offers made by the private sector which in turn results in prosecutors in a case being changed halfway through the case, which obviously has a detrimental affect on the outcome of the case, this is not necessarily the main reason for the low conviction rate.

According to all the prosecutors and magistrates I have had the pleasure of meeting and obtaining their opinions and comments from, they believe that the low conviction rate in at least 80% of cases can be attributed to the fact that the information obtained at the initial reporting of the child rape case is so bad that the far majority of the cases presented to our courts should never have made it to court in the first place. I have been shown literally hundreds of police dockets and when trying to decipher the statement taken by the police official at the time of the reporting of the rape, have shook my head in wonder at the fact that it was presented to the court for trial in the first place.

One statement that was made to me by a senior prosecutor was that “If the police official taking the initial statement new what he or she was doing and did it properly and obtained the necessary crucial evidence in the form of the child’s panties etc and ensured that the DNA in the form of swabs containing semen samples etc was obtained and registered properly, a first year law student could obtain a conviction in a child rape irrespective of the experience and qualifications of the defence council.

The other contributing factor to our low conviction rate, which I have called ‘factor (a)’, of course is the fact that the DNA results from our forensic laboratory, according to the police and court officials, takes on average anything from 10 months to three years to obtain and in some instances I have been told that after 4 years some cases are still awaiting results.

I was told by a senior police official that two hundred and fifty million Rand was spent on the acquisition of a fancy DNA testing machine a couple of years ago and which was supposed to drastically speed up the DNA and forensic testing abilities of the department of forensics, but unfortunately it appears that this has not transpired and the situation is getting worse by the day.

The result of this problem is that after a few appearances in court for remand purposes for the purpose of obtaining evidence in the form of DNA results, the courts grow tired of the delays and due to the ever increasing number of cases appearing on the court role, the case is struck from the court role. This then results in the accused being released from his bail conditions and disappears which in turn results in the fact that when, eventually, the DNA results are obtained the accused/suspect is nowhere to be found and the police invariably lose interest in the case. And so we have a pathetically low conviction rate.

The other reason for the rediculously low conviction rate of course is the fact that suspects are granted pathetically low bail and on being released immediately intimidate the witness (victim) and her/his family who because of the intimidation usually accept financial reward rather than have their house burned down or child murdered. Following the acceptance of the financial ‘settlement agreement’ the mother invariably disappears with her daughter (The rape victim) and lives with a family relative in another part of the country, which in turn results in the case being thrown out of court when or if it eventually gets to trial.

The next contributing factor to the pathetically low conviction rate which currently, from what I have been told, averages between 4 and 6 percent, is the fact that our courts are not ‘Child friendly’. Undoubtedly the Mpumalanga region has the best ‘Child friendly’ courts I have seen in the country, and this is due to the fantastic efforts of ‘GRIP’ (The Greater Rape Intervention Project) based in this region.

I have been contacted by court officials all over South Africa who have invited me to their courts to see their “Child friendly’ courts, and on visiting them have been amazed at the fact that they can even be called or referred to as “Child friendly” facilities. Invariably the table placed in the centre of the room is a large wooden one with the usual green, sometimes padded government stock chair but mostly a, usually yellow but sometimes green, melamine kitchen type chair, very official looking?

Then, because it is after all a court facility, there are the heavily barred windows, which in many instances are the small type which are positioned high up in the wall which gives the impression one is in a prison cell rather than a “Child friendly” court room facility. And of course there is the big black box which contains the micro phone and speaker facility connecting it to the court room. In the far majority of cases, the court officials believe that the mere fact that the child is not required to actually attend the hearing in the same room as the accused; this is therefore a “Child friendly” facility.

I have also been told by many senior prosecutors that they have witnessed cases being thrown out of court for reasons that the child witness “Speaks child language” and does not provide the evidence in the form “required by law”, as in reciting the rape act. I have however been told by many court officials that the magistrates in the Witbank, Sasolburg and Carletonville areas are particularly good in this respect and will not tolerate defence councils trying to have cases thrown out merely because the child is speaking “Child language”, so to those magistrates ‘Buddy and Me’ gives you a high five.

And so ends factor 5 of what ’Buddy and Me’ believes are the contributing factors needed to be seriously looked at and changed post haste if our government is serious about stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa. We hope and prey that someone, somewhere in our government takes head of these recommendations and does something about the situation.

So until tomorrow when I will be posting my last blog, which will contain factor 6 of my recommended solution, and when ‘Buddy and Me’ return from our short break before heading up to Namibia and Botswana, we will say good night and above all, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Please send your comments and opinions on my ‘factors’ of what needs to be done to stop the raping and sexual abuse of children to:
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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Tue
23
Mar '10

Day 193: Friday, 19 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

For the past few years I have been boasting of the fact that since leaving Cape Town in November 2005 on our crusade ‘Searching for a Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children’ in South Africa which has involved ‘Buddy and Me’ driving almost 80 000 kilometres through Africa, we have never experienced a puncture. This to me, and many individuals who can appreciate this fete, is absolutely amazing and I might add, almost unbelievable, but it is true.

So this morning when I was woken by my host, Captain Faan Fourie who broke the news that Buddy’s left front wheel was flat, I was in a mild state of shock. I mean after travelling through all that nasty terrain of African countries north of us and never getting a puncture how could Buddy get one here in Cape Town while travelling on these tremendous roads which the government has spent billions of Rands on to impress the foreign guests expected in South Africa for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

<i>Me, as in the ‘Me’ part of <b>‘Buddy and Me’</b> changing Buddy’s tyre for the first time ever on this project</i>

Me, as in the ‘Me’ part of ‘Buddy and Me’ changing Buddy’s tyre for the first time ever on this project

The next bit of news was even more confusing. After checking the tire over in his workshop at Melkbos Motor Spares and Tyres, Wynand Fourie confirmed that no puncture or leaking valve could be detected. The tyre was pumped up and appeared to retain its pressure throughout the day today, so my incredible run of luck without a puncture still stands.

Fortunately ‘Buddy and Me’ only had one Beares store to visit today and that was the Bellville store which is situated the closest to where I am staying in Bellville, so there was no getting lost today. I had a really great time chatting with the magic people of Beares in Bellville and eventually got out of the store a little after 1pm.

<i><b>Beares</b> Bellville staff, a really great bunch of people</i>

Beares Bellville staff, a really great bunch of people

<i>The store manager, Marti De Waal with salesman Wanda Hele and a generous guy named Zahied who spent the morning handing out the <b>‘Buddy and Me’</b> project flyers all over town</i>

The store manager, Marti De Waal with salesman Wanda Hele and a generous guy named Zahied who spent the morning handing out the ‘Buddy and Me’ project flyers all over town

I can’t remember if I mentioned in previous blog’s, but at the time of commencing the first, ‘African Odyssey’ project ‘Searching for a Solution to the Stopping of the Rape of Children’, I started a book entitled ‘Beares Managers Comments Book’ in which all the store mangers of the Beares stores I visit write their comments in, and this book has become an amazing book to read. The comments made by the managers and in many instances the general staff of the stores is awe-inspiring for me, and after having had a ‘bad day’ of which I might add are very few and far between, after reading the comments in this book has put me back on top of the world.

