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)

Sunday evening it poured with rain the entire night and so combined with the fact that a large group of the local community decided that it was a good time to have a party in the marquee tent that had been set up for Saturdays ‘function’ and had loud thumping music blasting out until after 2:30am, it is not surprising that I got very little sleep, in fact almost none at all.

Monday morning my frustrations continued with the fact that I hoped to be up early, hastily pack when the rain subsided and grab a nice hot shower before heading out of Harrismith for Qwa Qwa and then on to Bethlehem.

My plans went well, well right up to when I had completed packing and wanted the nice hot shower. As happens every morning at the Harrismith Municipal camping park, a horde of taxi’s arrive and the drivers use the ablution facilities to shower etc. They start arriving at around 5:30am and by the time they have all completed their ablutions at around 7:30 – 8am the facilities are in even a more filthy condition and of course there is no hot water. So I hope our esteemed Minister of tourism, Mr. Martinus Van Schalkwyk read my blog 6 and includes this bit of trivia into his file, right like that’s going to happen. There’s less chance of that happening than our government taking notice of experts comments on subjects before passing and promulgating the ridiculous laws they are frequently bringing out and which are unenforceable.

The laws I am referring to in particular being the section of the ‘Sexual offences Act 32 – 2007’ which states that “Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped and fails to report it to the authorities is guilty of an offence”. The other one being that in the instance where a mother reports the rape of her child by the father/step-father, the child must not be removed from the place of residence, but the suspect (The father/step-father) must be removed and the child and mother must be able to continue residing at their normal place of residence.

Unfortunately neither of these laws are being enforced and the authorities in the form of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority (Court Officials) and police tell me that it is impossible to apply these laws because “If the father/step-father is arrested for the rape of the child AND the mother is charged and arrested for failing to report the rape of her child, who will look after the children?” Secondly if the father/step-father is released on bail, and that by the way should not be IF the father/step-father is released on bail but WHEN he is released on bail, it is common practise that he will return home, in-spite of the fact that an order of the court is issued to the effect that he must not return home or intimidate the child or mother in anyway, and in almost every case he always does, resulting in the child changing her/his story and saying that she or he was not raped by the father/step-father.

For this reason the child is sent to an NGO safe house pending the investigation and court process. Unfortunately the average time taken for a child rape case to be finalised in South Africa is a staggering two and a half – 4 years. The other problem being experienced is that although the State has increased the allowance paid to the NGO safe houses who have been ordered by the courts, police and social workers to look after these children has recently been increased from R25-00 Rand per child per day to R49-00 per child per day (or so I have been told), the biggest problem facing these NGO safe houses is getting payment from the State. In two specific cases I visited NGO’s who have between them, 280 children awarded to them for safe keeping by the court, police and social workers, obviously due to the problem of getting funds from the State they are constantly needing to undertake fund raising exercises and depend heavily on organisations such as Round Table and Rotary International to feed and support the children.

Obviously my question to the NPA and our esteemed government regarding the promulgation of laws and the failure to apply them has been “If these laws cannot be applied for these reasons, why has millions of South African tax payers money been paid to have these laws promulgated in the first place?” The response has usually been “I don’t know, perhaps it was a mistake and not enough thought was put into the process”.

When considering the changes that have been effected during the past 15 years and which after a short time have been changed back, this response does not come as a major surprise. The changes I am referring to in particular being:

  • The millions of Rands spent on changing the ranks in the police force only to have them changed back to what they originally were.
  • The rape act which was changed to exclude the rape of males from the act and changed back to what it was before
  • Recent rumours that the Provinces are going to be re-designed as ‘they’ believe there are too many provinces.
  • The disbandment of the CPU (Child protection Unit) and formation of the FCS unit and subsequent disbandment of the FCS and re-establishment of the FCS unit on the 1st April 2010.
  • Recent rumours that the Metro police, a topic which I have discussed at length on recent blogs, is to be disbanded and included into the SAPS.
  • Constant reshuffling of ministers and other senior officials, resulting in a change of ‘plan’ every time a new person is put into office

 

These are but a few changes which have been made without proper consultation with people in the know and consideration being made as to the consequences of the change. And just to prove this point, watch what happens with the latest change to the Media Bill, no matter what the public or experts in the field have to say, the government WILL change it no matter what the consequences.

