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The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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 ‘Buddy and Me’ started the week on Monday morning (24th January 2011) with a visit to the Beares store in East London where I had my usual chat with the Beares staff and then headed out for Port Alfred.

 

Meet the staff of Beares in East London.

I have always loved Port Alfred and what used to be a quaint, small coastal town has grown into a massive place. I must say that I was very impressed with the fact that the growth has not affected the town negatively by turning it into a filthy place like ‘development’ has affected the far majority of towns I have visited in South Africa.

My first call of business on arriving in Port Alfred was trying to find somewhere cheap to stay, with emphasis on the word ‘cheap’ but liveable. Initially I sought out a campsite but on enquiring at a caravan/camping place I was told a camp site would cost R75 -00 per night. This was not bad and actually suited my budget, but while contemplating this, a lady approached me and told me of a self-catering chalet place close by which would only cost R120-00 and which according to her was very comfortable with all the comforts of home. So without further a-do I headed for my ‘new home’.

I found out the place is owned by Dudley and Jenny Waters and believe me if you ever visit the Port Alfred area these are the people you must contact for accommodation: 083 475 8414 or 084 829 7591, you won’t be sorry. Dudley is an ex-policeman (Captain) and provided me with some astonishing facts on the police in the Port Alfred area, as well as some interesting information on cases he was involved with and which are currently ‘cold cases’ and one in particular involves the disappearance of a small 8 year-old girl whose mother, after 12 years, has still not had closure on her disappearance.

 

This is the front of my chalet, very close to the marina and they even have a heated in-door swimming pool, awesome.

The main purpose of my visit to Port Alfred was to obtain some follow-up information on what had transpired in the rape/murder case of a 5 year old little boy who was savagely beaten, burnt with boiling water and raped/sodomised by three savages aged 15,16 and 17 years-old. This disgusting and horrible crime took place late in 2008 and at the time of my visit to Port Alfred in 2010 the case had just been concluded and the savages were awaiting sentencing (For details see my blog – Project 2 – Day 175: Monday 1st March 2010). Mrs. Mali Govender of the SAPS in Port Alfred had given me a lot of information on the case and had shown me some horrific photo’s taken at the scene of the crime as well as autopsy photos. These were, to put it mildly, shocking beyond comprehension.

The three savages, after beating and raping the small 5 year-old, beat his head in with a rock and then went off to fetch boiling water which they poured over his midriff to try and erase the ‘evidence’ of the rape. The little guy’s midriff was burnt so badly that when the police tried to pick his body up the skin came off in their hands. 

On arriving at the police station to pay a visit on Mrs. Mali Govender I was told that she had unfortunately been transferred to Grahamstown but that Colonel Zeelie, the Station Commander would see me. Now having travelled South Africa extensively and interviewed, thousands of police officials over the past 5 years, I consider Colonel Zeelie to be a police officer of note who restores my faith in the South African Police ‘Services’, knowing that their at least someone who ‘cares’ and is dedicated to the job of policing and serving the public, what an amazing police department we would have if we had more of her calibre, or if she was in-charge. We had a three and a half hour interview and the information I learnt about crime and the problems facing the SAPS in dealing with these issues was incredible.

But firstly let me complete the story of the three savages, 15, 16 and 17 years-old, who brutally raped and beat an innocent 5 year-old to death.

Accused number one who was 15 years-old at the time, was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment with 4 years suspended, which means that effectively he gets 14 years of which, according to our justice system, he will serve 4 years, ‘in jail ?’ before being released on parole.

Accused number two, who was 16 years-old, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with 3 years suspended, which means an effective 7 years, ‘in jail ?’ and he will be released after having served 2 years of his sentence.

Accused number three, who was 17 years-old, was sentenced to 10 years, with 2 years suspended, which means he will serve an effective 8 years, but will be released after having served a poultry two and a half years sentence, ‘in jail ?’.

But this does not end there, the jail sentences, because of their ages, will involve the ‘rehabilitation programme’ which the government insists on applying to savages and thugs committing crime in South Africa, and includes what they refer to as the ‘Diversion Programme’, so these savages will receive major counselling and an education, which they probably would not have received had they not committed this despicable and disgusting crime. Oh by the way, rape victims do not receive State funded counselling, only convicted rapists receive this benefit while in prison – sorry that should read the ‘Correctional Service Facilities’, or should that be ‘The Recreational Services’.

Now I ask you, is this a deterrent punishment for three savages who brutally beat, raped and took away the life of an innocent 5 year-old little boy! I rest my case. At this point I want to go back to my last blog (blog 16) to that,?, I really don’t know what to call him apart from idiot, Mr. Ramashala, who wrote the article in the newspaper and who believes that all ex-convicts, “apart from ‘habitual criminals’ should all be given a second chance in life, and supported by providing them with career opportunities” and whatever other support they need to ensure they have a pleasant and comfortable life after prison. Right!

 

I’m sure you have detected that I was pretty wound up after hearing about the pathetic sentences passed down by our South African judicial system on the three despicable savages, and  so I will rather continue with a few other facts I learnt during my visit to Port Alfred.

I have often mentioned the fact that a child rape case takes on average 3 years to get to trial and that we are currently experiencing a ridiculously low average conviction rate of between 4 and 6% for child rape cases and the biggest contributing factor for these pathetic statistics is due to the time it takes to obtain DNA results from the South African Forensic Laboratories. In the majority of cases, after an accused has appeared in court for the fourth time and a postponement is requested by the state prosecutor because DNA results are still outstanding, the case is struck from the role and the suspect is released from, usually his bail conditions and bail is refunded, or incarceration.

Obviously the accused, knowing he is guilty, skips, and once the DNA results are received the police have to start the search for him all over again and in the majority of cases the investigating officer is no longer at that station and the new investigating officer is not acquainted with that specific case and has ‘more important cases’ of his/her own to deal with, and so not much emphasis is placed on tracking down the suspect again. Hence a ridiculously low national average conviction rate of 4 – 6%, and so now down to some interesting information on the testing of DNA for rape cases in South Africa.

An interesting fact is that we, in South Africa, do not have a national DNA data base. This in effect means that a cereal rapists DNA is not held on record and so if he travels from one area to another committing the crime of rape, or even if he commits rape in the same area, when, or if, he is ever apprehended, he cannot be linked to the other rapes by DNA, although DNA samples are held by the police in the hope that a suspect is arrested and linked to the other rapes through other evidence and can be used in evidence against him, but he is not linked to the other rapes by a DNA data base, he has to be linked by other means.

Secondly, no DNA samples are sent for testing unless a suspect is apprehended and no DNA tests are undertaken unless a State Prosecutor orders the testing of the DNA. Incredible!

 

It has been told to me by many police officers, and it was confirmed by Colonel Zeelie, that unfortunately many laws are being promulgated which the police are incapable of implementing. The laws being referred to in particular are those pertaining to:

Firstly the recently promulgated ‘Child Justice Act, Act 75 – 2008’, regarding the detention and imprisonment of minors, we do not have detention facilities for minors in South Africa, only ‘Industrial Schools’ which are a joke as far as ‘punishments’ are concerned, because as is the case with adult criminals, being placed in one of these institutions is an encouragement, not a deterrent and many kids are quite happy to be sent to these places where they get to enjoy privileges which they would not normally get in their normal living conditions.

The other laws which Colonel Zeelie was referring to in particular are the laws relating to the ‘Sexual Offences Act, Act 32 – 2007’, specifically the section of this Act which states that “Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused, and fails to report it to the police, is guilty of an offence” – Since its promulgation in November 2007 not a single person has been charged for this offence – and this in light of the fact that we are experiencing on average 580 child rape cases a day in South Africa and only a miserable 15 – 18% are being reported?

I must compliment the Police in Port Alfred for the establishment of their ‘child friendly’ support facilities for handling child rape and child abuse cases. This facility was established with incredible help from many organisations and community members in Port Alfred and is one of the best I have visited on my journey around our country.

 

Colonel Lizette Zeelie outside the ‘child friendly’ facility at the Port Alfred police station. The police services could definitely do with a lot more like her.

 

I was really sorry to leave Port Alfred and believe I could really enjoy living in this town. This is a picture of the river mouth and the other one is looking in the opposite direction and shows how the river spreads out into channels on which many luxury homes have been established.

From Port Alfred ‘Buddy and Me’ headed to another lovely, friendly and clean city namely, Port Elizabeth. I must admit that during the last few days I have become really confused with the names of the places I have visited, all of them having the word ‘Port’ in them; Port Shepstone – Port Edward – Port St Johns – Port Alfred – Port Elizabeth and even that one which although is not a ‘Port’ but Fort Beaufort which was confused with Port Beaufort by the British military engineers in the early 1830’s (See blog 15 for details), but let me get on with my arrival in Port Elizabeth.

I arrived at the really lovely ‘Protea Hotel Marine’ in Marine Drive Summerstrand and was given a VIP welcome by the General Manager Dannie Smit, Grizelda Graham the Banqueting Co-ordinator and Clinton Graham another manager. My two night stay at this incredible hotel was mind blowing and the staff of this hotel are awarded my ‘much sought after’ ‘Buddy and Me’ award for being the friendliest staff of any hotel I have visited to date, and believe me I have not come across one which has not been friendly, so this award is really something.

 

Meet the ultra friendly staff of the ‘Marine Protea Hotel’ – Grizelda Graham is the blond and I think it’s her husband, Clinton Graham behind her, unfortunately I did not get the names of the others in the photo and unfortunately the General Manager, Dannie Smit was unavailable for the photo, but Dannie you have my sincere thanks and gratitude for providing me with accommodation which was simply out of this world.

 I mean just check out the view from my room on the 6th floor.

My visit to the Beares and Lubners stores in Cleary Park turned out to be ‘a visit of note’. Firstly when I pulled into the Mall’s parking lot, the car guard ran up to me and said “No man you mustn’t park there, you must park in your usual spot, over there” (You need to read this with a real Cape Coloured accent) and promptly pointed out the parking bay restricted for loading purposes right next to the entrance. I was a bit confused but my confusion was soon sorted out when he said “I remember you and your little buggy from when you visited here last year, but then you had a trailer with you”, to say I was stunned is an understatement because my last visit was almost a year ago in February 2010 so ‘Buddy and Me’ must have, once again, made one heck of an impression on this guy.

The car guard with the amazing memory posing with a few of the Beares and Lubners staff of Cleary Park.

The other surprise was that, as I was walking past the entrance to the Lubners store, my first visit being scheduled for the Beares store which is two stores away from the Lubners store, I heard loud shouts of “Hello Steve and Buddy” coming from inside the Lubners store. I’m sure the whole shopping centre heard the ladies shouts because everyone walking near-by stopped and looked. I entered the store to shrieks of greetings and was absolutely dazzled by the welcome.

 So meet the incredibly friendly staff of Lubners Cleary Park Port Elizabeth.

Then it was time for my visit to the Beares store and once again I was greeted as if I was a long lost relative returning home.

 

I had an amazing time with these lovely people and spent quite some time chatting to them and bringing them all up to date with the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Port Elizabeth but must admit that I was really disappointed to be told, not once but numerous times, by local residents who stopped to chat to me in shopping centres and places I visited, that the crime, especially in the form of robberies and hi-jackings, on the Summerstrand beach front area is at a critical stage, with instances of this nature occurring on a regular basis.

Friday morning I visited the Beares store in Govan Mbeki Street and once again met up with a group of Beares staff who made me feel like their long lost relative. One staff member in particular I want to mention is Lindile Yoyo who at the age of 49 has never travelled outside of the Port Elizabeth area. This, to a man who has travelled in a Beach Buggy through 12 countries of Africa and having covered a total distance to date of 183 000 kilometres, not to mention all the travelling I have done outside of the ‘Buddy and Me’ project, is mind boggling to put it mildly.

 

The intrepid ‘Buddy and Me’ traveller (although upside down) meets the man who has never travelled outside of the Port Elizabeth area, Lildile Yoyo.

I did get to meet up with a few of the local constabulary, but I learnt nothing new about the child rape situation and according to them it is not occurring on a very large scale in the Port Elizabeth area. Unfortunately this information I took with a pinch of salt because I am fully aware, as I am sure the rest of South Africa is, that it is occurring on a very large scale but because the public have lost faith in the ‘authorities’ ability to protect them, especially in the case of child rape, the cases are not being reported to the police.

My accommodation was in the form of camping, and this was at a truly incredible resort situated 12 kilometres south of Summerstrand at a place called ‘The Willows”. On approaching the resorts reception to establish what damage my camping for the weekend would do to my meagre budget, I was told by the resorts manager Mrs. Marita Loftie-Eaton, that in-spite of the fact that the park was fully booked for the weekend by two visiting caravan clubs, they would provide me with camping, on a site which was considered too small for caravanning purposes but was really neat anyway and more than big enough for my purposes, on a complimentary basis nogall, so many thanks Marita your generosity and kind hospitality is greatly appreciated.