The store manager of the Bellville Beares store, Marti De Waal, wrote something in my book and placed a card with some very powerful words in it which I would like to share with every one; it starts with a small saying which has been stuck up on the space above Buddy’s windscreen for sometime now which reads:

‘What’s planted in the heart, takes root in the soul’ and goes on to say “We deeply appreciate your caring for the victims of this unmanly crime ‘rape’. Good luck with everything you are doing. We wish you success on your journey. God bless!! Signed: Marti and the rest of the staff of the Beares Bellville store”.

The second one are the words quoted in a card she placed in the book entitled:

Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism,
He learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.

If a child lives ridicule,
He learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise,
He learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.

If a child lives with security,
He learns faith.

If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to love the world.

Very profound and true words of wisdom, so thanks for that Marti and the staff of Beares in Bellville, I hope there are many parents out there that will take head.

So now it’s on with factor 4 of what I believe needs to be done to stop the raping and sexual abuse of children (As in children in the age group of birth to 12 years of age)

Factor 4
This factor involves the South African Police Service (SAPS). During my interviews with the hundreds of police officers and members of the ‘service’ I have chattered to, I always ask the question, “Why is South Africa experiencing the ridiculously low conviction rate of between 4 and 6 percent that we do”. Invariably their response is, “Because 1) The prosecutors employed by the State to prosecute in most cases are not as qualified or experienced as the defence counsel is which in most cases is appointed and paid for by the State”.

I have asked many senior prosecutors around the country as well as magistrates in our Regional Courts where all child rape cases are heard the same question and their response – which I will include in factor 5 of my proposal to stop child rape, our court structure and procedures – is somewhat different and I believe closer to the truth, and this is the fact that the experience and ability of the police official taking the initial statement from a child in a rape case as well as the police officials ability to obtain the necessary evidence in the initial stages of the reporting of a child rape, leaves much to be desired.

Probably the biggest problem related to the fact that South Africa is experiencing a ridiculously low conviction rate of between 4 and 6 percent can largely be attributed to the bad decision to close the ‘Child Protection Unit’ (CPU) and to form the ‘FCS’ unit. Unfortunately, according to the information provided by police officers all over South Africa, the ‘FCS’ unit was subsequently disbanded in March 2009, since when total confusion has reigned as to whether the unit is officially operating or not.

In some areas I have travelled through, I have been told by senior officers that the ‘FCS’ unit is fully operational and is functioning on the “Cluster system’. In other areas when I have asked to interview the officer commanding the ‘FCS’ unit, I have received a strange look and been told “The FCS unit has been disbanded”. I have also been told that the Provincial Commissioner for the Western Cape region, Commissioner Petros I think his name is, has “Defied the National Commissioners decision to disband the FCS unit and it is fully functional and operating in the Western Cape region.

The problem however, or so I am told, is that when budgets are needed to train staff for this unit, station commissioners who are making use of the FCS units are told that “No budget can be provided because officially the FCS unit does not exist”. I’m sure you can appreciate the confusion this state of affairs is creating, and when I have told senior officers that I am completely confused about the current situation regarding whether or not the FCS unit exists or not, I am told “Well Steve if you are confused, you must know how confused we are”.

I can fully appreciate the reasons behind the ‘powers that be’ in the police service to disband the ‘CPU’ and form the ‘FCS’ this being because the ‘CPU’ was exactly what the letters/words say “Child Protection Unit’ and did not incorporate the aspects of domestic violence, as in the rape of an adult woman or the beating/assault of a woman by her husband/spouse etc.

However what ‘the powers that be’ in the police service failed to identify is the fact that the investigation techniques needed to take a statement or to investigate the rape or assault of an adult woman is far different to the experience and qualifications needed to investigate or initialise a docket/statement taking from a child in the case of a small child having been raped.

For this reason I believe that it is essential that the ‘FCS’ unit is officially re-instated because we need the services of an ‘FCS’ unit, as in a unit which specialises and incorporates the investigation of domestic violence and sexual offences of adults and teenagers, however the ‘FCS’ unit must incorporate the services of a sub-unit namely a ‘Child Protection Unit’ which specialises in the initial statement taking and evidence gathering of a child rape case, (As in a child under the age of 12 years of age) after which it is investigated by a qualified member of the ‘FCS’ investigation team.

Furthermore I believe that it is essential, if our esteemed government is serious about stopping the rape and sexual abuse of our children, that the members of this ‘specialised CPU’ is based at all Thuthuzela Care Centres and are available 24/7. These members of the police service must be trained in the art of child psychology, statement taking, which the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) should be involved in with regard to the training of, as well as being involved in the training of these members of the SAPS with regard to evidence gathering at the initial stages of the reporting of the rape of children.

And so ends factor 4 of 6 of what I believe needs to be done to stop the raping of children in our society. I look forward to receiving comments and opinions on my proposal of what needs to be done to stop the raping of children in South Africa, so please email me with your comments.

So until tomorrow, keep your feet on the ground, but reach high for the stars, and above all, yep that’s it, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
’Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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Mon
22
Mar '10

Day 192: Thursday, 18 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

So today ‘Buddy and Me’, after getting ourselves totally lost having taken the N1 instead of the N2 to Charlesville, finally arrived at the Beares Charlesville store 45 minutes late, after I must add, being rescued by Jassiem Scholtz, one of the Beares Charlesville staff who instructed me to “Stay right where you arte, don’t move from where you are”, came out to collect us and escort us to the store. But in-spite of this small hick-up I had a magic morning chatting to the staff and getting their in-put as to what needs to be done to stop the raping of children in our beautiful country.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Charlesville</i>

Beares staff Charlesville

Then it was on to the Beares store in Claremont and I thought that perhaps this time I would find the place with no problem because Jassiem was going to escort ‘Buddy and Me’ to the store, but low and behold, no sooner had Jassiem stopped and pointed out the road for us to take, which according to him was, “Turn left at the next traffic lights and the Beares store is 1 to 2 kilometres up on the right” and in-spit of following his instructions to the letter, drove 5 kilometres with no Beares store in sight. After stopping four times to ask for directions from members of the local community, who every time pointed me in a different direction, ‘Buddy and Me’ eventually arrived at the store and the welcome I got from the staff was well worth the unscheduled tour of the area.

<i>I must tell you, I have awarded this group of <b>Beares</b> staff the award for being the craziest bunch of individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting on this project so far</i>

I must tell you, I have awarded this group of Beares staff the award for being the craziest bunch of individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting on this project so far

From Claremont ‘Buddy and Me’ headed out for yet another tour of the Cape Town area and low and behold, mainly because all I had to do was keep travelling down the same street as that in which the Claremont store is in, I found the Wynberg Beares store.

<i>The shining stars of <b>Beares</b> Wynberg</i>

The shining stars of Beares Wynberg

I was intending to include factor 4 of my proposal for a solution to ‘Stopping the rape of children’ into this blog, but I received an email from Bev Wishart, the Marketing Assistant to the Marketing Executive of Beares which due to the short period of time leading up to the 2010 World Cup Soccer fiasco, I believe needs to be brought to the publics attention. I have raised this point on a number of occasions and cannot stress how urgent this situation is.