But back to the travels of ‘Buddy and Me’, I always enjoy visiting the Qwa Qwa area because of the beauty of the mountainous area. At the Beares store I got to meet 5 police offices from the local FCS unit of the SAPS and this group included two men and three women. Our discussion obviously centred around the re-establishment of the FCS unit and what the impact of the re-establishment of the unit has had on reducing the rape of children. Of course this is a stupid statement because the rape of children has not reduced but has increased from an average of 170 cases a day in 2006 to a staggering 580 on average a day now.

But be that as it may, the 5 police offices were very honest in their comments and in-put to the discussion and confirmed that because of the logistical problems being experienced it is very difficult to properly perform their duties and effectively fight the rape of children as well as the rape of adult women in the area.

As I have previously said on my blogs, the FCS unit operates on the ‘cluster’ basis where one controlling police station has an FCS unit consisting of, on average between 9 and 11 members, with between 2 – 4 members being on stand-by each day to respond to reports of rape and domestic violence from between 6 and 8 satellite stations. These ‘satellite’ stations can be anything between 10 and 150 kilometres away from the main cluster station and in the case of Qwa Qwa, one of the police stations included in their group of ‘satellite’ stations is Harrismith which is approximately 70 kilometres away and Harrismith itself has a few smaller outer lying stations under its umbrella and so hence the logistical problem of attending to complaints from the Qwa Qwa polic stations FCS unit.

To add to the problem related with the distances between the main station and the ‘satellite’ stations, is the age old problem surrounding the fact that the SAPS due not have transport to reach complaints and reported cases of child rape as well as other cases of domestic violence in their own station areas never mind complaints and cases registered with ‘satellite’ stations which can be between 10 and 150 kilometres away. In this regard I refer the reader to my comments in blog 2 of this website surrounding the billions of Rands being spent by our government on our traffic department (Metro police) and the thousands of nice flashy traffic police cars which we see all over our national roads as well as towns and cities, usually parked on the side of the road?? It’s called “getting your priorities right”.

My guests also confirmed that although they are experiencing a high rate of reported child rape it is nowhere close to the actual number occurring in the area. They also confirmed that they have a history of a low conviction rate and this is mainly attributed to the extremely long period of time it takes to obtain forensic results. The main problem with this is the fact that after the police have requested numerous postponements of the case, pending forensic/DNA results, the court can no longer accommodate them and the cases is either withdrawn or struck from the roll. This in tern results in the suspect being released and once the forensic/DNA results are obtained the suspect is long gone.

We also discussed the manner in which I believe the Thuthuzela Care Centres should be established, (See the link – The Purpose of Project 3 on this website) and all 5 police officials unanimously agreed that this system would be a major step in the right direction to stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children, if it is implemented like I have suggested.

 Beares staff in Qwa Qwa – The store manager Jenny Gardiner – on my right – absolutely loves the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and believes that it should continue indefinitely.

Beares staff in Qwa Qwa – The store manager Jenny Gardiner – on my right – absolutely loves the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and believes that it should continue indefinitely.

Monday night was spent in the comfort of the Wheatley home. Andrew is the Table Chairman of the Bethlehem Round Table and so he and his lovely wife Janine and two lively children Angela and Ethan kindly hosted me accommodation for the night.

 

Meet the Wheately family. Unfortunately by the time I realised that I had not taken a photo of the family for my website everyone had gone off in their separate directions to start their day, so the photo is the one I took on my last visit to Bethlehem on project 2 when the Wheately family had also kindly hosted me with accommodation. So once again, to the Wheately family, thank you for your amazing friendship and hospitality.