 

My camp site at ‘The Willows’ Cape Recife and it even had a sea view. Obviously because the park was so full I spent a lot of time chatting to the fellow campers about the project and obtaining hordes of comments and opinions on what should be done in order to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa.

The resort also has lovely chalets and bungalows, so if you are looking for a place for a holiday, ‘The Willows’ in Cape Recife Port Elizabeth is the place to stay.

Their contact details are:

Website: www.thewillowspe.co.za

Email: willows@madibabay.co.za

Tel: +27 (0) 861177 177

Across the road from the entrance to the ‘The Willows’ resort is a magic little rustic pub called ‘Munkee Bizniz’ where I indulged in a couple of cold Miller’s and enjoyed a Portuguese style Peri-Peri chicken and chips, a must if you ever do visit ‘The Willows’ resort. The food is good, the beers are cold, it’s within easy walking distance from the Willows resort, in fact directly across the road from the entrance to the resort, oh and the conversation with the manager Jeff and owner Mark is interesting. 

 

 From the photo you can see what I mean about it being ‘rustic’, but as I said – good food, and great hospitality – and oh yes did I mention cold beer.

I was also given the privilege of writing my details up on the wall and placing a copy of the ‘Buddy and Me’ flyer alongside it.

 

In years to come people will be reading this and saying, WOW! Who’s he? That’s Mark – The owner of the establishment – on the right of the photo, and Jeff on the left.

On Saturday while driving down the Cape Recife coastal road looking for a fishing spot, I came across a large group of cops and saw a woman’s body on the side of the road partly covered by the bush. That evening I learnt that a couple had been visiting the Summerstrand beach front area had been hi-jacked on Friday night and the savages who hi-jacked them had shot and killed the husband, thrown his body out about one kilometre before ‘The Willows’ resort and then shot and killed the woman and dumped her body on the side of the road about four kilometres past ‘The Willows’ resort. So it just proves that what the local community have been telling me about the Port Elizabeth area’s crime problem is right, and that it is in fact no different to the rest of South Africa.

Sunday afternoon was spent enjoying a lovely lunch with Ashwin and Mogie Ramhith. Ashwin is the Chairman of Round Table in Fort Beaufort but unfortunately was not available for me to meet when I visited there. He moved to Port Elizabeth on Saturday and so on Sunday (today) Ashwin invited me to join him and Mogie for lunch and so a great afternoon was spent enjoying a lovely Indian curry as well as a number of other delicious dishes. Ashwin is a notorious creative artist and travels the world with his work.

Meet the incredibly talented Ashwin Ramhith and his wife Mogie. You can see some of the creative art work Ashwin has produced on the right of the photo, oh yes and that ‘hammer’ which he made is for use on child rapists, Ashwin says “Just send them to me, I will sort them out”.

Well that about ends blog 17 “the life and times of ‘Buddy and Me’ project 3 and so tomorrow (Monday the 31st January 2011) ‘Buddy and Me’ will be heading slightly in land to Uitenhage. So until next I up-date my blog, keep well, stay safe, keep your feet on the ground but reach for the stars and above all – Keep all children safe!

 

Before finally signing off, I once again have to give my sincere apologies to Julia for having done such a long blog with so many photos, but unfortunately I had to catch up a week’s blog and so will try very hard to keep your work load down in future.

Caring regards from     

Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me’ (Steve Heath)

Please remember I really look forward to receiving emails with comments and opinions from everyone, so keep them coming to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on this blog and website are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.

 


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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)

Hi from ‘Buddy and Me’, all is going well with both of us and we have had a really tremendously interesting few days since last I up-dated my blog. As I said in blog 15, ‘Buddy and Me’ left King Williams Town in weather that looked like we were going to be soaked by the time we reached Gonubie, but that super star Guardian Angel shone down on us and the rain held off until we reached the safety of Gonubie, then it poured.

I had emailed the Round Table guys in Gonubie RT 182, East London RT 1 and Nahoon RT 160 a week before my intended arrival in Gonubie and asked for assistance with camping facilities in Gonubie and while sitting in the Gonubie Hotel I couldn’t help dreading the thought of having to set up camp in the poring rain, but once again my Guardian Angel shone down on me and Dave Krynauw, the owner of the Gonubie Hotel, offered me complementary accommodation in his lovely hotel.

The Gonubie Hotel which is situated a mere few metres from the beach, an absolutely lovely hotel.

Then an additional bonus was slapped into my lap – boy is that Guardian Angel of mine working overtime – Coyla, of Coyla’s Place fame, the B&B I had stayed at in Mthatha, called and gave me the fantastic news that her brother, who was out from America, had vacated the garden cottage in the ‘holiday home’ her and her husband Rod have in Gonubie, which by the way is situated a mere 120 metres from the Gonubie Hotel, and so I would not have to camp in the pending foul weather which was expected to hit the East London coast over the weekend.

After a relaxing and comfortable night, Friday morning found ‘Buddy and Me’ heading back out on the King Williams Town road to the second biggest township in South Africa, Mndantsane, second only to Soweto. I spent some quality time chatting to the Beares staff in the Mndantsane shopping mall and had some spontaneous chats with members of the local community in the shopping centre as I usually do, especially if there is a Thuthuzela Care Centre in the area, and in the case of Mndantsane there is one at the Cecelia Makiwane Hospital, which is about one and a half kilometres from the mall.

I stopped and chattered briefly to 23 individuals (19 women and 4 men) and asked if they new of the Thuthuzela Care Centre and all I got back was a confused look, a shake of the head and the response “No what is that place”. I must admit that for once I was given a boost of confidence when I popped into the police station which is based in the shopping mall and asked the policeman on duty where the Thuthuzela Care Centre is, and although he had to think for a minute replied “I think it is at the Cecelia Makiwane Hospital”.

I bid farewell to the Beares staff and headed for the Cecelia Makiwane Hospital and hoped that someone would talk to me about the centre, because to date everyone at the centres I had visited seemed too scared to talk to me, for whatever reason?

Meet the really friendly glamorous ladies of Beares in the Mndantsane Shopping Mall.

My visit to the Thuthuzela Care Centre proved to be one of the best and friendliest I have had to date. I was introduced to the lady who heads up the centre, Ms. Nosisi Nangu who is a gem of a lady, very friendly and who, like me, believes that “If “ the Thuthuzela care Centres are established and manned properly, would play a major role in stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa. After presenting her with the details of my report which I intend presenting to the South African parliament in March this year which contains information on how I believe the Thuthuzela Care Centres should be established and manned, she agreed fully that my proposal is the solution to stopping the rape of children by encouraging mothers to report the crime. (If anyone would like a copy of this report, please email me and I will forward it to you)

Unfortunately the same old issues I have with the centres I have visited reared their ugly head again and by this I mean that:

  • Although at least the security people at the gate new that the Thuthuzela Care Centre existed and direct me to the centre by saying “go to the main entrance and ask for directions” but at the main entrance there was no sign indicating where the centre was. I passed a few people dressed in nursing uniforms and asked for directions and on the third attempt got the attention of what I presumed was a senior nursing sister because she had a uniform on with many shinny goodies on her shoulders and she took me to the centre, which by the way was close to the entrance of the casualty section.
  • There is a police ‘liaison’ office at the entrance to the hospital but no trained policemen or women specialising in child rape cases are based there and they do not in fact get involved in cases reported to the Thuthuzela Care Centre involving child rape, in fact I could not ascertain what their function at the hospital was exactly.
  • When a mother arrives at the centre with her daughter/son who has been raped, the centre phones the local police station and they ‘send’ someone out. As usual this could take hours.
  • A doctor is not based at the centre and it can take hours to have one released from his/her duties to undertake an examination.
  • Counselling is undertaken by outside sources and I was told that the nurses in the hospital are trained in social work functions?

 

But I must say, the centre is very clean and the staff are all exceptionally friendly.

 

Before leaving the store the Beares store manager, Patty Ndawule gave me a bag of small Beares Teddy Bear’s to give to the Thuthuzela Care Centre for the kids who are provided with support by the centre, so here the staff of the centre is displaying the Teddy Bear’s. Nosis Nangu is on the right of the photo.

Friday night was spent enjoying a braai and social evening with the Round Tablers of Gonubie, East London and Nahoon where as usual I was given the opportunity to chat to them about the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and to be given information on projects undertaken by the Tablers which have benefitted the local community. One of the projects involved a group of 6 Tablers who drove motorised scooters, sponsored by Honda East London, approximately 4 500 kilometres around South Africa over a period of one week, raising funds and awareness to the ‘Ben Bikes’ project. This is a project which involves putting bikes into the underprivileged communities and includes the training of individuals to undertake maintenance and repairs to the bikes. Information on the project can be obtained from the website: www.benbikes.org.za

 

Unfortunately with all the chatting and ‘partying’ going on by the time I woke up and wanted to take a photo, most of the Tablers and their wives had left, mmmm party too good.

Because of the down pour, which by the way was quite a mean storm, when it came time for me to leave, Buddy decided that because I had left him out in the pouring rain he would punish me by not starting. So after trying to push start Buddy, the Tablers who were involved in the pushing decided it would be better to tow Buddy ‘home’ and sort out the problem in the morning, a good decision under the circumstances.

Unfortunately the next morning, in-spite of my attempts to dry out the distributor and plug leads, Buddy would still not start. Fortunately help was a mere phone call away and so a desperate call was made to Tabler (41er) Les Fenn who arrived in minutes and we discovered that the lead from the coil to the distributor was in a rather bad way. This was mainly due to the lead being covered in a thick green moss caused by all the rain and dampness ‘Buddy and Me’ had been exposed to over the last few months. But alas even after obtaining a new coil lead which involved a drive into East London city, Buddy would still not start. So it was time to call in more ‘big guns’!

Here are the ‘big guns’ mostly all watching the master mechanic at work – Kobus, kneeling. On my left is Jan Alberts who arranged for Kobus to come and help, leaning on the pole and looking like Mr Cool on the right of the picture is Duane Hedger, the Table Chairman for Gonubie RT 182 and Mr. Smooth himself Less Finn with the black T shirt. Of course the ‘other dude’ in the photo is yours truly, trying to play the role of consulting engineer.

Kobus did some magic, which according to him entailed drying the leads and ‘a wire’ in the distributor and within a couple of minutes Buddy was soon purring like a mountain Lion.

 

I thought I would show you exactly where I was staying while in Gonubie, this is Coyla’s (of Coyla’s Place B&B in Mthatha) lovely garden cottage she very kindly lent me for my weekends stay in Gonubie. So to Coyla, once again my sincere thanks for your kind help, without which I probably would have been as water logged as Buddy and probably wouldn’t have started on Saturday morning either.

I always keep an eye out for articles appearing in local and national newspapers regarding child rape cases, not that too many are ever written about, and because of this habit I often see articles which are unrelated to child rape which grab my attention, and two articles, one being directly related to child rape, the other not directly, really got my attention, and goat up.

 

The first article headed “Family Raped in Front of Dad” covered the story of a man who was tied up and beaten by a gang of thugs/savages who broke into the family home during the night. After beating him and tying him to a chair they forced him to watch while they took turns raping his wife and 17 year old daughter. When he closed his eyes, he was slapped to ensure that he watched the gruesome and savage raping of his wife and daughter. Later they shot his 23 years old son in the face, for no apparent reason.

The part that really makes this act of savagery even worse is the fact that the break in was not poverty related in that the thugs/savages did not break in to steal for financial gain, all they took was a cell phone, a laptop and helped themselves to food out of the refrigerator. So what was the reason for the break-in and savage attack??

Then we come to article 2 which is headed “Ex-convicts deserve a second chance”. This article was written by a man named Kopano Ramashala of Shoshanguve. In this article he writes that for some time he has observed how ex-convicts are being “victimised by companies and Government”. He goes on to say that it is disgusting and regrettable that companies and government deprive “qualified” people of opportunities for employment because of their criminal records.

To this individual I have the following response. Firstly, if these criminals have the necessary “qualifications” to make a living, why did they partake in criminal activities? Secondly why must individuals, who have spent their lives living an honest and peaceful life as law abiding citizens, be deprived of jobs to give an individual who has harmed the life of a law abiding citizen a job. Thirdly, he says that deserving criminals who are not “habitual criminals” must be given a second chance and helped with employment. To this my question is, how do we, as citizens and employers, know if an individual who has already been convicted of a crime, is a ‘habitual criminal” or not?

My final response to this article is, if we were all allowed a second chance, in other words we can all partake in criminal activities and reap the pleasures and benefits of the crime until, or if, we are caught, this country would be in a bigger mess than it already is. So why should some individuals be allowed to reap the benefits of crime and then be allowed to return to society as if nothing happened. The punishment of partaking in crime should be a deterrent and not an encouragement for individuals to partake in criminal activities of any form.

My final question to Mr. Ramashala is, “So when, or if, the savages who committed the atrocities mentioned in the first article are apprehended, convicted and imprisoned, when they are released, are you suggesting that they must be accepted back into society as if nothing had happened. The fact that they have destroyed an entire family’s life is beside the point. Dream on. My recommendation to you is to visit Botswana where the incarceration of convicts is a deterrent punishment and not an encouragement as it has become in South Africa. We wish we could have the crime levels experienced in Botswana because of their approach to dealing with criminals.