Our esteemed government has spent millions of Rands on campaigns warning parents of the expected massive increase which is expected in the human trafficking of, in particular, children during the 6 weeks of the 2010 World Cup Soccer fiasco, but low and behold, they close the schools over this 6 weeks period putting 2 million children on our streets un-supervised. There is no way that parents can get 6 weeks leave during this particularly busy period and so it will be like putting a child in a candy store as far as paedophiles and child sex offenders are concerned, not to mention the savages involved in the business of human trafficking of children.

If our government had gone to the corporate industry and requested assistance in regard to providing schools, and in particular the primary and secondary schools, with television sets so that the kids could watch the soccer matches and rather extend the school hours and in so doing keep the kids off the streets and a bit safer, I could understand it, but to close the schools and put all these kids on the streets I’m sorry guys but you boobooed once again.

So having said this, here is the email I received from Bev Wishart, which she received from Caz Olfsen the Appeals Court Clerk in the Eshowe Magistrates Court on the Kwa-Zulu Natal North Coast. I think all parents need to take heed of this warning.

Eshowe Incident – URGENT MESSAGE FOR PARENTS

On Monday (8 March 2010) at the Holy Childhood Convent School here in Eshowe, two guys in a taxi drove in and said that they were there to collect a girl, they “didn’t know her name”, didn’t “know how old she was” but were there to collect her. The Sister went to the last little girl who was there and asked whether she knew the gentlemen, which she didn’t … they then said they had been sent by a lady by the name of “Dawn” and the little girl said that she didn’t know who that was. The Sister told the men that she was not going to let the little girl go with them and they must leave the premises … They got into the taxi laughing and joking and sped off. It wasn’t 5 minutes later that the little girl’s mother came into the Convent to fetch her daughter and she confirmed that she hadn’t sent anyone to fetch her daughter.

Then yesterday, 11 March 2010, children at the Convent alerted teachers that there were two African men on the premises taking photo’s with their cell phones of all the girls there.

Nigerian cartel’s are being paid R20 000.00 per child that they abduct.

Seeing that the World Cup is literally just around the corner, please be alert … NEVER LET YOUR CHILDREN OUT OF YOUR SIGHT.

Yesterday also, at the Boardwalk Shopping Centre in Richards Bay, a lady was paying an account and let go of her son’s hand for a few seconds only to see a black woman grab him and take him out to the exit of the shopping centre … Luckily for her son, the mother ran after them and managed to get her son back … He’s one of the lucky ones and I have a feeling that there are going to be many precious children in danger over the coming months.

It’s happening in Eshowe, our small rural town … Can you imagine what the bigger cities are going to be like … Please friends, forward this email to as many parents as possible to get the word out.

We all need to be extra vigilant with our children … If you go shopping, put your child in your shopping cart or maybe don’t even take them with you … Keep them at home and make sure that their carer doesn’t open the door or gates for ANYBODY, even if they know them. I’d even go as far as to say that should your teenage daughters and son’s want to go to the Malls to watch movies … GO WITH THEM NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY ARGUE ABOUT IT … You could be saving their lives by being over protective.

We need to pray over our families and friends for protection from evil … Lets not leave it for another day … Pray that the Lord keeps His hand over all our children. Parents, this is a call to BE over protective for once … Our children are precious. Please, I’m literally begging you … Let’s stand together and let the power of prayer prevail leading up to and during, the World Cup.

FOR OUR CHILDREN.

If you think I’m joking and this is just "another" email … Phone me … I do not want to see my friends coming here for cases involving the abduction and abuse of their children.

Caz Olfsen
Appeals Clerk
Eshowe Magistrate Court
Tel: 035 474 1127
Email: chainess@justice.gov.za

So tomorrow ‘Buddy and Me’ will be visiting my last Beares store in the Cape Town region, namely Bellville, and after a short break will return to Cape Town to complete my task of getting my proposal on what I believe – through all my travels and research – needs to be done to stop the rape of children in South Africa to parliament as well as to the leaders of all opposition political parties and diplomatic heads of all countries represented in South Africa. After that we will continue up the West Coat into Namibia and on through to Botswana.

So until tomorrow when I present factor 4 in what I believe needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa, I will bid you good night, and of course, ya you guessed, that’s good, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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Thu
18
Mar '10

Day 191: Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

So today was a rather busy day with visits to two Beares stores and two Lubners stores. Fortunately they were all reasonably close together in the Mitchell’s Plain area. The first one was Beares in the Promenade Mall, the second was Beares in the West Gate Shopping Mall, the third was Lubners in the West Gate Shopping Mall and the final one which finished at almost 4 o’clock was the Lubners store in the Town centre. I had a great time chatting to all the staff of these friendly stores and learnt that the situation of child rape being perpetrated by children has increased dramatically over the past four years. We also discussed the issue surrounding the fact that a parent has not got the right to discipline a child and the impact of this on the crimes being perpetrated by children, and the fact that it is rumoured that government intends implementing legislation to hold a parent responsible for a child’s criminal activities.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Promenade Mall</i>

Beares staff Promenade Mall

<i>When I walked into the <b>Beares</b> store in West gate I could not believe my eyes, check this out and see if you can determine what put me in a state of absolute shock!</i>

When I walked into the Beares store in West gate I could not believe my eyes, check this out and see if you can determine what put me in a state of absolute shock!

<i>And then I got a photo of the complete group of the <b>Beares</b> staff at the West Gate store, note that there are at least three roses between the thorns</i>

And then I got a photo of the complete group of the Beares staff at the West Gate store, note that there are at least three roses between the thorns

<i><b>Beares</b> West Gate salesman Shaheed Hartley, had a photo taken of the two of us and had it pinned up on his desk before I even left the store</i>

Beares West Gate salesman Shaheed Hartley, had a photo taken of the two of us and had it pinned up on his desk before I even left the store

<i><b>Lubners</b> staff West Gate Mall</i>

Lubners staff West Gate Mall

<i>And last but certainly not least, once again back to the ladies, the staff of <b>Lubners</b> Town centre Mitchell’s Plain</i>

And last but certainly not least, once again back to the ladies, the staff of Lubners Town centre Mitchell’s Plain

On my drive to Mitchell’s Plain, I saw two road side bill boards which I need to share with you.

<i>This one is on the N7 road – Malmesbury to Cape Town Road – and is a short way out of Melkbos you can click on the picture to enlarge it</i>

This one is on the N7 road – Malmesbury to Cape Town Road – and is a short way out of Melkbos you can click on the picture to enlarge it

<i>I wonder if our esteemed President, Mr. Zuma has seen this campaign fighting the aids epidemic which has cost the government, his government, millions of Rands</i>

I wonder if our esteemed President, Mr. Zuma has seen this campaign fighting the aids epidemic which has cost the government, his government, millions of Rands

So having visited and spent some quality time with the friendly staff of Beares and Lubners in Mitchell’s Plain, it’s time to provide you with details of the next factor which I believe needs to be implemented to stop the raping of children in South Africa.

Factors 2 and 3: The reason I chose Buddy, my trusted mechanical stead and companion Beach Buggy as a means of transport for this project, was because he attracts an immense amount of public attention and attraction and I wanted to put child rape in everyone’s face. I have spent an enormous amount of time during the project in townships, villagers and rural areas, this being where the majority of child rape cases are occurring.

On the initial ‘African Odyssey – Searching For a Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children’ project, I obtained the names of many South Africans to a research document in which they gave their opinion on what should be done to stop the raping of children in South Africa and the far majority, the majority of which were in the townships and rural areas of South Africa, stated that the death penalty should be applied to child rapists.