It poured with rain all night and in the morning the trend continued. Chris Bam the Beares store manager in Bethlehem had arranged a few meetings for me with a social worker, the Matron of the local hospital as well as the all important meeting with Roy Naude the Regional Court Control prosecutor for the region. I had met this amazing man on my last visit to Bethlehem and specifically asked Chris to try and get me an appointment with him for me and he did.

My meeting and chat with Roy Naude took almost two hours resulting in me having to cancel the meeting with the other two ladies, but the information, opinions and comments obtained from him was well worth it. Our talks surrounded the issues of the unacceptably high increase in the rate of child rape around the country, as well as the issues surrounding this despicable crime in general. We also discussed my proposal for the establishment of Thuthuzela Care Centres at all provincial hospitals and the manner in which I believe they should be established and implemented. Roy confirmed his agreement that if the centres were to be established in this manner it would be a major step in the right direction of stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children.

We also discussed the issues surrounding the legislation which is not being applied, re the failure to report the rape of children when being made aware of it and the fact that to date I had not been given any evidence of anyone having being charged under this act. Roy confirmed that he had in fact charged a grandmother under the act but that she had been acquitted. Roy also agreed that should the Thuthuzela Care Centres be established in the manner I have suggested, there would be no reason not to charge mothers for failing to report the rape of their children because the support structures would be there to assist them.

Roy also agreed that at present the Thuthuzela initiative, although an outstanding one is the best kept secret in South Africa and is not being implemented properly. So to Roy Naude of the Regional Court in Bethlehem I salute you, you are an incredible asset to the National Prosecuting Authority in our country and we need a lot more like you. Thank you for your time and in-put and I sincerely hope you are appreciated by the department.

Then it was time to head out of Bethlehem before the really big rains started.

 The Beares Bethlehem staff – Chris Bam the store manager right of picture.

The Beares Bethlehem staff – Chris Bam the store manager right of picture.

Back in Harrismith I met up with Round Tabler Anton de Vos who kindly offered to host me accommodation for the evening, so the evening was spent chatting to Anton, his wife Liezl and Anton’s mom and dad, Helena and Biebie de Vos as well as comments from Riaan who turned the ‘big 4’ this morning (10th) and Ané who when I was last here was just recently born.

So thanks to the de Vos family for your kind hospitality and friendship.

Need I tell you that it continued to pour with rain all night and was still coming down in torrents this morning (Wednesday 10th)? Fortunately I only had a short drive to do in Buddy today and that was to Montrose where I boarded the Translux bus to Pinetown. Translux very kindly came on board the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and offered to provide me with bus transport to wherever I needed to get to attend meetings or to return home to visit my family from time to time. So I have left Buddy and the trailer in Anton’s safe keeping in order to attend a meeting with Ms. Joan van Niekerk, head of Child Line in Durban.

Unfortunately due to a number of discussions with parents and teachers all over South Africa, I have had unresolved issues with Child Line and so look forward to meeting with Ms. Van Niekerk and getting these issues resolved. So stay tuned in to this website and my next blog for information on my Child Line issues.

Well that’s all for now, so until Sunday night when I will once again fill your brain with information I have leaned about the child rape situation in South Africa and what I believe, based on information obtained from numerous sources around our beautiful country, South Africa, needs to be done to stop it, ‘Buddy and Me’ will say farewell for now, keep well and keep safe, and of course keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me (Steve Heath)’

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

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


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 the end of this week saw the end of the first month of ‘Buddy and Me’ project 3, the project having started on the 5th October, just goes to prove the theory that ’time goes so fast when you having fun’, but on with what has been happening in the lives of ‘Buddy and Me’ since last I submitted a blog, which was Wednesday.

So after a magnificent nights sleep sponsored by the lovely Montrose Protea Hotel, I woke to a beautiful, warm sunny morning and headed out for Ladysmith. On arriving at the Beares store I was greeted by a group lady’s from the Beares staff who were standing on the pavement shrieking greetings and waving to ‘Buddy and Me’ as well as a large group of guests who had been invited by the Beares store manager, Allan Gounder.