So having gotten that off my chest, I’m going to finish this blog with some information of a lighter kind. I often get stopped while driving Buddy around the country on my mission by fellow motorists to chat about the project, give me their opinions and comments and to photograph Buddy, and sometimes me. I also get many emails from people from all over South Africa as well as other parts of the world and so I thought I would share an email with the readers of the ‘Buddy and Me’ website which I received from a lady by the name of Charmaine Kinsey-Ahlers of Munster on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast.

Hi Steve

On our trip down to Hole in the Wall, we saw you and Buddy on the R61 shortly before Lusikisiki on Wednesday, 12 Jan 2011 and being the happy snappi curious person that I am, took a pic with every intention of emailing it to you since I figured there would be an address on the website, as advertised on Buddy.

The Transkei is such an interestingly breathtaking, shocking and curious place all at once to those of us who live in our little cosy environments within this interesting (and harsh) land, SA. Amongst other things, I must say I wondered about child rape stats in this part of the world as we drove through, especially observing living conditions and the large amount of children & people ‘on the loose’ everywhere, many with seemingly no agenda at hand (perceptions can be deceiving though).

I was not surprised at your story about being robbed, (exasperated rather…I like your wish about the fleas and camels hehe) but it is a sad reality and I’m sorry you became a victim…I am generally fiercely vigilant and perhaps a little paranoid, no matter where we are…especially about my camera and children) It must be a challenge though in an open air buggy!

Well, hope you like the pic. All the very best of success to you and your venture. May it make all the difference.

Kind regards and safe travels

Mrs Charmaine Kinsey-Ahlers

Munster, Kzn South Coast

Many thanks for that Charmaine, and I hope you stay tuned to the ‘Buddy and Me’ website in the future, and pass on the details of the website to your friends and family.

 

To finally finish off, Sunday afternoon was spent enjoying a couple of cold frosties with Round Tabler Jason McDowell and his wife Lindi and a chap named Morné who walked up to me while I was fishing on the rocks and identified himself as “the guy you met at the Gonubie Hotel in February 2010 on my last visit to the area (Project 2), in February 2010, and who still remembered me, I must have made a hell of an impression.

Another good time had by all

I was going to include details of my visit to Port Alfred and Port Elizabeth into this blog, Port Alfred being where I had an amazing meeting with a lady Colonel in the police who provided me with some really interesting and shocking information on the outcome of the horrible case of three savages (kids) who brutally raped and badly beat a 5 year old little boy to death, but I think this blog is long enough so I will end now and include that as well as my visit to Port Elizabeth in the next blog, so stay tuned for some really interesting information.

So until then I bid you farewell, stay well and stay safe and above all keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me (Steve Heath)

Please send your comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the project.

 


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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 as I said in my last blog, my visit to Fort Beaufort was an experience to remember. Not only is this beautiful town filled with history, but it is also populated by incredibly friendly people. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive from Queenstown via Whittlesea (Sada) and Seymour; these being small settlement towns along the route to Fort Beaufort; but Fort Beaufort is a town I had, believe it or not, never visited before. On scrutinising the map while planning project 3 I was shocked to discover that there was actually a town in South Africa which I have never visited and so I decided a visit to this magical little farming town was a must.

On arriving in Fort Beaufort I immediately headed for the Von Der Decken Hardware store where I met Doug Von der Decken, also a Tabler – 41er, and the lady who had been talking to me via cell phone and emailing details of her plans for my visit to Fort Beaufort for the passed few weeks, Doug’s lovely and charismatic wife Bernadine.

For the past few days, in fact since I had left Pinetown on the 10th of January, Buddy was showing his aggravation for having been left behind in Pinetown while I had returned home to Jo’burg, over the festive period nogall, by not retaining a charge to the battery and so in the mornings or after he had stood for a short period of time, not start and so I had to have a push.

On arriving outside Doug’s hardware store in Fort Beaufort and meeting him and Bernadine, I explained my predicament and said that I would definitely need to find a Willard battery outlet soon because Buddy’s battery, I was sure, needed to retire to ‘pastures green’ and the fact that it had been in Buddy for 5 years was absolutely amazing. The usual life of a battery, I am told, is between 2 and three years, so five years was quite a feat and hopefully based on this incredible feat I could convince a Willard Battery outlet to sponsor me a new battery.

Without any further discussion Doug summonsed his mechanic who tested the battery, confirmed that it was “cooked” and before I could say “Stop child rape” a new battery was fitted and Buddy was starting like a Formula One Ferrari on the starting line, actually even better than that, more like a McLaren. So Doug you have mine and Buddy’s eternal gratitude and thanks.

Bernadine had made arrangements for me to do a talk at two schools in the area, one being a junior school for grades 1 – 7, St Josephs School Newtown, and a high school for grades 8 – 12 the Winterberg High school. So as soon as Buddy was purring like a pussy cat, oh hell I shouldn’t say that because somehow, somewhere he will extract his aggravation and aggression out on me again for calling him a pussy cat, rather make that a lion, we headed for the first school where I got to chat to a large group of kids who thought Buddy was just amazing, mmmm with me just that ‘Me’ part of the show.

 

Here I am giving a talk about child abuse in general, as well as a detailed talk about the rape and sexual abuse of children to a very attentive group of kids, this following an introduction by the school head master Mr. Owen Golden. It was such a glowing introduction that at one stage I thought he was introducing someone else.

And of course we couldn’t keep Buddy out of the occasion.

Now I must tell you that following the last three months of consistent rain, with both ‘Buddy and Me’ starting to feel like ducks, the last 6 days of extreme heat was telling. While I was talking, the sweat, not perspiration, because that’s another thing entirely, this was pure down and dirty sweat, was pouring out of me at a mean rate and my shirt was sopping wet.

My talk at the St Josephs School had taken longer than envisaged, Bernadine unfortunately didn’t know that when I start talking on the subject of child rape I never shut up and can go on and on for hours and so we had to make a hasty departure and head for the Winterberg High School with a speed, if you can call the pace at which Buddy moves “a speed”.

The talk at this school went very well, if I say so myself, and the young students were very attentive and, I think, were very interested in the talk and details of what was happening in South Africa with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Before starting my talk I discovered, to my pleasure, that the vast majority of these students are extremely bright, they by far mostly support the SHARKS, and a small portion of them, those who still need to be educated, support the Bulls rugby team.

The students getting acquainted with Buddy. Can you imagine the embarrassment ‘Buddy and Me’ would have experienced if Doug had not kindly provided Buddy with a new battery and if I had had to ask the kids to give Buddy a push?

To reach the Winterberg High School you have to travel over a single gauge bridge called ‘The Victoria Bridge’. This bridge is, I am told, the oldest bridge still in use in South Africa. It was built in the early 1830’s and believe me, after going down to the river to inspect it, will probably out last most of the modern bridges built in our country.

 

The Victoria Bridge.

During the afternoon while writing up blog 14, Doug and Bernadine’s son Ross who was present at my talk at the high school and who is also a fishing fanatic, popped his head into my garden cartage which the Von Der Decken family had kindly hosted me accommodation in, and asked if I wanted to join him on a fishing ‘expedition’ to a ‘fish-filled’ dam near by. Obviously I could not pass up such an opportunity and so that is the true reason why my last blog (14) was cut short. Unfortunately in-spite of the fact that Ross had never left the dam ‘fish-less’ in the past, my usual jinx reared its ugly head and yep you guessed it – we left ‘fish-less’.

After an excruciatingly hot day, the temperature, according to Buddy’s sophisticated thermometer, reached a mind blowing 46°, I headed for the Country Club where I was invited as guest speaker at the ‘Speakers Club’ hosted by Round Table with Bernadine as a passenger and because it had started raining she decided that Buddy was definitely not her idea of the right mode of transport with which to undertake a trip through Africa in.

The talk went very well and I think everyone present was pretty shocked by the details I provided them with in regard to the rape of child rape in South Africa which I have obtained through my extensive research project over the past 5 years.

After the delicious dinner and talk, which by the way took about two hours, I was pinned by members of the local Round Table and presented with the Tables banner. From Left: Doug Von Der Decken, George Georgiou, yours truly, Devan de Lange and Rod Ford.

During a chat with Doug I learnt that his mother, at the age of 66, had been brutally murdered by a 19 year old thug whose mother worked as a domestic servant for the Von der Dicken family and that Doug’s mother had practically raised him from birth and educated him. Evidently after Doug’s father’s death, Doug’s mother had continued living in the house by herself. This thug, who as I said, she had raised and educated, together with SIX of his friends, broke in one night in 2002 and brutally murdered her. He’s currently serving a prison sentence, but with our current system who knows how long he will be in prison, or rather our ‘Correctional Services Facility’ for, probably furthering his education Doug’s mother paid for, by obtaining a university degree in the process, this time at the tax payers expense.

Thursday (20th January) I was in no great hurry to leave Fort Beautfort because I only had to be in King Williams Town at 1pm and as it was only about 80 kilometres away on what I was told and proved to be a very good road I left the Von Der Decken residence at a quarter to 11 and headed for the Von Der Decken Hardware store to bid Doug and Bernadine farewell.

 

Meet the truly friendly and hospitable family of the Von Der Decken’s and one of the family dogs, and the flea that was bothering him.

However leaving this lovely town was not so easy because Bernadine decided that I could not visit Fort Beautfort without at least visiting the Martello Tower. This is just one of the many historical sites to be found in the Fort Beaufort area and so without further ado I was bundled into Bernadine’s car and driven to the site of this historically packed site. The tower was built in the early 1830’s and was in fact built in the wrong place by mistake. The British military engineers were supposed to build it in Port Beaufort on the West Coast but got their information messed up and ended up building it at Fort Beaufort instead, hence the fact that it has no holes for rifles, only windows and has a cannon built on top of it which swivels 360 degrees for coastal protection.

The tower was connected to the near-by officer’s quarters as well as the military barracks which were erected about 1 kilometre away and which happens to be directly across the road from the Von Der Decken residence by under ground tunnels.

 

Standing on the steps of this fort/battle tower, I could not help thinking how soldiers had climbed those steps over 180 years ago and had carried out battles from it. The holes you can see in the photo above my head were holes from which soldiers could shoot through at anyone trying to climb the steps.

This is the original cannon carriage, the original cannon is laying on the ground. The cannon carriage could swivel 360 degrees around the roof of the tower.

In this photo you can see the tower as well as the near-by officers quarters which are now, I think, municipal offices of some kind.

On returning to the Von Der Decken Hardware, Doug could not let me leave without showing me a bit of his own family history.

 

This is a 1936 Ford hearse which Doug is very proud of because his grandfather bought it brand new in1936 and started the family funeral services business with, Von Den Decken Funeral Services which is still doing extremely well along with a number of other enterprises they own in the area. Incredibly this vehicle is very popular with students from the high school as a means of transport to the matric farewell dance.

Eventually I extricated myself from Fort Beaufort but promised myself I will return! and headed for King Williams Town. On approaching the small town of Alice while en-route to King Williams Town, I once again saw one of the government’s housing project which is, I as well as many other individuals believe, contributing to the rape and sexual abuse of children. These houses are very small and only have one room in which the parents sleep together with their kids.

During my travels I have been told by many individuals that this situation is fuelling the raping of children by children because of the fact that young boys are forced to sleep in the same room as their parents and so are forced to watch and listen to their parents partaking in sex and because their hormones are running rampant, take these frustrations out on other kids.  

 

It’s all very well to provide low cost housing to the masses, but hell come on, one room for the entire family to sleep in, that’s a recipe just looking for trouble.

I arrived in King Williams Town dead on time, and although I had not experienced any rain during the drive, it was very cloudy and blew gales. I had a chat with the Beares staff in King Williams Town and also had the opportunity to chat to a few people I met in the town who believe that the raping of children in the King Williams Town area has reached epidemic proportion and also believe that the local authorities, in the form of the police and social workers in particular are not too perturbed about it, once again believing that they have “much bigger problems to deal with”?

I had intended staying over in King Williams Town, but with the weather brewing up and the fact that I had to be in Mndantsane, which is the second biggest township in South Africa, second only to Soweto, the next day, I decided that I would rather push through to Gonubie which is situated about 20 kilometres or so north of East London, also because Mndantsane is a lot closer to Gonubie than King Williams Town, but more about my visit to Mndantsane in my next blog.

So with that I am going to bid you farewell for now, stay well, keep safe and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me (Steve Heath)’

Please send your comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on this blog/website are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.

 


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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)

Greetings to all the avid supporters of the ‘Buddy and Me’ website. Before I start with an up-date of what has been happening in the lives of ‘Buddy and Me’ over the past few days, I would firstly like to convey my sincere apologise to Julia Ramos, the young lady back in Jo’burg who is kindly assisting me by changing my blogs from email form and posting them onto the website. My apology comes in-light of the fact that transferring photos from attachments to the blog is a particularly time consuming job and this blog contains a particularly large number of photo’s because of the people and places I have met and visited over the past few days. So to Julia, you have my sincere apologise and I promise to try to reduce the number of photos in the up-coming blogs. So with that having been said, I will continue with my blog.