Unfortunately my research has shown that the death penalty, although being a ‘factor’ – as in a deterrent punishment – in stopping the rape of children, would not stop it on it’s own. The reason I say this is because whenever I have visited villagers, townships and other rural areas, immediately on entering the area and stopping outside a ‘Spaza’ shop, Buddy being the attention puller he is, as mentioned in my opening paragraph, attracts the attention of many kids who when they start climbing all over him attracts the attention of the adults of the area and very soon I have the attention of a horde of the local community.

After explaining who I am and what my mission in life is, I always note that there is a woman in the group who has a small child in hand and ask the question, “What do you believe should happen to the man who rapes that small child”, and the response I receive in probably 99.9% of the time is “He must die” and this is accompanied by the action of pulling her thumb across her throat, and invariably the other woman, as well as a lot of the men, confirm their agreement with nods of the head and shouts of “Yes he must die”.

My next question always throws the proverbial ‘Cat amongst the pigeons’ and that is, “But what if it is your husband or the child’s uncle, as in your brother or your husbands brother who rapes the child”, and that is when the whole thing changes. The response to this question usually brings the response of “Eish”, followed by the head turning in all directions with stares up at the sky.

When I ask “Why the change in heart”, I am told “But if he is arrested and locked up or killed, who is going to feed and clothe my children and pay the rent for the house”, and this is precisely where the problem lies and why we are experiencing the pathetically low reporting rate of between 15 and 18 percent for child rape in South Africa.

My next statement usually attracts the response which explains it all, and that is, “If we had a department (And this is a totally hypothetical situation because in South Africa we currently do not have such a department, although the government likes to ‘think’ we have) that should you report the rape and sexual abuse of your child to the police and if he was arrested and punished severely, as in a very long time in jail or even the death penalty, and this department made sure that you have food to feed your children and clothes for them and your children can continue to attend school and your rent is paid, as well as a department which will find you a job so that you can quickly become self-sufficient and look after your own family, what then. This statement is always met with big smiles and the response of “Then he must die”.

Initially when I undertook these discussions, I was quite surprised and in fact shocked at the woman’s responses and asked, “But don’t you love your husband”, and the response in the far majority of times is “If he rapes and hurts my child, then he can’t love my child or me, so he can die”. Very harsh words, but this is the crux of the matter. The mothers are, due to financial reasons, stuck between a ‘Rock and a hard place’ when it comes to reporting the rape of their children by fathers and other family members, who are currently perpetrating up to 90% of the child rape cases in South Africa.

For this reason Factors 2 and 3 in my proposal for a solution to stopping the rape of children involves the Departments of Social Development and its associated department, Welfare, being funded to the extent that they can provide the support structure needed to encourage mothers to report the rape of their children.

Legislation was introduced in the form of the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32 of 2007’ which includes the section which states that, ‘Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been sexually abused or raped and does not report it to the authorities, is guilty of an offence’. My discussions with police and court officials all over South Africa has revealed that not a single person has been charged under this section since it’s inception two and a half years ago and the explanation given to me by these officials is “They cannot apply the law because of the impact it would have on the family, as in mothers and children if the father is arrested and detained”. Please someone, help me out here, I fully appreciate the impact of a mother being arrested and charged for failing to report the rape of her child by a father, but please explain why was all the money and time spent in drawing up the section in the first place if it is not going to be applied? Surly government should have established a support structure for the mothers before producing legislation if they intended forcing them to report the rape of their child?

The manner in which I envisage the Departments of Social Development and that of the Welfare Department operating in the combating of child rape is therefore as such:

  • Department of Welfare: On reporting the rape of a child, the mother should be provided with the necessary assistance with regard to food and clothing for her family – Definitely not in the form of a grant – Also the department of education must be involved to ensure that the child continues it’s schooling unhampered and that the rent is paid for to ensure that the families living standards are maintained.
  • Department of Social Development: In this regard I have spoken with many influential business men and woman all over South Africa and all have agreed with my proposal and confirmed that their companies would be only to happy to support such an initiative in order to support the fight against child rape.

I believe that the Department of Social development should operate on the following basis. They should have a unit specialising in an HR capacity. This unit should have the details of every business and company committed to the fight against the rape and sexual abuse of children in the area in which the department operates. Each of these businesses would provide the department with details of vacancies and immediately on requiring assistance to provide employment for a woman/mother who has reported the rape of her child can benefit from this information. In this manner it would reduce the financial burden placed on the Welfare department and ensure that the mother becomes self sufficient and can support her family herself as quick as possible.

Obviously, and this will be discussed in a later factor, the rapist father/uncle must therefore not be granted bail, or if he is and our courts insist on continuing with this ridiculous situation , the section of the Sexual Offences Act 32/2007 which states that, ‘In the instance of child rape or domestic violence, the perpetrator, if this being the father, must be removed from the place of residence and he must find alternative accommodation’ must be applied strictly to the letter of the law. Not as is still occurring, the mother and child be removed to a ‘Place of safety’ and have their lives turned upside down again.

So that’s the basics of my proposal on factors 2 and 3 which I believe needs to be applied if our government is serious about stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa.

So please contact me via my email address steve@buddyandme.co.za with any comments you have on the subject.

Now all that’s left for me to say is, stay well, and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Remember its steve@buddyandme.co.za

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Thu
18
Mar '10

Day 190: Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Today was yet another incredible day in my life. It started with a visit to the Beares store in Parow where I met the tremendous people working there, and after spending a few hours chatting to them I headed into the heart of Cape Town to the store in Long Street where I had another very long chat with the Beares staff and guests.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Parow</i>

Beares staff Parow

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Cape Town Long Street</i>

Beares staff Cape Town Long Street

As I said in my previous blog, as from today I will start providing details of the 6 factors which I have identified during my extensive travels around South Africa as being the factors which need to be seriously looked at if our government is serious about stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children, and please bare in mind that this project and proposal is based on the stopping of the rape and sexual abuse of children in the birth to 12 years of age group of children.

Factor 1 is the desperate need of a national facility which would provide the desperately needed support structure for child rape victims. During my travels around South Africa as well as the rest of Africa on my ‘African Odyssey – Searching for a Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children’ project, I had many hours to think while driving Buddy. During these thought process’s I formulated what I called a ‘One stop shop’ facility in my mind and was in fact pleasantly surprised when I was introduced to the Thuthuzela Care Centres which have been established at provincial hospitals in various areas around South Africa. The part that really amazed me is the fact that the facility is probably one of South Africa’s best kept secrets because even the people living in the communities where the Thuthuzela Care centres have been established, do not know of their existence.

The Thuthuzela Care Centre facility is, so I am told, the initiative of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) and is, I believe, a tremendous initiative and would be the perfect facility to provide child rape victims with the proper support structure they need if they provided the on premises services as described in their brochure.

The programme commenced, I am told, in 2000 which means that it has been around for the past 9/10 years and I have been told that 18 centres have been established during the past 9/10 years, however my visits to numerous centres indicates that not one of the facilities is fully operative on the basis as described in their brochure.