I had a great chat with everyone, the group included people from many different organisations including the police, social workers, schools and NGO’s. A comment that was made by a man and his wife who run an NGO called The Ikhaya Lethu Children’s Home who I am sure will not have a problem with me printing their names, Noel and Yvonne Robson, was that “The rape of children has become a way of life in many areas around South Africa” and is accepted by both the police as well as the communities as ‘the norm’ and according to him, virtually every girl child and in many cases young boys as well, in the rural area of Ladysmith, has been raped at some stage of her or his life, and in many cases repeatedly as an on going situation.

Based on the information I have been given in all the other areas I have visited over the past five years I am confident that this statement is true for all areas around South Africa as well and it is for this very reason that our government is spending peanuts on the support structure for victims of this horrendous crime when compared to the billions of Rands being spent on catching traffic offenders, “tax dodgers” and other ‘criminals’ of this nature at the ‘Super’ road blocks which are going to be set up all over South Africa during the festive period. After all by catching these ‘criminals’ generates income for the government, as apposed to apprehending, convicting and sending child rapists to jail, these criminals cost the State money’. Perhaps that’s why our countries national average conviction rate for child rape currently averages between a pathetic 4 and 6%?

 The guests at the Beares store in Ladysmith.

The guests at the Beares store in Ladysmith.

 The clouds over Ladysmith were building up fast and soon the lovely sunshine I had experienced in the morning had vanished and was replaced with thick, black menacing clouds and a weird wind. So I bid farewell to the Beares staff and guests and took the road back to the Montrose Protea Hotel. Unfortunately I did not make it before the storm hit and so by the time I reached the hotel I was good and solidly drenched, but a cup of coffee and hot ‘cup-a- soup’ soon got me revived.

The really great bunch of staff at the Ladysmith Beares store, that’s the manager, Allan Gounder in the yellow shirt, you can’t exactly miss him.

The really great bunch of staff at the Ladysmith Beares store, that’s the manager, Allan Gounder in the yellow shirt, you can’t exactly miss him.

Friday morning, as happened the previous day, I woke to bright sunshine and after thanking the two lovely ladies who had so kindly arranged my accommodation at the Montrose Protea Hotel for me, Natalie Luxford and Audrey Blumenthal and bidding them farewell, ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for the Harrismith Beares store.

Here I had a relatively quiet day but did get to meet a lady by the name of Elize Botha who is the Social Worker based at the local hospital. The hospital was only built or rather completed about 12 months ago but unfortunately the facilities are still at the same level as the old small hospital, but as Elize said “Hopefully soon we will receive all the other goodies which will make it into a really nice big hospital”. On being shown around the facility, I could not help but remark on what an amazing facility it could be for the establishment of a Thuthuzela Care Centre. The area in which Elize’s department is situated in the hospital is ideal for a TCC and from what she was telling me regarding the set up and procedure for when victims of child rape and those of domestic violence are brought in, it is very close to the Thuthuzela Care Centre protocol.

Amongst other discussions she did confirm that they only receive about 2 – 3 child rape cases on average per month but did agree that this is more than likely due to the fact that mothers are not reporting the rape of their children for the reason I have mentioned extensively on this website, and that perhaps if the support structure in-terms of my proposal for the establishment of Thuthuzela Care Centres was followed this would encourage mothers to report the rape of their children.

By the time I had finished my visit to the hospital and chat with Elize, the weather had changed and it looked like I was in for another drenching, so I bid farewell and headed for the local Spar, who have also kindly come on board as a sponsor, and stocked up with food stuff for the weekend.