I had a really terrific time visiting my friends in Port St Johns, John and Sherol (Ferrari) Ferreira of ‘The Mountain View Inn’. On Saturday they took me fishing to an amazing place which is situated about 50 kilometres north of Port St Johns called Manteku which is in the Magua Falls forest area. The drive through the area is absolutely mind-boggling beautiful and the place where we spent the day, which so tranquil is almost spiritual. I was told later by a chap named Kelvin Strachan who arrived on the scene and who owns the small piece of land, paradise, which is right on the edge of the beach were we braaied and spent the day, that the beach is called (and I think he named it this) “Cow Beach” and from the photo I’m sure you will understand why.

 

Typical countryside one travels through on the way to ‘Cow Beach’ and the old Transkei, now the Eastern Cape region.

“Cow Beach” taken high up on the road leading down to the beach.

In my last blog for 2010 (Blog 12) I wrote about the fact that I try desperately hard not to get too attached to dogs or animals of any kind while on the project because every time I do it’s heart breaking for me to leave them behind when I leave and in the case of Port St Johns I once again fell into this trap with an amazing little miniature Doberman Pincher dog which belongs to John and Sherol called ‘Lady’. This little dog followed me every where I went and even slept in my bed, to Johns annoyance because he believed that I was spoiling her which would create a problem for other guests at the resort, “check the worry in my eyes”.

 

Me fishing with my ‘fishing companion’ Lady.

 Kelvin Strachan, Sherol and John relaxing in paradise.

Kelvin who, by the way, is the self appointed “White Mayor of Manteku”, pointing out the “best?” fishing spot.

We experienced some really incredibly hot days in Port St Johns with temperatures reaching 46 degrees together with humidity levels going through the ceiling, so after making a brief stop at the local police station, and I say brief because nobody was prepared to talk to me on the subject of child rape in the area, I headed for a back packers called ‘Jungle Monkey’s” which I had visited and made music at with a few guests of the establishment at the time on my last visit to the area (See Blog 18th – 21st Feb 2010 – Days 164 – 167) where I indulged in a couple of cold Millers to ease the pain of the excruciating heat.

Here I witnessed something which blew my mind. A couple who were guests of the place were lying next to the pool while their young blond daughter, about 6 – 7 years of age, was playing in the pool and was running around stark naked! At times she would lay on her back on her towel while the garden staff walked around cleaning the gardens and in particular the pool area. At one stage the parents disappeared for about half an hour leaving the little girl all on her own. I couldn’t help thinking that should something happen to her; her parents would blame everyone except themselves and scream blue murder. Come on guys for Piet’s sake this is South Africa we are living in and the abduction and rape of children is happening at a horrific rate, we don’t need to encourage the savages to grab the opportunities you provide them with to commit these atrocities.

In Port St Johns I was shown a ‘clinic’ which is situated on the premises of the local hospital/health clinic, which was built, at obviously an enormous cost, for the 2010 World Cup Soccer fiasco. Unfortunately the building of the stadium in Mthatha was behind schedule and so FIFA cancelled the games to be played in the Mthatha stadium, and so for this reason the clinic which was erected and completed is standing un-used. The premises would make an ideal Thuthuzela Care Centre unit which according to the local community I chattered to would be fully utilized by victims of child rape and domestic violence in the area. So I sincerely hope that government listens and takes head of my recommendations for the establishment of these centres all over South Africa, including Port St Johns, and establishes them in the manner I have recommended.

Monday (17th January) found ‘Buddy and Me’ bidding farewell to John and Sherol, and yes I battled to say good bye to Lady, the miniature Doberman Pincher who I had become so attached to and leave behind and so with a very sad heart I headed for Mthatha.

After visits to the two Beares stores, one being in the Mthatha Plaza centre and the other in Madeira Street where I met the friendly staff and had a great chat to them and some guests about the project and was told how shocking the rape of children is in the Mthatha area as well as the Transkei as a whole, I was met by Pat Dalgleish of the Mthatha Round Table and shown the way to a lovely B+B called Coyla’s Place where I was hosted accommodation. 

The evening was spent chatting to everyone about the project and getting some in-put into what needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children, the general comment was that “Those who rape children should be removed from our society permanently, preferably as in the death penalty”. I was also pinned with the Mthatha Round Table lapel pin and so my ‘jacket of honour’ is becoming pretty saturated with Round Table pins.

Me being ‘pinned’ by Pat Dalgleish.

 After a really great and restful evening, the next morning ‘Buddy and Me’ bid Coyla and Pat farewell after thanking them for their incredible hospitality and friendship and headed out of Mthatha, but not before I once again experienced that evil act of thievery we are constantly exposed to in South Africa.

While on my way to Pat’s office to say good bye, I took the wrong turning and got myself slightly lost. I phoned him from my cell phone while parked on the side of the road and while talking to him, a local guy approached me on my right side and kept asking me if “this is a racing car”. I kept telling him to hold on because I was busy on the phone but he insisted on talking to me, I must admit I was getting somewhat irritated with him and eventually he walked off. On arriving at Pat’s office I discovered that the shoulder bag, which I normally keep between the seats and which contains my schedule diary and note book was missing. I usually tie the strap to the safety belt harness but because I had only needed to travel a very short distance I had not done this.

The exact same thing had occurred when I had visited Middelburg in Mpumalanga in January 2010 on project 2 and so you would think I would have learnt, but unfortunately I fell for the same con trick again. So all I can say is that I hope the fleas of a million camels infests the arm pits of the two thugs who stole my shoulder bag and that they are terribly disappointed with the fact that the contents of the bag is of absolutely no use or value to them, but was a big inconvenience to me.

Coyla’s Place, and that’s Coyla Rehse shinning with Buddy. So if you ever find yourself in Mthatha (Umtata) there is only one place for you to stay and that is: Coyla’s Place – 10 Ihem Street Mthatha – 082 254 9082

Before leaving Mthatha I was ‘instructed’ to make a stop at FORTGALE MOTORS which is a Caltex filling station on the outskirts of Mthatha on the Queenstown road which is owned by Round Tabler Jo Berlyn who insisted on supporting the ‘Buddy and Me’ project by generously providing Buddy with a full tank of juice (petrol). So many thanks Jo your support and generosity is great appreciated, Buddy thoroughly enjoyed drinking it all up.

In Queenstown I paid a visit to the Beares store where I once again was given the opportunity to chat to the friendly staff and to experience the chaos of the main street which has been excavated to allow for the refurbishment of the towns streets, hopefully for the residents of Queenstown the job will be completed soon and the residents can resume to their normal life, unlike the storey in Port St Johns where the streets were ripped up a year ago resulting in the town being an absolute mess and after what should have been a 5 months contract there is no end in sight for the completion of the work.

In Queenstown I was hosted accommodation by that lovely couple Bruce and Evette Raasch who had hosted me on my last visit to Queenstown on project 2. Bruce is, or rather was, a Round Tabler but because he has reached that magical age of 40 at which Tablers have to retire he is now what Tablers refer to as a “41er”. I also got to meet up with the other Tabler, a character of note, Adie Peltenburg and his wife Di and we spent a lovely evening at which I tucked into a rack of amazing spare ribs and had a lengthy chat about the project.

 

Meet Bruce and Evette Raasch of Queenstown fame.

I was going to include my trip to Fort Beaufort into this blog, but my visit to this amazing town and the truly incredibly hospitable people I met there, not to mention the photo’s, is going to be a blog all on it’s own, so I am going to say cheers for now and will include all the details of my visit to Fort Beaufort in my next blog, so Julia you were let off the hook. So stay well, stay safe and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me’ (Steve Heath)

Please send your comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

All comments and opinions expressed on this website are those of Steve Heath and not of the sponsors to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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 2010 has come and gone as has the celebrations associated with the ‘festive’ period and so begins the new year of 2011. I hope everyone who frequents the ‘Buddy and Me’ website had a fantastic Christmas and are looking forward to a productive, prosperous and above all a safe 2011.

Well as I said in my last blog for 2010, I left Buddy in Pinetown and took the Translux bus back to Jo’burg where May and I had a relatively quiet and peaceful Christmas and New Year, although the usual idiots of the area made our dogs lives miserable with their blasting of fire crackers.

I returned to Pinetown on the 5th of January where I spent a few days with my family and celebrated my granddaughter, Michaela’s 12th birthday with her.

Unfortunately Buddy was not happy about the fact that I left him in Pinetown and showed his aggravation by playing up. Fortunately my son-in-law, Zak Forte, is a fundi electrician; having a refrigeration and air-conditioning company in Pinetown called Southern Air and Swift Air and so sorted the problems out. The problems were mainly related to wiring and switches which had corroded due to  water getting into the dashboard and fuse box, but eventually on Monday morning (10th) ‘Buddy and Me’ headed out of Pinetown and travelled south again to where we had left off on the 6th of December in Port Shepstone.

En-route to Port Shepstone, I stopped off in Chatsworth where I enjoyed a breakfast with that lovely lady, Sharon Jeenabhai whose 10 year old daughter Natasha was brutally raped, beaten and murdered in 1995 by that savage Devapragasen Munsamy. He was sentenced, or so the court said at the time, to 60 years imprisonment, only to be told recently that the sentence was in fact an effective 30 years, but now the authorities want to release him on parole after having completed a miserable 15 years and is in the prime of his life at 33 years of age, at the time of raping and murdering Natasha he was 18 years of age. For more details of this horrible story you can read about it on my blogs 10, 11 and 12. Also if you would like to assist with the Natasha petition to stop the savage being released on parole you can contact me via my email: steve@buddyandme.co.za and I will forward you a copy of the petition.

Sharon and me outside the centre in Chatsworth after enjoying a scrumptious breakfast.

My accommodation in Port Shepstone was with my friend from Lambton, Darren who has that amazing little dog named Rasta, see my blog 12 for pictures and details, but at time I could not take Rasta to the beach fishing because of the incessant rain, which has been flooding out most of South Africa over the past couple of months.

So to kick off this first blog for 2011, I am going to discuss a few issues which were raised in my many discussions with people during my ‘break’. Not all of them were specifically about child rape and so bare with me, and please if you would like to add your comments or opinions please do not hesitate in communicating them to me via my email; steve@buddyandme.co.za.

I think a heading for these ‘issues’ could be “Laws that don’t apply to ALL South Africans” or “Those laws that cost the tax payers a fortune to write and promulgate, but which are never enforced – for whatever reason”.

The first of these is the law pertaining to (my pet hate) the use of fire crackers! Legislation was put in place prohibiting the purchasing of and lighting of fire works by any person who is not in possession of a permit. Legislation also restricts the use of fire works to organised functions and only registered individuals with permits are allowed to use them.

In-spite of all this expensive legislation, every café and corner shop around South Africa sells these infernal things and whenever there is an Indian celebration of any kind or at Christmas and New Year, thousands of fire works are set off, mostly just with an irritating loud bang which petrifies the dogs and cats in the area and phone calls to the local police stations only produce responses such as “We have more important things to deal with than you being irritated by the loud bangs and your dogs being scared”. Well please tell me then “WHY DID OUR GOVERNMENT SPEND THE MILLIONS OF RANDS OF TAX PAYERS HARD EARNED MONEY PRODUCING THESE LAWS”.

My next gripe is regarding the requirement of fishing licences. Millions of Rands are spent on the purchase of fishing licences by fishermen all over South Africa. The question that was raised was “What benefit do the fishermen get from all the money spent on the licences”. We see no parking facilities being established along our coast to provide fishermen with safe fishing spots, taking into account the fact that the government banned fishermen from taking their vehicles onto the beaches and being able to reach good spots and ensuring the safety of the vehicle by being able to park it right next to them on the beach.

Also we are seeing thousands of fishermen fishing on the beaches and rivers around South Africa who do not ‘according to the authorities’ need to have a licence because they are “subsistence fishermen”, in other words their families survive on the fish they catch and so these individuals – according to the response from the authorities’ – are not bound by the regulations pertaining to the bag limits and size regulations for fish.

Then of course there is the hum dinger of gripes. In South Africa we have, or rather so I am told, a law pertaining to ‘Bigamy’, that being the law restricting a man (or woman) to being married to one wife or husband at a time. But in-spite of this legislation our own President has five with another one on the way. (Mind you if I was paid as much as Mr. Zuma in the form of a ‘wife’ allowance’ I would also start collecting them) So the law is applicable to some but depending on ones religion or, dare I say it, ones ‘culture’ this law does not apply. Whatever happened to the saying, one for all and all for one? The laws of a country should be applicable to all citizens and if someone of another country or religion or culture or whatever does not like the laws of that country well then go and live in a country where you can “live your culture or religion”.

 

 I thought I would share this with you; a fortune was spent by the South African Government on this campaign?