I believe that factor one in the combating and stopping of child rape requires the:

  • Formation of a Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) being established at every provincial hospital in South Africa.
  • Every TCC must have, on its premises, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

a) A qualified female police official, the details of the qualifications needed by this police official will be discussed in factor 4 in a few days
b) A doctor
c) A forensics nurse
d) An adequate number of social workers, as in for providing counselling to victims and in situations where needed, family members, on the premises

In addition to these services, it is essential that every centre has a fully equipped examination room, bath/shower facilities as well as available transport for victims to and from the centre.

At present doctors and nurses at all TCC’s, although being situated on hospital premises, takes hours to respond to calls from the centres and this is the same situation with the police. The current situation at all TCC’s is that, when a rape victim reports a rape to the centre, the centre notifies the local police, the response as in most cases around South Africa can take hours, and is in most cases in the form of a male police official, whoever is on duty, who wants to get the matter sorted out as quick as possible which results in a garbled statement being taken from a child who, by the way, was just raped and subjected to excruciating pain and humiliation by the same species as the policeman, as in the male species, and so she does not co-operate, hence the ridiculously low conviction rate of between 4 and 6 percent being experienced in South Africa. But as I said, more about this in factor 4 in a few days time.

Obviously the TCC’s must be available for victims of domestic violence as well but it is essential that specialised staff, particularly in the form of the police and social workers must be available for child rape victims in that they need the skills and training to be able to extract the delicate information from the victim (survivor) in order to ensure the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. I will be going into more detail on this aspect in factor 4.

During my travels I have identified the fact that there are literally hundreds of NGO’s/NPO’s scattered all over South Africa providing similar support services to child rape victims as well as victims of domestic violence and unfortunately it is my humble opinion that these organisations are falling over each other and in many cases are not functioning as they are supposed to but are rather competing for business and the services they provide are spread over far too broad a spectrum.

Finally, based on governments past history, it is also my opinion that the TCC’s must be independently managed and not run as a government department. The reason I say this is the fact that in spite of the TCC being a truly brilliant initiative, it has taken government 9/10 years to get the centres to the level they are currently at and this after having spent, what I have been told, an absolute fortune with not one of the centres operating as they should be.

So that is factor one of my proposal to our esteemed government as to what needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of the children of South Africa. Tomorrow I will provide details of factor two, so stay tuned to this website.

So with that ‘Buddy and Me’ will love and leave you until tomorrow when we visit the Mitchell’s Plein area of Cape Town. If the information I was provided on my last visit during 2005 is anything to go by I am expecting to hear some horrific information and storeys tomorrow, so until then good night, sleep tight and above all, keep the children of South Africa safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za
I welcome your comments on factor one of my proposal on what needs to be done to stop the rape of children, so please e-mail me with your comments, suggestions and opinions.

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Tue
16
Mar '10

Day 189: Monday, 15 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

What can I say but, man what a wonderful day I had today. Usually when people arrive home feeling absolutely exhausted they say “Phooo what a terrible day” but when I arrive ‘home’, home being where I lay my head at night, and feel absolutely exhausted I know I have had a productive day, and today was no exception.

It started with a hearty breakfast produced by my 8 star hostess Linda, and believe me, if a breakfast like that doesn’t get someone ‘op en waker’ then nothing will. Then I headed out for Paarl and had a magic day with the Beares staff where I had a great chat with everyone and got their in-put as to what should be done to stop the raping of children, and oh boy did they come up with some hum dinger ideas, it’s just a pity our government won’t listen to the various forms of the death penalty that could be applied for child rapists.

Beares staff Paarl

Then it was a matter of driving the 63 kilometres through what I can only describe as ‘Gods country’ through Stellenbosch to Somerset West. Here I met a group of ladies who are seriously involved in providing support for victims of child rape as well as a group who are seriously involved in providing support for adult rape victims. These groups are called ‘Patch’ and the ‘Helderburg Rape Crisis Center’ respectively.

I think the most important aspect of our discussion centred around the fact that the situation of child offenders in the Helderburg as well as the general Eastern and Western Cape region is totally out of control. Probably the most incredible bit of information I was given is the fact that our esteemed government is once again going to make yet another major blunder, as they did when they scrapped the rape act back in 1998 and excluded the rape of a male, be it an adult or a child, and created the “Sexual Abuse Act” which incorporated the rape of a male. This has subsequently, in November 2007 been changed and the ‘Sexual offences Act 32 of 2007 has once again included the rape of a male into the same ’Rape Act’ as that which defines the rape of a female.

But to get back to the latest bit of devastating news and the latest blunder being made by our esteemed government and legislators is the fact that, according to what I was told today, they are in the process of developing yet another catastrophic bit of legislation with which they “Will hold parents liable for the criminal activities perpetrated by their children”.

Now personally I believe this is a very good thing, as long as parents have the right to discipline their children and not be subjected to the ridiculous laws pertaining to the child abuse act as I have mentioned on numerous occasions in my blog’s. but on this point I was told that our esteemed government is yet again changing the ‘Child Abuse Act’ back to incorporate the fact that a parent will once again have the right to chastise their child in the form of disciplining him or her, woop dee doo they have come up with something new, the fact that this act was in place for many years prior to them changing it, and was accepted as an acceptable practise is beside the point. Why did they change it in the first place?

Before I get off this subject I just want to mention the fact that, our esteemed legislators and government promulgated a law in November 2007, the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32/2007’ a section of which states that “Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused, and who does not report the matter to the authorities is guilty of an offence”, and according to all the police officials I have interviewed as well as court officials I have interviewed to date cannot confirm that one single person has been charged under this section of the Act, and this is in-spite of the fact that south Africa is experiencing on average 580 child rape cases every day with only 15 to 18 percent of them being reported. So why do we not see hundreds of mothers being charged under this act?

I personally think it’s time our government stopped producing incredible pieces of legislation trying to impress the people and actually started implementing the laws they themselves have created. Maybe then we might actually get somewhere.

Well as I said, I had a terrific day today in Somerset West in particular and by the time I drove out of the town it was 4;30pm and the traffic through to Melkbos Strand was chaotic which resulted in ‘Buddy and Me’ taking a little more than an hour and a half to drive the 78 kilometres and so arrived ‘home’ a little after 6pm.

<i>Me chatting to the ladies of <b>‘Patch'</b> and <b>‘The Rape Crisis Centre of Helderburg’</b></i>

Me chatting to the ladies of ‘Patch' and ‘The Rape Crisis Centre of Helderburg’

<i>The whole group, with Buddy in his element to be surrounded by all these lovely ladies</i>

The whole group, with Buddy in his element to be surrounded by all these lovely ladies

I was intending to start writing about the six factors which have been included in my proposal to the President which I believe needs to be implemented to stop the raping and sexual abuse of children tonight, but I am really exhausted after my tremendous day in the Cape region and so promise I will include factor one in tomorrow nights blog.

So keep well, and ya you got it, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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Mon
15
Mar '10

Day 187 and 188: Saturday and Sunday 13-14 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

My intention was, after completing my visit to Worcester, to travel straight through to Cape Town, however after being told how heavy the traffic was in Cape Town, it being a Friday and with the added traffic entering Cape Town for the Argus – Pick n’ Pay Cycle Tour taking place on Sunday, I decided to rather head for Hermanus and to take a leisurely drive through to Cape Town on Saturday morning along the N2 rather than face the wrath of the N1.