I had hoped to spend the weekend camping at the Sterkfontein Dam Resort, but after arriving at the offices, in the rain, and being told by the manager of the resort Simon, that the camping fee per night was R190-00 and this could not be reduced because the resort is a government resort not a charity organisation, and based on the fact that my budget could never accommodate three nights camping at R190-00 (total for three nights a staggering R570-00) I headed back to Harrismith and camped at the municipal caravan/camping park at a rate of R85-00 per night. Oh but before leaving the offices at the Sterkfontein Dam I counted 33 taxis ferrying members of the local community into the resort. There was already a fleet of taxis inside the resort but I could not count exactly how many they consisted of, but the taxis weren’t even stopping at the gate but just driving straight through, so I presume they and their occupants had free access to the resort. Sorry Simon what was that about “The resort being a government resort, not a charity organisation?

 33 Taxis filling through the gate into Sterkfontein dam resort, the “non charitable’ government resort.

33 Taxis filling through the gate into Sterkfontein dam resort, the “non charitable’ government resort.

Apart from the ridiculous cost of camping at Sterkfontein Dam, I had camped there about a year ago and had a really bad experience. During the weekend, the local community had had a celebration of some kind and the place was packed. The mess that was left behind was incredible and the ablution facilities were absolutely disgusting. So it was also for this reason that I had decided that at R190-00 per night I would rather take my chances at the Harrismith Municipal resort.

While on this topic there is a message I would like to send to our esteemed minister of Tourism, Mr. Martinus Van Schalkwyk. We are often hearing you say that South Africans should first consider visiting areas in South Africa before paying exorbitant costs to visit over seas destinations. Well Sir, there is a large portion of our South African society who love caravanning and camping and this goes for foreigners who book campers and caravans and prefer this mode of accommodation to hotels and chalets etc.

I have travelled South Africa extensively and due to limited budgets have made use of camping as a means of accommodation on many occasions. In many towns around South Africa the only form of camping accommodation is in municipal or government resorts and my experience is that the facilities offered by these government and municipal resorts is absolutely shocking. The ablutions are filthy and every weekend the resort is packed with members of the local communities being bussed in by large fleets of buses as well as taxis.

Although they are supposed to make use of day visitor facilities I have never seen them stick to this arrangement and have never seen officials enforcing this requirement. Hence the campers are harassed, and people blatantly walk up to caravans and tents and stand outside looking in, making incredible noise and generally turning the resort into what resembles a dumpsite. When considering the exorbitant costs for camping at these municipal and government ‘resorts’ with their shockingly disgusting ablution facilities, it is no wonder South Africans and foreigners do not want to visit them. Perhaps you should try using them instead of staying at all the luxury ‘private’ resorts and hotels you are frequently accommodated in and find out for yourself why people don’t want to use these resorts.

 A typical municipal/government resort electrical campsite box – these are the guys who fine residents and home owners etc for “dangerous” electrical installations.

A typical municipal/government resort electrical campsite box – these are the guys who fine residents and home owners etc for “dangerous” electrical installations.

Well the weekend was spent catching up with washing and I managed to get some fishing in on the Wilge River on Saturday, but unfortunately the river is so filthy dirty if I was a fish I would have ducked to some other place as well, so hence no fish were caught.

 My campsite at the Harrismith municipal resort – To those who are still unbelievers, you see I do, do my own washing, well when my maid doesn’t pitch up of course.

My campsite at the Harrismith municipal resort – To those who are still unbelievers, you see I do, do my own washing, well when my maid doesn’t pitch up of course.

Before signing off there is something else I would like to share with you. Many years ago I had a brief spell of employment with a friends company in Hillcrest, just outside Pinetown, called Lynkor. Dieter Richter was the owner of the business and I have heard that the company has subsequently closed down. Why I am telling you this is because camped a short way away from me was a large contingent of employees of a company called National Road marking and they are in the same industry as Lynkor was, road marking.

The guys from National Road Marking, who are busy painting the highway to Van Reenans Pass, were really great guys and often asked if they could help me with anything, such as purchasing items for me while in town etc and were generally just really good, friendly guys. So to the boss’s of National Road Marking, you have a super team of guys working for you and you should and I am sure you are, be very proud of them.