And then finally, well not really finally because I have heard so many gripes during the past few months alone that if I had to write about them all this blog would become a pretty lengthy book. But this gripe was about the ‘Arrive Alive’ campaign. The gripes were surrounding the fact that the adds state that “Speed Kills”, and so if “Speed Kills” how come we constantly see executive conveys conveying our government ministers around South Africa at incredibly high speed. Obviously their lives don’t mean much.

Secondly the government has banned, as I have already said in one of the gripes, people from driving on the beaches because there were individuals who acted like hooligans and damaged the sand dunes and became a danger to other beach users, but this did not entice the government to place heavy fines on these individuals or black list the vehicle concerned etc and police the situation but rather just ban everyone from driving on the beach. So with this in mind, during the festive period we are provided with detailed statistics regarding the number of deaths on our roads and we receive detailed information when an individual is killed due to one of the drivers having consumed alcohol. So, why do we not receive detailed statistics regarding the number of deaths caused by taxi drivers because everyone in South Africa is fully aware of the fact that taxi drivers are responsible for more deaths on our roads than those caused by any other means?

 So having done what I promised a number of people, which was to write about these gripes, that concludes my gripe session for this blog and I look forward to your response, comments or opinion regarding these gripes and possibly hearing about your gripe.

And so now it’s time for my personal KING gripe, and that is the fact that we are still seeing child rape suspects being released on bail to allow them to intimidate rape victims and their families and to force them to not co-operate with the authorities and obtain a conviction. Secondly, as I have written about in Natasha’s case, we are seeing convicted child rapists being sentenced to lengthy periods of time only to be released after only having served a fraction of their time in prison.

On this point, I have been told by many senior police officers as well as prosecutors that “The government’s attitude has changed” and they have adopted a “No nonsense attitude with respect to convicted child rapists” and that “lengthy periods of imprisonment are being handed down”. Well to these individuals and to the government my response is “You can bullxxxt some of the people some of the time, but you can’t bullxxxt all of the people all of the time”. The reason I say this is because it’s easy to hand down a lengthy and ‘appropriate’ sentence, but sticking to that is another matter entirely. We, as South Africans, have seen far too many times individuals being convicted and Government splabs off about how they are combating crime, corruption or whatever by convicting individuals only to find a short while later that the individual has been released for all sorts of pathetic reasons after only having served a fraction of his or her time in prison.

Okay so now on with my project. After leaving Port Shepstone nice and early on Wednesday morning (12th Jan), and can you believe it, it was not raining, I headed to Lusikisiki in the old Transkei via Port Edward, Bizane and Flagstaff. I made brief stops in Bizane and Flagstaff where I chattered to police and a lot of local residents and discovered that the raping of children in both these areas is completely out of control and that there is absolutely no support structure available for victims of this disgusting crime.

In Lusikisiki I visited the Beares store where I met the store manager Wilson Mancwath and his friendly staff.

 

Meet Wilson – extreme right of the picture with white jersey – and the rest of the staff of Beares Lusikisiki.

Following a chat I had with the staff about the project and the fact that the so called ”rehabilitation’ programme” implemented by the government for convicted criminals is in fact an encouragement to commit crime, including child rape, rather than acting as a deterrent punishment, Wilson told me of a case he was personally affected by in Kokstad. Evidently a man who was well known to him and his family was convicted on a charge of robbery and sentenced to 10 years in jail. Due to ‘good behaviour’ he was released after having served 5 years of his sentence. A short while after being released he decided that life ‘outside’ was much harder and so turned back to crime believing that he could reap the benefits of the crime and then ‘if’ caught could return to prison where he would be fed, clothed and enjoy the sporting facilities and other protective benefits associated with prison life.

From Lusikisiki I continued along the forever climbing, dipping and winding road through massive hilly and green countryside to Port St Johns where I was once again welcomed by my good friends John and Sherol Ferreira (Ferrari) at their magic resort Mountain View Inn.

                                                                            

The approach to Port St Johns.

The Umzimvubu River mouth (The name has been changed to the Pondoland River) at Port St Johns. The town is situated at the mouth just around the corner of the mountain on the right side of the river.

John and Sherol outside The Mountain View Inn.

 www.mountainviewinn.co.za

 email: info@mountainviewinn.co.za

A great place to stay if you ever visit Port St Johns

Well with that I am going to bid you farewell for now, so until I write again following my visits to Umtata, Queenstown, Fort Beaufort, King Williams Town,  Mndatsane, Gonube and East London and then forever south wards, I will say keep well, stay safe and of course keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me’ (Steve Heath)

Please send your comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on this blog and website are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors of the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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 welcome to blog 12 of ‘Buddy and Me’. This passed 12 days has been a real eye opener for me with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children in the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast area as well as the goings on in the South Africa Police Service with regard to whether or not the so called ‘FCS’ unit has been ‘officially’ re-instated or not and the general crime situation in this area.

In my last blog I briefly mentioned my visit to the Umzinto town and the mob march that took place there. What I did not mention, due to the fact that my blog was longer than anticipated, was the story ‘behind the story’ related to my visit to the horrible and disgustingly dirty town of Umzinto.

Monday morning before heading to Umzinto, I experienced something really weird. I have often been asked “Have you had any problems while travelling all over Africa in Buddy”, and my answer has always been “Yes, one must expect problems when doing the kind of travelling ‘Buddy and Me’ do, but fortunately the ‘Big Boss’ upstairs seems to like ‘Buddy and Me’ and when we have experienced problems it has always been where somebody is at hand to help us and sort out the problem”. Well something happened on Monday morning that proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that ‘Buddy and Me’ do have a ‘Guardian Angel’ looking after us.

In the 5 years Buddy and Me’ have been together on this project I have never dreamt of Buddy or the project, but in the early hours of Monday morning I had a dream that ‘Buddy and Me’ visited a ‘place’ which involved me having to climb a large set of stairs to reach the front door of the place we were visiting; in fact when I woke and told Kathy (Kathy being my friend Stuart Knox’s wife who hosted me accommodation for the weekend) about it in the morning, I said it appeared to be a school of some sort. On telling Kathy about the dream I said it appeared to be rather a bad area and that I had parked Buddy on what appeared to be a sandy and generally grotty road of some sort. Soon after entering ‘the building’ in my dream, I heard a lot of shouting which sounded like a riot and on looking outside discovered to my horror that a large mob were attacking Buddy and ripping him to pieces and there were people shouting and running everywhere.

On entering Umzinto on Monday morning to visit the Beares store I was shocked at the mess the town was in. The streets and paving have been ripped up in order to repave them in an attempt to make the town more presentable but at present it is in a really bad way. I was forced to park Buddy on a muddy section of ‘road-side’ outside the store and made my way through the rubble to the stairs to reach the store.

While chatting to Wendy Naidoo, the Beares store manager and her friendly staff, a policeman entered the store and said that they were asking all the business’s in the town to close and to put in place any protective shutters they have, (fortunately Beares have such shutters) and to remove cars from the streets because they were expecting a demonstration march through the town and the police could not guarantee their safety. Wendy suggested I move Buddy from the front and park him in the ally next to the store, but when I looked at Buddy ‘at the bottom of the long flight of stairs’ in front of the store, parked in a ‘really bad area’ and the fact that the police were expecting a ‘really rowdy mob’, I could not help but think of my dream and wonder if it was not a premonition.

With this in mind I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I made the decision to make a very hasty retreat from the town of Umzinto and so bid Wendy and her staff a hasty farewell and departed. The front page of the newspaper the next morning confirmed that I had made the right decision because the heading of the paper said “Umzinto Burnsand the picture showed flames coming from numerous burning objects in the main street of the town. Later when I told Kathy what had happened she shook her head in wonder and said “Absolutely Steve, you have a ‘Guardian Angel’ looking after you”.

 

Umzinto Burns

For the duration of my stay in the Port Shepstone area I was kindly hosted by a friend from the Gem Bar in Lambton Germiston, Darren, who moved to the South Port – Port Shepstone area – a year ago and has been in Jo’burg for the passed three weeks and so I had the run of the house to myself, well not quite. His Malawian ‘houseman’, Fraction (believe me that is his name) was looking after the place and is fortunately a very good cook which made my life really easy, he has also become a pretty good fisherman in his short stay on the coast and took me to a few of his ‘not so well known’ fishing spots where although he caught a few fish I remained ‘fishless’.

My visit to the Beares store in Port Shepstone provided me with a very interesting chat with an incredibly dedicated police official who on introducing herself said she was a member of – yes you guessed – that ever controversial unit “The FCS unit” of the SAPS.

She confirmed that the rape of children in the area, and believe me the area the Port Shepstone ‘FCS’ unit covers is a huge one, is absolutely rotten when it comes to the rape of children. She also confirmed that the ‘FCS’ unit has 15 ‘satellite’ police stations in it’s cluster to look after with a total staff of 17 staff members. On this subject I must say that I have never seen so many traffic cops as I saw on the streets of Port Shepstone. There were at least 4 or 5 of them on virtually every street – sorry what was that my guest told me, “17 ‘FCS’ unit members” to provide services to how many police stations in what size area? (See Blog 2 for more details on this subject)

To add to their woes, the unit suffers with the usual problem experienced by all police stations around South Africa, that being no vehicles, or rather not enough vehicles to handle the work load. The vehicles that are allocated to these station are completely the wrong kind of vehicles – mostly Golf’s and Toyota’s – due to the fact that the areas they have to contend with are very rough with dirt roads which require bakkies and in a lot of places 4X4’s. I have written extensively about my views on this topic, see my previous blogs regarding the huge amounts of money the government is spending on the Metro police to provide them with top notch vehicles in abundance to ‘catch traffic offenders’ after all this must be a far bigger priority than stopping the rape of children. 

The 15 stations which form the Port Shepstone cluster are in a radius of between 80 and 100 kilometres with the furthest station being 130 kilometres away. Obviously with only three police officials on call duty to respond to reports of child rape by the cluster stations, this makes it impossible to attend to reports and for proper attention to be given to obtaining statements and evidence which can lead to the arrest and successful conviction of the culprit. Hence the disastrous situation we find ourselves in when it comes to the effective handling of child rape cases by the South African Police Service in South Africa and hence our ridiculously low conviction rate of 4%. 

On this subject – the ridiculously low conviction rate issue – my guest from the ‘FCS’ unit confirmed that the reason for the low conviction rate is mainly attributed to the extremely lengthy time it takes for investigating officers to obtain DNA/forensic results from the labs, the average time being, according to her, anything from 2 to 4 years, which results in the suspect being released and because he knows he’s guilty makes ‘a duck’ so when the police eventually obtain the vital evidence he cannot be found.

The other main contributing factor to the low conviction rate is of course the fact that on average a child rape case takes 2-3 years to go to trial. My guest believes, and I concur, that all child rape cases should get precedence over any other case and should on completion of investigation be allocated to the top of the court list. The reason for this being that our courts expect a child, who has been raped and subjected to extreme trauma and who has subsequently been provided with counselling – by private NGO’s I might add – because the South African government/authorities only provides free counselling to convicted rapists – to remember in detail what happened anything up to three or four years down the line, hell most adults can’t remember what happened to them a few days ago, so how can it be expected of a child to recall, in detail, what happened so long ago.

Another topic we discussed was the fact that it appears that our judicial system, although doing a sterling job in handing down some really great sentences for child rape, is being over thrown by the ‘other system’ namely the Correctional Services and Parole Board who are insisting on releasing child rapists long before their sentences have been served.

During the last few weeks, which marked the ‘16 days of activism’, the newspapers have been inundated with articles concerning the rape of children and headlines have reflected sentences such as ‘life imprisonment’ etc being handed down by our courts. This is really great but when we see a savage like Devapragasen Munsamy who raped and brutally murdered little 10 year old Natasha Sukdeo (See blogs 10 and 11 for details of petition) being released after only having served 15 of his 60 year sentence, one wonders if our esteemed ‘authorities’ know what they are doing.

It is widely believed, and if our government questions my statement I am confident that a national poll in the form of a referendum would prove me right, that the far majority of South African citizens support a system of child rapists being jailed for the rest of their natural lives without the possibility of parole, the only ones I believe who would probably vote against it would be child rapists.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that a Thuthuzela Care Centre was opened at the Port Shepstone provincial/Regional Hospital on the 1st of December 2010. Of course I had to pay the centre a visit and after a chat with a lady who specifically asked me not to mention her name as she could get into trouble for speaking to me, it was once again confirmed that although I believe that the Thuthuzela Care Centre’s are the roots of the solution of stopping the rape of children, the government, or rather the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) is handling the establishment of the centres all wrong.

The initial concept of the Thuthuzela Care Centres was to have qualified and properly trained police officials together with a doctor, forensic nurse and social worker based at the centres to provide a ‘one stop’ service to victims of child rape as well as victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately, as has been the case with all the Thuthuzela Care Centres I have visited to date, there was no police, doctor, forensic nurse or social worker present at the centre on my visit and I was told that “they phone for these people when a victim arrives at the centre”. What a waist of an absolutely brilliant concept!!