On my last ‘African Odyssey’ project, I had camped at the Onrus Caravan Park & Resort and had a magic time and had met some awesome people at the small pub and grill called Goddard’s Grill situated a mere 80 metres from the entrance to the park, and so guess where I visited soon after having been provided with camping facilities at the Onrus Caravan Park and Resort.

When I stopped Buddy outside Goddard’s front door, the owner of the establishment, Andre Hattingh came out to see what noisy vehicle had pulled up on their door step. On seeing me he said “My God Steve, are you still alive, how did the trip go”. It was incredible that after four and a half years he recognised me. Inside I met his good wife Jenny and a whole bunch of characters that all wanted to know about the ‘African Odyssey’ project and wanted to discuss and give their opinions on what needs to be done to stop the raping and sexual abuse of children in South Africa. Well as you probably guessed, the visit went on for awhile and by the time I escaped to my camp to cook a chicken chakalaka pot and rice it was 8:30pm.

<i>My campsite at the <b>Onrus Caravan Park & Resort</b>. Believe it or not, but the sea is about 30 metres away from the front of my tent just through the trees</i>

My campsite at the Onrus Caravan Park & Resort. Believe it or not, but the sea is about 30 metres away from the front of my tent just through the trees

<i>Me presenting Andre with a much sought after <b>‘Operation Bear’</b> necklace</i>

Me presenting Andre with a much sought after ‘Operation Bear’ necklace

<i>Much later, a few of the ‘left-overs’ from the evening</i>

Much later, a few of the ‘left-overs’ from the evening

This morning (Sunday) after popping in to Goddard’s to watch the Sharks lose once again, hell this seems to becoming a habit with them this season, at least they’re being consistent, I headed out of Hermanus in the direction of Cape Town.

Initially my plan was to spend the weekend with a friend Wesley who is the son of my good friend Mandy who owns the GEM Bar and Grill in Lambton in Germiston, but unfortunately he is living in a flat in Observatory Cape Town which has limited parking space and so after approaching the lady who owns a public parking ground opposite his flat to assist with parking at a reduced rate; the going rate quoted was R6-00 per hour, and so based on a twenty four hour period would cost me a staggering R576-00 for Buddy and the trailer for two days, I decided to give it a miss.

I then contacted a long standing friend Faan Fourie who happens to be a Captain in the police and who with his lovely wife Linda, moved to cape Town from Alberton in Jo’burg about a year ago, actually they moved to Melkbos Strand, who immediately instructed me to stay with them and make use of their granny flat. So now all comfortably settled in, in the magnificent area of Melkbos Strand I will be using this as a base for my visits to the surrounding areas of Cape Town during the next week or so.

<i>My hosts for the next week or so, Captain faan Fourie and Linda, Linda by the way is the good looking one and Faan is holding Fiffi, the almost human dog</i>

My hosts for the next week or so, Captain faan Fourie and Linda, Linda by the way is the good looking one and Faan is holding Fiffi, the almost human dog

Faan and Linda’s house is a mere 200 metres from the beach and so this morning I took a walk there to get a picture of the famous mountain from across the bay. I found it very strange to see the sun rise over the land and last night watch it set over the sea.

<i>Table Mountain in all its glory</i>

Table Mountain in all its glory

<i>And when I turned around and took this picture facing the opposite direction is the Koeburg power Station facility</i>

And when I turned around a took this picture facing the opposite direction is the Koeburg power Station facility

So tomorrow, Monday, ‘Buddy and me’ will be visiting the beautiful wine lands areas of Paarl and Somerset West where hopefully I can get to meet many people who are involved in the fight against the rape and sexual abuse of children as well as you are providing support for victims of child rape.

Starting from tomorrow I will be placing the details of each of the 6 factors which are identified in my presentation proposal to the President on what I believe needs to be done in order to stop the raping and sexual abuse of children under the age of 12 years of age in South Africa. So keep tuned to this website for the next week or so and please give me your comments via my e-mail address provided below.

So with that, all that’s left for me to say is “keep your feet on the ground, but reach really high for the sky and above all – KEEP ALL CHILDREN SAFE”.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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Sun
14
Mar '10

Day 186: Friday, 12 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

This morning I was up at 5:45 and after showering and packing my overnight bag, I had decided to leave the trailer at the Toyota dealership, I followed Mike to, firstly Marco’s school because Marco wanted me to drop him off at school with Buddy, and then on to the Toyota dealership where the Workshop Manager Richard was going to give Buddy a service. Then it was off to visit another wine farm, this time the esteemed vineyards and winery of ‘Bergsig’.

This incredible winery had passed through the hands of 6 generations dating back to the original Lategan family who arrived in South Africa way back in 1735 and established the wine farm in 1843. The wine farm is currently owned and managed by father – ‘Proff’ Lategan and the three brothers, ‘Plum’, De Wet and Louis.

<i>Here ‘Plum’ is giving the low down on the wine making process</i>

Here ‘Plum’ is giving the low down on the wine making process

<i>The bottling of ‘liquid gold’ process</i>

The bottling of ‘liquid gold’ process

‘Plum’ explained that the ‘barrels’ in which the wine is stored during fermentation can only be used three times (Three season) and cost a bomb (I think he said R7 000-00 each) because they come from France, hell even the corks which are used in the bottling process are imported from Portugal and I think Spain, no wonder wine is so expensive.

<i>Just check out all this ‘liquid gold’ just waiting to be consumed</i>

Just check out all this ‘liquid gold’ just waiting to be consumed

<i>The Lategan family Bible which dates back to 1735</i>

The Lategan family Bible which dates back to 1735

I was privileged to meet ‘father’ Lategan who popped in to ‘check-up’ that the three sons are doing things right.

<i>‘Dad’ Lategan on the left and ‘Plum’ on the right</i>

‘Dad’ Lategan on the left and ‘Plum’ on the right

<i>Of course I had to have a photo of me with ‘Plum’ and of course <b>‘The Rose’ of Bergsig</b> in between the two thorns</i>

Of course I had to have a photo of me with ‘Plum’ and of course ‘The Rose’ of Bergsig in between the two thorns

The other product produced on the ‘Bergsig’ Estate, are pears for mostly the export market which are marketed under the name of ‘Forelle’.

<i>Piles of delicious pears, these things just melt in your mouth</i>

Piles of delicious pears, these things just melt in your mouth

On the way back to the Toyota dealership, I mentioned to Mike that the Bougainvillea with their beautiful purple and pink flowers and lovely white roses really stand out amongst the lush green vineyards and he informed that they are not there for their beauty but as an important factor in the growing of grapes and other fruit forms. Evidently the bougainvillea and roses are the first to detect fungal infections and so the farmers use them to warn them when this nasty infestation attacks the area.

Following my tour of the ‘Bergsig’ wine estate, came a police escort into the town of Worcester. This involved being met by two traffic cop cars at the Toyota dealership and with blue lights flashing and sirens blaring we drove through town to the first Beares store.

At this Beares store ‘Buddy and Me’ were greeted by a large group of kids and guests and I spent a couple of hours chatting to the guests and getting their opinions on the subject of child rape. This discussion included a really terrific lady Captain from the local police services by the name of Captain Maja who is involved in the social crime prevention unit. She re-iterated on the fact that she believes that the RDP housing design has undoubtedly contributed to the unacceptably high rape of children by children, for the reasons I mentioned in my previous blog.