Another reason for mentioning this is, that while I was with lynkor I got to know two really good guys by the name of Nino and Guy and I believe they are now employed with National Road Marking, so if any of the boss’s of National Road Marking read this and know where I can contact the two reprobates please contact me and let me know on my cell 082 254 9129 or ask them to contact me. Many thanks it will be sincerely appreciated.

 The friendly staff of National Road Marking.

The friendly staff of National Road Marking.

And hey guys, when driving past or through an area where these guys are working and making the roads safe for us, please take extra special care, they have families and the job they do, because of some of the hooligans on our roads, is very dangerous, so please watch out for them.

Well that’s all I have time for now, and I’m sure it will keep Julia busy tonight (Sunday) posting it onto my blog, so from ‘Buddy and Me’ we wish you cheerio for now, keep checking out the website and sending me your comments and opinions on the subject of child rape. And of course, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me (Steve Heath)

Comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note that all comments and opinions on this website are strictly those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors.


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 with the Currie Cup final behind us ending in a good win for the SHARKS,Buddy and Me’ had our camp packed nice and early Monday morning, and were headed out of the Villiers Caravan and Camping Resort by 7:15 am on a bright sunny morning.

Our first port o’ call was at the Beares store in Volksrust where we were met by a group of kids from the ‘Little Gem’ day care centre as well as a few guests arranged by the Beares store manager, Mehnaaz Pelwan which included a very interesting chat with a lady from the department of Social Development, named Lungile who provided me with a lot of information regarding the problems facing the Volksrust and surrounding area with regard to the anti-social behaviour being experienced by the kids in the area, as well as the problems created by the child grants being paid to ‘mothers’ in the area as well as the rest of South Africa.

Evidently the area 9as well as the rest of South Africa) is experiencing a major problem created by abandoned and neglected kids, and this includes tiny tots aged between two and five years of age. According to Lungile this problem has been created by young women in particular, aged between 16 and 25 years of age, who are literally “breeding” children for the purpose of obtaining the child grant of R250-00 per month per child from the South African government.

The ‘mothers’ then move off to greener pastures in the cities leaving the kids with the mothers and grandmothers to look after, while they claim the child grant and spend it on themselves leaving their mothers and grandmothers to look after and find money to feed and clothe the children. Due to this problem, this young lady is one very frustrated woman and believes that something drastic has to be done very soon to curb this devastating situation.

The group of kids from the ‘Little Gem’ day care centre who had a ball clambering all over Buddy, obviously Buddy loved the attention, and the staff of the Beares store in Volksrust together with the guests.

The group of kids from the ‘Little Gem’ day care centre who had a ball clambering all over Buddy, obviously Buddy loved the attention, and the staff of the Beares store in Volksrust together with the guests.

From Volksrust ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for Newcastle where I was hosted accommodation with that lovely Round Table family, Franz and Elke Van Zyl who are parents to two kids, Erich and Paula who believe me must have been christened with gramophone needles. I have been told that I can talk the hind leg off a donkey, but believe me; I have met my match in these two.

 Meet the Round Table family of Newcastle, The Van Zyles, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the good looking one is Elke and the ‘other’ one is Franz. I’m sure you can workout for yourselves which is Paula and which is Erich.

Meet the Round Table family of Newcastle, The Van Zyles, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the good looking one is Elke and the ‘other’ one is Franz. I’m sure you can workout for yourselves which is Paula and which is Erich.

The evening was spent with the Van Zyl’s family in the form of Monya and Dieter Wichmann who hosted us supper, so thanks guys it was a great evening.

At the Beares store in Newcastle I had an intense interview with a reporter from the local newspaper who hopefully is going to do a really great article surrounding what I believe needs to be done regarding the speedy establishment of Thuthuzela Care Centres at ALL provincial hospitals around South Africa in the manner I have described in my link on this website entitled ‘The purpose of project 3’.