My many talks with local residents along the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast during the passed two weeks has inspired me to write another message to our countries esteemed Minister of Tourism, Mr. Martinus Van Schalkwyk (See my last message to him in blog 6). As I said in the last message, “you frequently ask why South Africans are spending fortunes to travel over-seas for holidays when they should be spending their time and money touring South Africa”. Well after having spent sometime on the KZN South Coast I can answer that question for you quite easily.

Everywhere I have travelled on the coast and in every single conversation with the local residents, I have been warned not to go on the beaches to swim or fish due to the violent crime taking place on the beaches involving the rape of women, robbery and brutal murder of innocent holiday makers, residents and fishermen. The local papers have been full of horrific incidents involving the brutal rape and murder of women and children and senseless killing of innocent and peace loving men wanting to enjoy the splendour of the beaches while fishing. So my response to you is, maybe if you didn’t spend all your time in expensive hotels and other forms of accommodation, and experienced the ‘average South Africans’ holiday and was accosted and robbed or had a member of your family raped and brutally murdered while on a ‘lovely South African KZN South Coast beach’, maybe you would change your tune and rather encourage South Africans to rather go and holiday over-seas”.

I did however manage to get some fishing in, of course I listened to the local residents and ensured that Fraction (Darren’s Malawian ‘Houseman) accompanied me, together with my trusted friend Rasta, who is an incredible little pup who Fraction saved from the jaws of hell in a local township, but alas I still remained ‘fishless’. When Fraction saved him and arrived ‘home’ with Rasta he was a skinny little thing, just bones and skin, and was very timid and scared but by the time I left he had filled out and was bossing Daren’s other two larger dogs around like he was a fully grown Rottweiler.

 

The two, okay so I will include myself as well, the three great fishermen, Fraction, Rasta and me.

When it came time for me to leave, I searched all over for Rasta and eventually found him.

I think he was trying to tell me something – he was sleeping in my over night bag. I have to tell you that I make a concerted effort not to get attached to animals while on this project and have on a number of occasions fallen very close to breaking this rule and in the case of Rasta I failed miserably and so when I eventually left I left with a terrible ache in my chest, but Fraction has promised that he will look after Rasta in my absence and on my return to the area in January to commence with the third leg of the ‘Buddy and Me’ project 3 I hope to visit him and report to you all that he is doing fine, so stay tuned to the www.buddyandme.co.za website for more information on the life and times of Rasta.

To finish off this, my last blog for this leg of ‘Buddy and Me’ project 3, the next starting on the 12th January 2011, I would like to expand on a comment I made in my earlier blog (Blog 8) in which I wrote about the service issues I have with ‘Child Line’. In my interview with my ‘FCS’ unit member guest in Port Shepstone I asked her how many reports she had received, or heard of being reported to the police, of child rape or the sexual abuse of children by ‘Child Line’, and her answer was “never”. According to her she has never, in all the years that she has been associated with the South African Police Service, had a case of the rape or sexual abuse of a child reported by Child Line, and so I rest my case as far as my issues with ‘Child Line’ are concerned.

With that ‘Buddy and Me’ will bid you – all those people who avidly read the ‘Buddy and Me’ blogs on a regular basis, and that includes all of those people from so many different corners of the world – a very merry, blessed and happy Christmas and wish you all a safe and prosperous New Year.

                                                                                               

Caring regards from:

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

and

Me (Steve Heath)’

Please note that all comments and opinions on this blog/website are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors or supporters to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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)

During the last few days I have visited areas on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast which according to the many individuals I have spoken to, indicates that this area is absolutely rotten to the core with the raping of children. I have spoken to so many people involved in the fight against the rape of children and received so many telephone calls and emails regarding this disgusting crime that it blows my mind. I have also been reading articles in the newspapers which have totally confused me and I will write about this in a few minutes.

But first up I want to mention that while in Amanzimtoti I visited the Beares store in the Arbour Crossing shopping centre and apart from getting to meet and chat to the Beares friendly staff, I got to meet up with two lovely ladies from ‘Operation Bobbi Bear’ in the form of Thuli Sibiya and Lammegien van der Linde. ‘Bobbi Bear’ is doing a sterling job in providing a support structure for victims of child rape as well as support for many other victims of domestic violence.

The founder and head honcho of ‘Bobbi Bear’ Jackie Branfield, was instrumental in my decision to drive my Beach Buggy ‘Buddy’ around South Africa dedicated to finding a solution to stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children. In 2004 she convinced me that the rape of children had reached such epidemic proportions that it was destroying the future of our country and that unless something was done urgently to stop it, South Africa was on a path to hell. The information I have obtained since then while on my 5 year research project ‘Buddy and Me – Searching for a Solution to stopping the Rape of Children’ has confirmed 100% that she was, and is right.

Unfortunately my lengthy chat with Thuli and Lammegien (And if you are wondering what sort of name is that, she hails from Holland and has only been in the country for a short time but will be here for the next two years) confirmed that the rape of children is happening on a frightening scale, and to give you some idea of what I mean by a “frightening scale”, they confirmed that ‘Bobbi Bear’ handles on average 10 new cases of child rape every day which equates to around 300 new cases per month (and there are still many which are not reported or Bobbi Bear is not aware of) with 6 counsellors to handle this massive work load.

So to Jackie and your amazing group of ladies, hats off to you ladies you are doing an amazing job for the kids, keep up the great work.

 

From left is Thuli and Lammegien and next to me is Frank Gottschalk the Beares store manager of Arbour Crossing Centre Amanzimtoti.

Of course the Beares staff couldn’t be left out of a picture with Buddy. You will note that I have adopted a new companion, the last one who travelled extensively with me on my ‘Buddy and Me’ travels, was adopted by a young child rape victim a few weeks ago, so we bid a warm welcome to the new ‘Buddy and Me’ companion baby Bobbi Bear.

My accommodation for the two nights of Thursday and Friday were once again out of this world due to the kind and generous support of the Protea Hotel group and so ‘Buddy and Me’ spent two very relaxing nights in luxury at the ‘Protea Karridene Beach Hotel’. So to the management and staff of this lovely hotel, thank you for your kind support and hospitality to the project, it is sincerely appreciated.

 

Buddy strutting his colours outside the ‘Protea Hotel Karridene Beach’ flanked by Sherleen Pillay, on the right, the front office manager  and Nombuso Mbeko the hotels debtors clerk.

They say you “can run but you can’t hide” from ‘Buddy and Me’ and in Roger (the Dodger) Bailey’s case this proved to be the case. Roger is a good friend, but reprobate anyway, who when in Jo’burg frequented the Gem Bar in Lambton Germiston where we shared more than an ale or two discussing how we could solve the worlds problems. He has since moved to Amanzimtoti and on hearing that I was at the Protea Karridene Hotel wasted no time in getting there on my first evening and insisted that we continue our discussions on solving the problems of the world over a ‘few’ ales. So thanks Roger and Celia for your great companionship and friendship.

 

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you who is who in this picture, but the ‘old man’ on the left of the picture is Roger (The Dodger) and the ‘other’ good looking one is Celia, Roger’s friend.

My travels on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast during the passed few days has also included a visit to the Beares store in Umzinto which according to information I have been given indicates that this area along with the near by Umgababa area, is particularly bad when it comes to the rape of children and something drastic has to be done to curb this scourge which is running amok in these areas. To add to this situation and one which is making matters even worse, is the fact that apart from Bobbi Bear in Amanzimtoti there is virtually no support structure for mothers wanting to report the rape of their children or themselves for that matter.

My visit to the Beares store in Umzinto was unfortunately cut short due to a visit from a member of the local police constabulary who was calling in at all the business in the town and strongly urging them to close their doors and steel shutters and for people to move their cars from the streets as there was a mass demonstration march about to commence and the police could not guarantee the safety of the business’s and vehicles in the streets of the town. I of course had no intentions of jeopardising Buddy’s health or physique and so having completed my chat with the staff, bid them farewell and made a hasty departure from the soon to be chaotic streets of Umzinto.

From the Protea Karridene Beach Hotel I headed for Umkomaas where I was to be hosted for the weekend by my good friends Stuart and Kathy Knox. But unfortunately while packing on Saturday morning and preparing to head for Stuart and Kathy’s place I received a call from Kathy and received the terrible news that Stuart had suffered a massive stroke at 6am that morning and had just been rushed by ambulance to the Kingsway Hospital in Amanzimtoti.

Unfortunately Kathy cannot drive and so I decided to delay my departure southwards on Monday morning to help her by driving her to the hospital to visit Stuart, who by the way is recovering well and is reacting positively to the treatment provided by the Intensive Care Unit in the Kingsway Hospital.

 

                                                                                                Pic 631 – This picture was taken of Kathy and Stuart on my last visit while on ‘Buddy and Me’ project 2 – Soon after this picture was taken, Stuart was diagnosed with throat cancer and has undergone a number of operations to his throat, so to my good buddy Stuart, hang in there my friend and get well soon. And to Kathy stay strong your man will be up and on his feet and back home before you can say “Buddy and Me”.

Fortunately when I was forced to leave, due to previously made appointments and schedules, Kathy’s friend arrived to take over the duties of chauffeur and so I could continue my travels southward.

In the beginning of this blog, I said that I wanted to write about a few issues which have come to light during the passed few days which I believe have a major effect on the rape of children but because I have written more than I thought I would in this blog I am going to restrict my comments to one issue, and this one I believe is a major issue affecting the combating of child rape and one which I have griped about for the passed 2 years on an ongoing basis and one which has proven to be a highly controversial issue and one of extreme contention during my discussions with members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). The issue I am referring to is the highly controversial FCS (Family and Child Sexual Offences Unit) of the SAPS.

If you have been following the ‘Buddy and Me’ project for the past 5 years and avidly (I hope) reading my blogs, you will have read my frequent comments about the confusion which reigns surrounding whether or not the FCS unit has been officially  re-instated/established or not.  

To refresh your memory, the CPU (Child Protection Unit – formed many, many years ago by the then South African Police Force and which was regarded by many as one of the best dedicated child abuse fighting forces in the world) was disbanded in 1998 by the new South African government. Senior sources claimed that the disbandment of the unit was “in-light of the ‘restructuring’ of the police” and the FCS unit was established a short while later. The FCS unit however was officially disbanded in 2007 for reasons that were not given to Joe Public and for reasons which no-one can understand or comprehend.

During my extensive travels around South Africa during 2008 and 2009, I visited many police stations and held discussions with literally hundreds of police officials and officers who identified themselves as being “members of the FCS unit”. When asked “But has the FCS unit not been disbanded” the response has always been “no, we are still operating as the FCS unit on the cluster basis” (For details of this ‘system’ see my blog number 7 – 8th – 10th November 2010) but in many areas it was told to me that “Yes, the FCS unit has officially been disbanded and so for that reason there is no FCS unit in this area”. Confusion reigns!

In February this year (2010), the minister announced on national television, that the FCS unit would officially be re-instated as from the 1st April 2010 (For details refer to my blog ‘Day 161 – 163, 15th to 17th February 2010). Since having started the ‘Buddy and Me’ project 3 on the 5th October 2010, I have met with many police officials and officers who have categorically confirmed that the FCS unit has officially been re-instated on a national basis and is functioning on the cluster system.

So after all of this, I ask you, with tears running down my legs, how can the minister of police, Nathi Mthethwa, when speaking at a Chamber of Commerce dinner in Jo’burg on the evening of the 24th of November 2010, (8 months after the FCS unit was ‘supposed’ to have been re-established) make the following statement, and I quote:

A nation that does not protect its mothers and children is doomed. The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units (FCS) are to be re-instated in an attempt to strengthen the fight against crimes committed against woman and children”. And then we wonder why the rape of children is spiralling out of control. It’s obvious ‘somebody’ has no clue of what’s going on in our police service. Talk about ‘confusion reigning’. I’m looking forward to meeting another senior officer of SAPS who ‘believes’ that he or she is an officer in the so called, but officially never re-instated, unit of the SAPS’s FCS.

If you have read my last blog, blog number 10, which I deliberately left on longer by not posting this up-dated blog, you will have read about the atrocity related to the authorities wanting to release the savage, Devapragsen Munsamy on bail after only having spent 15 of his 60 year sentences for having brutally raped and beat to death the lovely 10 year old Natasha in 1995.

Since meeting Natasha’s mother Sharon, I have maintained contact with her and supported her in her endeavours to secure names to the petition she is doing in order to ensure that this savage remains behind bars for the rest of his natural life and hopefully rots in jail.

Below is the last email I received from Sharon and I am sure that once having read this email you will feel the same heart break I feel for her, having to firstly suffer the extreme heart ache and sorrow of being told that your beautiful little 10 year old daughter has been brutally raped and murdered, then be granted closure when the savaged is sentenced to 60 years imprisonment, only to have to start all the anguish all over again when told by the authorities that they are going to be releasing him after only having served a fraction of the original sentence “Because he has seen the light and is studying the Bible!’.