The kids and Beares staff Worcester Beares store (1)

At the second Beares store in Worcester which used to be a Lubners store, the welcome ‘Buddy and Me’ received after another police escort through the town was just as big as the first, the people of Worcester are truly amazing.

<i>The kids having a ball of a time with Buddy</i>

The kids having a ball of a time with Buddy

<i>All the stunning ladies of <b>Beares (2)</b> in Worcester. I made them all promise that if they get calls from Paris or New York for modelling contracts after they are seen on my blog, I want to be signed up as the manager, I mean, it’s only fair</i>

All the stunning ladies of Beares (2) in Worcester. I made them all promise that if they get calls from Paris or New York for modelling contracts after they are seen on my blog, I want to be signed up as the manager, I mean, it’s only fair

During my discussion in Worcester, I was told of a recent situation in which three boys aged between 7 and 9 years of age raped and sodomised a little girl of 4 years of age, and due to the ages of the perpetrators and on ‘conviction’ nothing happened to them, they were merely returned to their parents custody and have to under go counselling.

Another topic which was discussed at length was the one surrounding the fact that, although there are Ministers and Deputy Ministers appointed to establish and set up national policies for their respective port folios, those individuals operating at provincial and local government levels are totally ignoring these national policies and going off at a tangent with their own plans. This then results in the fact that every time one of them is replaced, which is what is occurring on a very regular basis lately, the new guy comes up with his or her plan and all the previous policies which were implemented, and cost a fortune by the way, are chucked out. This is obviously costing the South African tax payer a fortune and is money which could be spent in far better ways.

So with that comment, I am going to bid you farewell until I do my weekend blog on Sunday night. So keep well and as usual, please keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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Sun
14
Mar '10

Day 185: Thursday, 11 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Before I start on this blog there is something that I need to convey to everyone reading my blog’s. Since the 4th of February my website has been badly affected by a virus which, I have been told by my expert IT specialists who help me with my website, namely Gail Vyvyan-Day in Germiston and Rory Albertyn the owner of Radiant Network the web company that kindly hosts my website, was inadvertently placed on the site by someone who sent in a comment on my ‘Comments Blog’. Unfortunately this created major stress for me which resulted in Gail not being able to post my blog’s for a few weeks and created a lot of time consuming work for Rory to identify and eradicate the virus from the ‘Buddy and Me’ website.

After many hours of hard work the problem has been eradicated, Gail has caught up with the blog’s which I know took many hours of hard work in spite of Gail living a bit of a hectic life in both her personal and business life, but everything is back on line, so I would just like to convey mine and Buddy’s sincere thanks and appreciation to Gail and Rory for all the hard work you guys have put in to sorting the problem out and confirm that without the help from these two amazing people that project ‘Buddy and Me’ would not be possible. So to Gail and Rory you have my heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

So now on to my blog for the day, as I said when I finished yesterday’s blog, last night I was kindly hosted accommodation by Stephen and Alida Bruwer in Ashton. They had kindly assisted me with accommodation on the ‘African Odyssey’ project and once again I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay with this terrific family.

<i>Alida and Stephen Bruwer in Ashton in front of their lovely home. The view of the mountains and vineyards directly in front of their house is truly spectacular</i>

Alida and Stephen Bruwer in Ashton in front of their lovely home. The view of the mountains and vineyards directly in front of their house is truly spectacular

From Ashton ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for Robertson where I spent some quality time with the Beares staff chatting about the project and getting their opinions on what needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children. Most of the discussion surrounded the fact that everyone believes that the RDP housing provided by the government is definitely contributing towards the rape of children by children. The government has done a sterling job in providing housing for the poorer communities, but unfortunately no thought was given to the design of the houses.

I was told that in the township area of ‘Moreson’, which is situated a short distance outside of Robertson, due to the size of the families the whole family is forced to live in one room which results in the children sleeping in the same room as the parents, and in some cases mothers boyfriend while they are sleeping together and obviously with the children witnessing and hearing the sounds generated by their love making. I was told by one lady a few weeks ago that she had been woken in the early hours of the morning by the sounds of her 6 year old daughter crying. On investigating she discovered that her 15 year old son had climbed into bed with her daughter and had raped her, with mom and dad in the same room. I asked her what had happened when they had discovered this and her comment was, “Nothing”, when she had woken her husband and told him what had happened, he had merely grunted, rolled over and continued sleeping, and that was the end of that. Need I say anymore about this situation?

<i>The <b>Beares</b> staff of Robertson</i>

The Beares staff of Robertson

Then it was on to the absolutely spotlessly clean town of Worcester where I arrived at a quarter to three in the afternoon where and where on entering the Audensberg Toyota dealership where the owner and Round Tabler Chairman Michael Meyer welcomed me and within minutes of my arriving took me on a tour of an absolutely amazingly beautiful grape farm. The farm which is called ‘The Amandelriver Estates’ and which is situated in the Hex River Valley area and must be, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful areas in the world, is owned by Round Tabler Faffie Jourdan and is called ‘The Amandelriver Estate’ and producers spectacularly delicious grapes which is exported to countries all over the world.

<i>Faffie giving me the run down on the whole grape packaging and distribution process, of course I was eating grapes throughout the presentation</i>

Faffie giving me the run down on the whole grape packaging and distribution process, of course I was eating grapes throughout the presentation

The day was rounded off with a magic evening which consisted of a braai, great food, cold beers and great conversation with the Tablers of Worcester RT 68.

<i>Me being pinned and presented with yet another banner by the Table Chairman and my host for the evening in Worcester, Mike Meyer</i>

Me being pinned and presented with yet another banner by the Table Chairman and my host for the evening in Worcester, Mike Meyer


The whole group having a really great time

And to end off my day in Worcester, here is a picture of my hosts for the evening.

<i>My hosts for the evening in Worcester, Mike and Heidi Meyer with son Marco squeezing in-between</i>

My hosts for the evening in Worcester, Mike and Heidi Meyer with son Marco squeezing in-between

So until tomorrow when ‘Buddy and Me’ pays a visit to the two Beares stores in Worcester I will bid you farewell for now and of course keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and Me’ (Steve Heath)
Don’t forget you can send comments, opinions and generally chat with me on my e-mail address: steve@buddyandme.co.za

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Sat
13
Mar '10

Day 183 and 184: Tuesday and Wednesday, 9-10 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.

To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:

Beares
Lubners
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
GRIP (Mpumalanga)
StepThru (Gauteng)

Tuesday morning I woke to another fantastic day as far as the weather was concerned, but by the time I had showed, packed and enjoyed a hearty breakfast, the clouds had gathered and it looked like it was going to rain. Jacqui popped around to say good bye and after a chat to explain the whole project to her and she explained how she could help, I was on my way up the Robinson Pass. Unfortunately the clouds and mist closed in as I got higher and the magnificent view out towards Mossel Bay was obscured by the cloud and mist.

<i>It’s a pity about the cloud cover but this was the best I could get, you can at least see part of the road winding it’s way up the lower section of the pass, from here to the top of the Pass I could hardly even see the road never mind any sort of view</i>

It’s a pity about the cloud cover but this was the best I could get, you can at least see part of the road winding it’s way up the lower section of the pass, from here to the top of the Pass I could hardly even see the road never mind any sort of view

After the Robinson Pass the countryside became flatter and dryer, and as I crested the top of the Pass the sky cleared all of a sudden and it became hotter with every kilometre I travelled.

<i>This was taken soon after descending the other side of Robinson Pass. You can still see the mountain range in the distance and note the dry sandy conditions, this got even worse as I travelled through the day</i>

This was taken soon after descending the other side of Robinson Pass. You can still see the mountain range in the distance and note the dry sandy conditions, this got even worse as I travelled through the day

As I approached Oudtshoorn I encountered my first Ostrich farms:

The one thing which has really impressed me during my drive through the Eastern and Western Cape is the cleanliness of the surrounding countryside as well as the cleanliness of the roadside rest areas. I have often stopped at one of these places to give Buddy a rest from the heat, there are two things he hates and they are: 1) being driven when he is cold and 2) Being driven when he is very hot. When he is driven in hot conditions and has travelled a particularly long way and the engine and oil is hot, he usually, as he did 13 times on the ‘African Odyssey’ project, pops the main engine oil seal. I have thus learnt to make frequent stops to avoid this problem and it definitely seems to have worked because on this project I have not popped an oil seal once, and so the neat and clean roadside rest areas have been a God send.

<i>Check this out for neat roadside rest areas</i>

Check this out for neat roadside rest areas

I hardly saw a human being during the day and even saw very few cars on the road so the chance of chatting to anyone on the subject of child rape was extremely remote. When I entered the small town of Calitzdorp, I stopped to get a cold drink at a café and while waiting to pay at the counter, a group of 6 coloured ladies approached me and asked, in a heavily accented ‘Cape Coloured’ accent if I was the person driving that crazy little car. When I confirmed I was one lady said; and you really need to hear the accent to make it sound as funny as I found it, “You know, these blary men, they can’t keep their blarey hands off the young girls and children and they can’t keep their blarey dingis in their pants, I think we need to start chopping the blarey things off”.

All the other ladies starting talking at the same time and soon I was having comments and opinions on what should be done to a savage, as they also referred to them, thrown at me from all sides. Hell if the government guys think the death penalty for a child rapist is not acceptable they should hear what these ladies believe should be done to them, I’m sure a convicted rapist would gladly accept being executed by way of hanging rather than face the wrath of these ladies.

Soon after passing Calitzdorp I noticed that the mountains ahead were covered in cloud cover which appeared to look like ice covered glaziers, check this out:

Then came that incredible guy and his crazy pub which no one can pass by without stopping and popping in to visit, and that is ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’. This is not the kind of establishment one normally thinks it is when you see the large red letters painted on the side of the establishment out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by kilometres of nothing but desert type conditions and shrubs. It is in fact a pub, and a very old one at that, with a small eating section called “Road Kill”. The amazing thing about this pub is that the ceiling is adorned with ladies underwear and lingerie donated by visiting woman and virtually every square centimetre of the walls has been written on by customers.

<i>Check this out for décor. These were guests who popped in on their way to Cape Town to participate in the Cape Argus cycle tour in a week’s time</i>

Check this out for décor. These were guests who popped in on their way to Cape Town to participate in the Cape Argus cycle tour in a week’s time

<i>Hugo the barman and his girlfriend Diana – pronounced Deeana</i>

Hugo the barman and his girlfriend Diana – pronounced Deeana

<i>Of course Buddy had to been in on the act as well</i>

Of course Buddy had to been in on the act as well

<i>And now <b>presenting</b> the infamous owner of the establishment, Ronnie</i>

And now presenting the infamous owner of the establishment, Ronnie

From Ronnie’s Sex Shop I headed out on the road to Barrydale which is a few kilometres down the road where I was offered accommodation for the night by a really tremendous chap named Meyer Joubert. Mayer owns a wine farm, which is situated about 10 kilometres outside of Barrydale called ‘Joubert-Tradauw’. On arriving at the wine estate which by the way also grows a number of other fruits such as pears, appels, plums and others, a really big and diverse farm, I was met at the entrance by Meyer and was introduced to his wife Beate, (Pronounced Beaarta) who soon after I arrived produced a fish burger the likes of which I have never tasted better, absolutely amazing stuff.

After a chat about the project and being given a run down of the history of the Joubert-Tradauw estate I was shown to the cottage where I spent the night and proceeded to have a really restful sleep.

<i>The cottage where <b>‘Buddy and Me’</b> spent the evening</i>

The cottage where ‘Buddy and Me’ spent the evening

One of the topics I recently got involved in during a discussion was as a result of a question posed to me by one of my guests, and that was, “Have you noticed, during all the meetings you have had with police officials, how over weight and apparently unfit our police officials are lately”. Initially I was taken a-back a bit but when considering the question and thinking back to all the cops I have met during my travels around the country I suddenly realised how much truth there is in the statement. Our Police Service definitely consists of a lot of over weight and in fact in many cases even o-beast individuals who are grossly unfit. When I think back to what the Police Force was like, during the time I was part of it, we had to under go periodic fitness tests as well as stringent health checks, but it appears that these types of healthy and fit police officials are no longer required in our new Police Service.

Wednesday morning I had an extensive tour of the Joubert-Tradauw wine and fruit farm which was conducted by the owner, Meyer Joubert. I discovered just how labour intensive a wine farm and fruit farm actually is and will never complain about the price of fruit again, although I will continue to moan about the price of wine because when considering what the actual wine farmer / producer of the liquid gold earns compared to the bottle store owners and in particular the restaurant owners, it’s shocking.

Bottling the liquid gold in a mobile bottling plant

<i>Meyer showing me around the cellar containing the barrels of liquid gold</i>

Meyer showing me around the cellar containing the barrels of liquid gold

<i>Meyer displaying the range of wines his estate produces and standing ‘on a stool’ next to him is the estates future ‘Wine Master’ his son Andreas</i>

Meyer displaying the range of wines his estate produces and standing ‘on a stool’ next to him is the estates future ‘Wine Master’ his son Andreas

Then it was time for ‘Buddy and Me’ to hit the road again, so after thanking Meyer for his and his good wife Beate’s incredible hospitality and friendship ‘Buddy and Me’ drove out of the estate and took the R62 wine route to firstly Montagu and then Ashton where I have once again been hosted accommodation by old friends from the ‘African Odyssey’ project’ Stephan and Alida Bruwer, but I will tell you more about that in tomorrow’s blog.

<i><b>‘Buddy and Me’</b> leaving the <b>Joubert-Tradauw wine and fruit farm estate</b></i>

‘Buddy and Me’ leaving the Joubert-Tradauw wine and fruit farm estate

So from ‘Buddy and Me’ we will wish you a good evening until tomorrow when we get involved once again in the researching of child rape in the Western Cape region. The last two days has been a bit of a break for us, mainly because the area we have travelled through is not very populated and so there has not been much opportunity to talk to people, although I have stopped and chattered with many motorists and small groups of people but have not learnt anything new. It has been a case of, “Yes it is happening a lot and yes it is mostly being done by close family as in fathers and uncles as well as in many instances the perpetrators are kids themselves particularly in the 10 to 16 years of age, age group.

So with ‘Buddy and Me’ now starting to enter the mother city area of Cape Town and it’s surrounding areas, I am sure we will be hearing some pretty gruesome facts about the situation in this region. So all that’s now left for me to say is, please remember to keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
‘Buddy and me’ (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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