From: sharonj@medis.co.za [mailto:sharonj@medis.co.za]
Sent: 30 November 2010 02:50 PM
Subject: Re: PETITION

Thank u, I’m so broken coz i just heard results of the autopsy and this was not mentioned at the trial. She was raped, sodomised beaten, tortured, and they broke both arms and both legs. The attorney gave me a chance until 2morrow coz I’m too upset. Our law allowed the main person to walk free coz states witness jus so he can do it again and turn state witness again. I’m so hurt and traumatised. How do I carry on ???


This is an email received in response to our plea in support of the petition to stop Devapragsen Munsamy from being released. If you want to support this you can contact me on my email: steve@buddyandme.co.za and I will happily forward the petition to you.

To whom it may concern;

I am against child abuse including your objection to Devapragasen Munsamy coming out on parole, I think it is a disgrace that any one would even consider to allow this man to be set free after what he has done and then to allow him to move into the same area of residence of the family he has so devastation hurt   if we allow this man to roam the streets what is it that he wont do it again and tear another family apart what has the last 15 years taught him i think nothing, don’t allow this man to hurt another one of or children PLEASE DONT. 

Amryl donnelly rudings

To end off this blog, I would like to say that for the next two nights I am staying in a fantastic hotel on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast which is situated about 20 kilometres north of Port Shepstone called the ‘Pumula Beach Hotel’. I have kindly been sponsored this tremendous accommodation courtesy of the Hotel’s group Marketing Manager Debbie Fortmann and the Hotels General Manager Philip Gibson. So to the management and staff of this lovely hotel, thank you for your kind support and incredible hospitality to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project, it is sincerely appreciated.

 I mean can you get a better sight to wake up to in the morning. This is the view from my room! Absolutely exquisite.

So with that I will bid you farewell for now, so until later when I get a chance to write again, stay well, stay safe and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me’ (Steve Heath)

Please send you comments and requests for the Natasha – keep the savage Devapragsen Munsamy in jail to rot – petition to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on this blog/website are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors or supporters to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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)

After bidding farewell to the friendly staff of the Protea Hilton Hotel a little north of Pietermaritzburg, ‘Buddy and Me’ took the highway to Pinetown. As usually occurs in this area, the morning was very misty and cold but cleared up as I got nearer to Pinetown and of course being a Friday the traffic got steadily busier as I neared Pinetown as well.

Friday afternoon and early evening was spent in my son in-law Zak’s workshop (Southern Air air-conditioning and refrigeration) carrying out fibre-glassing repairs to the damage Buddy had sustained when the truck had side swiped us on leaving Jo’burg what seems like months ago and Saturday was spent repainting the fibre-glassing job and watching the humiliating defeat of the Boks by Scotland.

Sunday dawned a misty cool morning but I knew that this meant that it was going to be a pretty hot day, so Zak and his step-father Tom and I loaded the fishing rods and other paraphernalia and headed for Umkomaas to catch up on a bit of fishing, or rather in our case ‘angling’.

 The three ‘serious’ anglers, Zak on the right of picture and Tom on his right, obviously that’s me on Tom’s right. As you can plainly see, there are no fish in sight.

The three ‘serious’ anglers, Zak on the right of picture and Tom on his right, obviously that’s me on Tom’s right. As you can plainly see, there are no fish in sight.

Monday morning found ‘Buddy and Me’ visiting the Beares store in Pinetown where something a member of the SAPS – FCS unit told me proved to be correct. He said that when considering that the rape and sexual abuse of children should be paramount in the minds of our government, it is incredible that when considering the number of the traffic police in Pinetown, and especially the number of traffic police on foot walking around issuing parking tickets compared to the number of SAPS – FCS unit members who are expected to provide essential services to victims of child rape and sexual abuse, the FCS unit members are out numbered by about three to one.

I say this proved correct because I stopped in Hill Street in Pinetown opposite the Beares store and quickly ran into the store to establish if the manager had arranged permission for Buddy to be able to park on the pavement outside the store as he has done for our visit in the passed. When he confirmed he had, I ran back to Buddy, having been gone for no more than a couple of minutes, and a lady traffic cop was busy writing out a R100-00 parking ticket for my having failed to place a few cents in the parking metre. When I explained that I merely parked there for a couple of minutes and explained that Buddy was in fact busy raising essential funds for child rape victims, I got a hostile look and was told “Tell your problems to the magistrate”. While standing waiting for her to complete writing out the ticket, and looking around, I noticed more traffic cops in that one street than the total number of members employed in the SAPS Pinetown FCS unit which provides services investigating child rape to a total of seven other police stations in a large district around Pinetown.

The manager of the Hill Street store arranged for an interview with the local newspaper ‘The Highway mail’ and the reporter, Jason van Deventer has promised to do an especially good article on the project and exposé on what is happening with regard to the rape of children in South Africa.

Staff and guests outside the Beares store in Hill Street.

Staff and guests outside the Beares store in Hill Street.

From the Beares store in Hill Street, ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for the Sanlam Centre shopping centre where we visited the second Beares store in Pinetown where at least Buddy enjoyed the comforts of covered parking and safety of not being hassled by traffic cops.

On Tuesday ‘Buddy and Me’ made a visit to the Beares store and area of Chatsworth where because of a meeting arranged by the store manager Ashley Moodley, I got to meet an amazing lady by the name of Sharon Sukdeo and hear an earth shattering story involving her 10 year old daughter, Natasha.

On the 7th August 1995, Natasha (who was then 10 years old) was abducted by two barbarian savages, one named Devapragasen Munsamy – 18 years old, and the other whose name I have not yet learned but aged 20+, savagely raped and murdered. The two savages were neighbours of Sharon and her family and after raping and murdering Natasha they cut a hole in the base of a bed in the basement of their home and after placing Natasha in it covered her with a mattress. The two savages then assisted in a search for Natasha over the next four days after which they removed her body and dumped it in another neighbour’s yard.

Fortunately this was one of the 4% of cases of child rape that obtained a conviction and so Devapragasen Munsamy was convicted and sentenced to 60 years in jail. However, unfortunately the 20+ year old in-spite of the fact that he was implicated in the abduction and rape of a 15 year old girl two years previously, turned States evidence/witness and was released to be able to go out and rape and murder someone else’s child.

Obviously in cases of this nature, and I speak from experience because May’s (my better half) niece at the age of 26 was raped and murdered by a savage named JP Fourie in Bedfordview Jo’burg in 1996 and he was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment, a drop in the ocean when considering that Angie cannot return to her family after 16 years and continue her life as if nothing had happened, but as I said, in these cases it is essential that the family and loved ones get closure by  seeing the savage punished.

In Sharon and her family’s case I think she and her family obtained closure when Devapragasen Munsamy was sentenced to 60 years in jail, in-spite of the fact that the one savage walked free. However, now after a mere 15 years, the South African ‘Correctional Services” and parole board, have decided that because this savage has “Seen the light” and has been studying the Bible while he has been incarcerated, and the fact that some idiot who believes that this savage has been ‘rehabilitated’, he can be released on parole so that he can return to society and rape and murder someone else’s baby child.

The part that I find absolutely incredible is the fact that our law and constitution in South Africa makes it compulsory for a convicted rapist and child murderer to receive counselling, at the South Africa tax payers expense, from the moment he enters our prison and this continues when he is released on parole.

The part that is even more mind blowing for me, is that this ‘State/government/law/constitution of ours does not so much as pay one cent for the counselling of the mother and other family members who are traumatised beyond any comprehension by these savages actions.

I met and spent some time with Sharon and it hurt deeply to see the trauma and hurt this lady is suffering because of the barbaric things these savages did to her beautiful baby girl, and now our sick ‘system’ and some idiots want to destroy her life even more by allowing this savage to walk free and be allowed to do it again to another innocent child, and do it again he will!

Over the passed five years I have heard many ‘do-good’ individuals, who believe that “everyone” deserves a second chance. Well to those ‘do-good’ members of our society I would like to ask the following question? “Can you imagine where we as a country would be if everyone, (every member of our society) as you say, committed rape and murder expecting to receive a ‘second chance’? Why should some individuals be allowed to commit these atrocities against honest, peace loving citizens and be allowed to commit the atrocities and reap the benefits until such time as the law catches up with them, and then be given a second chance. If every member of our society was allowed to do this our country would be in a bigger mess than it already is. It has been proven many times that the only ‘second chance’ they get is the second chance to commit the crimes again and again.

I have received a petition in which those members of our society who believe that by releasing this savage, Devapragasen Munsamy will be an act of gross injustice, you can contact me on my email steve@buddyandme.co.za and I will be more than happy to forward it to you.

I have also asked my good friend and owner of the web company who hosts my website, Rory Albertyn of Radiant Networks.com to place the petition on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website as a link, so keep an eye out for that and ensure that when it appears you place your name on it and get all your family and friends to do the same, this is in the interests of stopping savages such as Devapragasen Munsamy and others like him being paroled and ensuring that they never have the possibility of being included back into society again.

 This is the man who made my meeting with Sharon possible, Ashley Moodley the Beares manager in Chatsworth. Ashley for that I am forever grateful.

This is the man who made my meeting with Sharon possible, Ashley Moodley the Beares manager in Chatsworth. Ashley for that I am forever grateful.

Pic 289 (These are the two ladies who ‘drove’ the ‘Buddy and Me’ project 2 from Beares side, and who provide unbelievable support to project 3. Andrea Bell (Left of picture) the former Marketing Executive of Beares and Bev Wishart, and oh yes that’s me on Bev’s left)

Before signing off, I would like to give a closing message to Sharon and her family and say that there are many people in South Africa, as well as in many other parts of the world, who feel your hurt and will be praying for you, so stay strong, stay well and stay safe.

And to everyone, it is our duty to keep all children safe, and that goes double for our government.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

and

Me (Steve Heath)’

Please send your comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on this website/blog are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors of the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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)

Monday morning, dawned a cloudy and cool morning and was in-fact pretty great weather for driving in a Beach Buggy. I left the Montrose Protea Hotel at 7:15am and headed south for Estcourt. Whenever and wherever possible I try and avoid toll roads, one reason being that I refuse to pay the ridiculously high toll fees, secondly the toll roads do not save anywhere near the amount of fuel or time to justify their exorbitant expense and thirdly the alternative routes usually offer far more scenic landscapes than the areas the toll roads go through.

Having expressed my dislike of using toll roads, I was forced to take the N3 highway from Montrose through Van Reenans’ Pass and then took the ‘cheaper’ (R28 -00) toll road to Ladysmith and then on through Colenso to Estcourt, to have continued on the N3 would have cost me R43-00. But I’m not finished with my gripe about the ridiculously priced toll fees, because the R28-00 toll road to Ladysmith must be the second biggest rip off I have ever seen, the first and biggest being the R75-00 toll on the south bound road from Zeerust to Swartruggens.

Both of these roads were built before I was born; and believe me that was (according to my granddaughter) a very long time ago (which according to my granddaughter was around the dinosaur ages) and both of these roads are still single lane roads on which when you get caught behind a truck you can get stuck for kilometres, but the Ladysmith road is even worse than the Swartruggens road, condition wise, and does not have any double lane sections for overtaking. Unfortunately because there is no other alternative route, I was forced to pay the blood money cost of R28-00 and arrived in Estcourt half an hour earlier than my scheduled visit of 10am.

During a chat with one of the Beares staff in Estcourt, she told me of a shocking situation she had and was still experiencing involving the reporting of a rape of a 6 year old little girl she had made to the Mooi River police.

Evidently 4 months ago she reported to the Mooi River police that she was aware of the fact that a neighbour’s 6 year old daughter was being raped and sexually abused on a regular basis by an uncle. She has in-fact made this report 3 times and on each occasion has been told that “It is not their problem” and that “She must report the matter to the department of Social development because it’s the social workers problem, not theirs”. She has phoned the department of development a few times and each time has been told that someone would contact her, to date she has not heard from anyone from the department of Social Development and nothing has been done about the situation. She told me that on the last occasion when she had phoned the Mooi River police, if they had responded they would have caught the barbarian savage of an uncle in the process of raping the little girl.

 I have subsequently contacted the ‘Child Line’ offices in Durban and hopefully something will be done about the situation, I will keep this blog updated with the situation.

Another discussion I got into which is not exactly about child rape but is connected in the sense that I believe that women are instrumental in aggravating the situation and encouraging men to perform these disgusting acts as well as other acts of what I, and I’m sure the far majority of South Africans, consider to be ‘anti-social behaviour.

The discussion was about the fact that our president, Mr Zuma has a number of wives, the last figure I heard was something like 5 with another about to be included into the fold. A comment was made to the effect that as a role model for the youth of South Africa, as well as the general population in the country, he is not doing a very good job when considering the vast amount of money being spent on the campaign to promote ‘Having only one partner”.

 

My response to this comment was that “In-spite of the fact that I detest Mr. Zuma as well as all ‘men’, and I use that word loosely’  because any individual of the male species who abuses women and children in whatever form does not deserve to be called “a man”, if the women put their foot down and did not accept being degraded and married to a man who is already married to a number of women, then he could not have so many wives. Just as the mothers who are not reporting the rape and sexual abuse of their children by their husbands are contributing to the problem by allowing these barbarian savages to get away with this disgusting crime.

So I believe that women who marry men who are already married and allow their husbands to rape and sexually abuse their children are just as guilty as their husbands, and so I’m sorry ladies but women are in-fact the cause of the problem and only you can bring a stop to both practises.

After my visit to the Estcourt Beares store, I was met by Round Tabler Lance Freeman, of Freemans Transport fame who showed me the way to their lovely home where I met the family and was hosted accommodation for the night.

Meet the Freeman family, from the left: Mom Gwen, Shannon, Trent (the short one), Jordan and dad Lance.

Meet the Freeman family, from the left: Mom Gwen, Shannon, Trent (the short one), Jordan and dad Lance.

After a brief chat with the family, Lance and I left in his Land Rover while Buddy rested up, and headed out to meet up with a few of the other tablers at the Wagon Drift Dam a short way out of town to indulge in a few sundowners and chat about the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and Round Table’s involvement in it.

 A few of the Tablers enjoying some quiet time at the wagon Drift Dam.

 A few of the Tablers enjoying some quiet time at the wagon Drift Dam.

And then it was time for me to be ‘pinned’ with the Estcourt Round table pin and presented with the Table banner by Table Chairman Lance Freeman.

And then it was time for me to be ‘pinned’ with the Estcourt Round table pin and presented with the Table banner by Table Chairman Lance Freeman.

The next morning, after Buddy and the trailer were both given a total wash and clean in Freemans Transport wash bay, ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for the Beares store in Howick. Here I was provided with some mind blowing information on HIV/Aids and the impact of it on the rape of children as well as how HIV positive people are ripping off the tax payer’s money in South Africa with the governments consent and assistance.

I have not studied the subject of HIV/Aids and so this information I am taking as gospel until such time as someone can provide me with alternative information via my email, but according to the information given to me by Cuthbert, who has studied the subject of HIV/Aids, HIV attacks the CD-4 cells of the body which are the “soldiers” of the body which protect the body against infections and viruses. Evidently the moment an individual is confirmed to be HIV positive; he or she is legible for a government grant.

If the individuals CD-4 count goes down below a certain reading, the individual is legible for an additional grant. I am not sure how often the CD-4 tests are carried out, but I was told that it is about every three months, and so prior to the test being down to establish the individuals CD-4 count, the individuals take the ARV’s at the “wrong time” which immediately lowers the CD-4 count and in this manner continue to receive the additional government grant.  

What is more shocking is the fact that if an HIV positive woman falls pregnant, she is legible for an additional government grant, so if she retains her CD-4 count at a low rate she is legible for 3 grants. And if you thought that was a shocker, Cuthbert went on to tell me that when the child is born, the mother, if she retains a low CD-4 count  she will receive:

  • Her HIV grant
  • An additional grant for low CD-4 count
  • Child grant
  • Additional grant for HIV positive child
  • Additional grant for low CD-4 count for the child

This provides the woman with a total of 5 government grants, and just to put the cap on it, according to his research and information, in many instances the child dies and the mother does not register the death and so continues to receive the child grants.

But I’m not finished with the earth shattering information I was provided with. As far as the effects of HIV/Aids on child rape goes, I was told that HIV positive males/barbarians/savages, whatever you want to call them – I refuse to call them men, rape HIV positive children in order to lower their own CD-4 counts in order to obtain the government grant for low CD-4 counts. Because evidently if an HIV positive individual has sex with another HIV/Aids positive person both their CD-4 counts are dramatically lowered. Pretty mind blowing stuff.

So if anyone has any contradicting information or additional information on this subject please email me on steve@buddyandme.co.za

 The Beares staff of Howick.

The Beares staff of Howick.

So after bidding farewell to the friendly staff of Beares in Howick, ‘Buddy and Me’ headed out of Howick with our destination being the Hilton Protea Hotel, which is situated a short way north of Pietermaritzburg on the top of Town Hill. The General Manager of the hotel, Sharon Wessels confirmed the hotels support for the ‘Buddy and Me’ project by providing me with 3 nights accommodation and what amazing accommodation it is.  It is an absolutely beautiful hotel built in the old Tudor style, and is currently being expanded to accommodate a lot more rooms. So if you ever find yourself in the Pietermaritzburg/Hilton area and need absolutely incredible accommodation, the Protea Hilton Hotel is undoubtedly the place to stay. Their telephone number is: +27 (0) 33 343 3311

 Buddy at the entrance to the lovely Protea Hilton Hotel.

Buddy at the entrance to the lovely Protea Hilton Hotel.

A view of the front of the hotel.

A view of the front of the hotel.

And of course the friendly staff of the hotel – And that’s the GM, Sharon Wessels on the extreme right of the picture and Angel Majola on the right of the lady in the light blue blouse in the centre of picture, who did all the communicating with me and arranging of the accommodation for me, thanks guys your friendliness and kind hospitality is sincerely appreciated)

Wednesday found ‘Buddy and Me’ travelling down ‘the hill’ (Town Hill) to Pietermaritzburg to visit the Beares store in Church Street. The trip was made in very heavy weather, a light drizzle and very thick mist which made it freezing cold. In-spite of the intrepid weather however trucks were still travelling down the hill at break neck speeds and it did not come as a surprise to find two trucks smashed on the road side halfway down, I have been told that this is a frequent occurrence on Town Hill.

The Beares store Manager in Pietermaritzburg, Sandy Beharie has always gone the extra mile in arranging people to meet me at her store and this time was no exception. When ‘Buddy and Me’ pulled up outside the Beares store we were met by a large group of young girls from a local school, singing and dancing and then proceeded to scream at the top of their voices, “Hello Steve and Buddy, welcome to Pietermaritzburg”.

 

My guests from a local school greeting ‘Buddy and Me’

I was told I had to join them for a photo, they got a copy of the photo from Sandy for their school records.

And then it was time for the friendly staff of Beares Pietermaritzburg to join Buddy for a photo – That’s Sandy Beharie on the extreme right of the photo –  So ‘Buddy and Me’ extend a heartfelt thanks to Sandy and her staff for arranging a magic day in Pietermaritzburg.

Sandy’s assistance and support to the project however did not end there. Every time Buddy passes through Pietermaritzburg he gives trouble in the form of spluttering and splurting due to the change in altitude and the effect this has on his points and timing. So Sandy arranged for a gentleman by the name of Jay who owns J & F Auto & tractor Services in the Mkondeni area to look at the problem and he did a sterling job in sorting the problem out.

 

Jay’s team who sorted out Buddy’s ailments – Jay on extreme right of picture – Thanks guys for your generous and expertise help in providing Buddy with expert medical support.

The evening was spent having supper with my reprobate cousin, Brad Weston and his family in Howick. I must say that in this case the old saying of “You can choose your friends, but you are stuck with your family” rings very true. But be that as it may, to Brad and Cindy and your two lovely daughters, Laiken and Shenna, thanks for a magic evening. I can’t believe I did not get a photo of them, but then again taking a photo of Brad could have caused irreparable damage to my lovely Canon camera.

The final visit for the week was to the Lubners store in Pietermaritzburg, where after a brief chat with the store manager, Mala Lukhna and her staff I sought out a chemist where I obtained some medication to sort out the effects of what appears to be a dose of the flu I woke up with this morning, so hopefully the ‘mootie’ will do it’s job and sort out the bug that has invaded my body.

Well the weather for the past week has generally been pretty miserable with quite a bit of rain and cold, and so I hope that when I head for Pinetown where I intend spending the weekend with my family and in particular Michaela my granddaughter and grandson Dain, the weather will be kind to me.

So until next I get a chance to catch up with my blog/diary, stay well, stay safe and keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

and

Me (Steve Heath)

Please send all comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website are entirely those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the project.


The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal. 

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)

Buddy and Me’ finished off our week by leaving the trailer at Round Tabler Anton de Vos and his wife Liezl’s house at 11am on Thursday morning and headed out in the rain to the Montrose Protea Hotel where I intended leaving Buddy and taking the Translux bus to Pinetown. The reason for departing from the project was because as I said on my last blog, I have had some issues with the services provided by ‘Child Line’ and these issues have arisen during numerous discussions with parents and teachers in various areas of South Africa over the past 3 – 4 years in particular.

I have had discussions with a few members of Child Line over the past few years but the answers I have received from them have not satisfied reservations or problems I have concerning their services and so when I left a message for Ms. Joan Van Niekerk, one of the senior management team members of Child Line I was really excited. After explaining exactly who I am and what I am involved with, and because she is a very busy lady with a hectic schedule, an appointment was established for Friday the 12th November, hence my decision to bus to Durban.

Unfortunately due to her hectic schedule, when I phoned on Thursday to confirm the time for the meeting I was advised that Ms. Van Niekerk was away and would not be back until Saturday. A new appointment was set up for 10am on Saturday but unfortunately once again due to her hectic and busy schedule she could not make the meeting. She did however provide me with some literature on the services provided by Child Line as well as confirmed that when I get to Durban the week after next she will make every attempt to accommodate me and sit down and discuss the issues I have. So I look forward to that opportunity, but I believe that it’s time for me to air the issues I have with Child Line and these by the way are the problems and issues with Child Line which have been raised by the many parents and teachers I mentioned earlier in this blog.

Nobody can dispute the fact that in the many years that Child Line has been in operation they have done exceptionally good work and they are undoubtedly the champions of the children of South Africa. However, and I believe that this is due to the legislation passed by government/parliament, they have caused unbelievable damage to many parents and teachers lives due to the strict implementation or perhaps interpretation of the law.

The reason I say this, is because I have over the passed few years, been given many incidents where, when a parent or teacher has disciplined a child, by smacking the child on the bum, and the incident has been reported to Child Line, either by the child or a third party, the parent has been charged and convicted for the assault of the child under the child abuse act. In these incidents it was confirmed by the parent that the child was not beaten or physically abused but merely smacked with an open hand on the bum. There is a big difference between disciplining a child and abusing it physically and any parent who does not know the difference does not deserve to be a parent.

When discussing this issue with members of the Child Line staff, I have been told that “The law is the law and the law clearly states that ‘No one can hit a child and any person who does is guilty of child abuse and so when reported, the legal process must be implemented”.

Secondly when having asked a member of staff of Child Line to explain the process which is followed when informed by a child that she or he has been raped or sexually assaulted, and this has been on a few occasions, it has been confirmed that in many instances the matter is not automatically reported to the police.

When asking “why” I have been told that “By doing so would break the child’s confidence with Child Line and so the matter is only reported to the authorities/police if the child agrees to the matter being reported to the police”.  

So now my dilemma is, “How come when a parent is reported for so called ‘abusing a child’ by smacking it on the bum in the form of discipline, the process of the law must be maintained and the matter reported to the police by Child Line, but when a child reports that she or he has been raped or sexually abused, the matter is not always reported to the police in-spite of the fact that the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32’ clearly states that ‘Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused, fails to report the matter to the police that person is guilty of an offence.

So having said all of this I sincerely hope that I get an opportunity to meet with Ms. Van Niekerk when next in Durban and obtain answers to these issues, so that when I am confronted with these questions by parents and teachers while on my journey around South Africa I can answer them with confidence.

While on the bus to Durban I was seated next to a really incredible man by the name of Bongani Zulu who is a lecturer in Theology at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. When he found out what I am doing and what the ‘Buddy and Me’ project is involved with, he was fascinated and we got into a lengthy discussion on the subject of child rape and the abuse of children in general and the topic I have just mentioned concerning Child Line was discussed at length and he confirmed his agreement with the issues I have already mentioned.

The discussion on this subject went further and he confirmed his belief that the complete collapse of social standards and the incredibly high volume of anti-social behaviour being experienced by a vary large portion of the children in South Africa is directly attributed to the fact that legislation has removed the right of parents and teachers to properly and effectively discipline children who require a different form of disciplining. He also believes and I concur entirely, that by the time the State gets involved with a delinquent child who has become that way because of the lack of prompt and proper discipline by a parent, it’s far too late.

So that was my trip to Durban and although I did not achieve quite the results I had hoped for, I did get the opportunity to spend a bit of time with my family and in particular my granddaughter Michaela and grandson Dain, so I was happy.

When I got back to the Montrose Protea Hotel to collect Buddy, the Protea Hotel General Manager, Natalie Fluxman insisted that I spend the night at the hotel and of course who was I to say no, so I am very comfortably settled in the Montrose Protea Hotel and tomorrow (Monday 15th November) ‘Buddy and Me’ will be heading forever South to Estcourt where I will be hosted accommodation with the Round Tablers and then continue South to Howick, Pietermaritzburg, Pinetown and then Durban at the end of the week.

So until next I submit another blog, stay well, stay safe and yep – KEEP ALL CHILDREN SAFE.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me (Steve Heath)

Please send all comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website are strictly those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the project.