Before heading out of Newcastle, I made a stop at the Supa Quick outlet where I hoped to get their support by replacing Buddy’s ever disintegrating front shocks. The owner of the Supa Quick outlet, Dirk Van der Westhuizen who lives in Pietermaritzburg, was phoned by his mother who runs the store and on hearing my sad story, immediately agreed to sponsor Buddy a new set of front shocks. So to Dirk and his friendly staff at Supa Quick Newcastle, you have Buddy and my eternal thanks.

 Meet the Round Table family of Newcastle, The Van Zyles, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the good looking one is Elke and the ‘other’ one is Franz. I’m sure you can workout for yourselves which is Paula and which is Erich.

Two of the great stars of Supa Quick Newcastle.

From Newcastle I headed for Dundee where I was once again being hosted by a character of note in the form of Round Tabler Greg Van Bloemestein, and as occurred on my last visit, as soon as I arrived he contacted all his ‘buddies’ and the games began. The evening was spent with the Round Tablers of Dundee and a group of other reprobates, total nut cases, but a good time was had by all, in fact it’s the first time I have completely relaxed with a bunch of nut cases on project 3.

 Me being ‘pinned’ with the new Dundee Round Table pin by ‘Pops’ Greg van der Walt

Me being ‘pinned’ with the new Dundee Round Table pin by ‘Pops’ Greg van der Walt.

Is this not a bunch of reprobates? Notice my SHARKS tattoo. I had to display it considering the Bulls shirt on display in front of me, I mean; we are the Currie Cup champions after all.

Is this not a bunch of reprobates? Notice my SHARKS tattoo. I had to display it considering the Bulls shirt on display in front of me, I mean; we are the Currie Cup champions after all.

My visit to the Dundee Beares store and area proved to be an amazing experience. On arriving at the Beares store, I was met by a massive group of people from various walks of life and organisations in the Dundee and surrounding areas. In fact the crowd was so big I had to take three photos to get them all in, check this out!

 

The first group which comprised of a large group of kids from a local home for abused and neglected/abandoned kids and guests.

The second group of guests.

Meet the incredible staff of Beares Dundee, with the boss man, store manager Reggie Govender second on the right of the picture)

As you can imagine, I got into some really heavy discussions on the subject of child rape as well as other topics not related to the rape of children, as often happens, and one of the main topics of discussion was the same topic which I mentioned earlier in this blog, and that is the one surrounding the paying of child grants to mothers who abandon their children once the grant has been registered.  

In this regard one lady asked a lady from the department of Social Development “Why do the social workers not go out and identify these cases and when these cases are identified, why does the department not cancel the ‘mothers’ right to the child grant and make the grandmother or the woman who is looking after the child, the beneficiary of the grant?” The response was “No we can’t do that”. The ladies next question was “So what do you, as a social worker with the department of Social Development, do to help the grandmothers etc who have been thrown into this predicament?” The answer was a shrug of the shoulders and a blank stare.

I got to meet two amazing ladies by the names of Carol and Dawn who run the Dundee Crisis Centre. These two ladies, with the help of a few dedicated volunteers, provide hundreds of meals daily to the local community. They have set up an amazing system whereby the local community clean up the streets of Dundee and bring the rubbish to the centre for recycling and are rewarded with food, an absolutely incredible scheme and system.

 They are however in desperate need of a bakkie and a computer, so if there is anyone out there who can assist these ladies you can contact them on telephone number (SA) +27 342125465 or cell number (SA) +27 (0)79 5222398. I am in possession of a detailed letter outlining exactly what they do as well as there registration details as an NPO, so anyone interested can contact me on email: steve@buddyandme.co.za for these details. Come on guys these ladies desperately need help.

The weather had been great all day, in fact it had been pretty damn hot, but by the time ‘Buddy and Me’ drove out of Dundee the clouds had gathered and no sooner were we a few kilometres out of town, on our way to the Montrose Protea Hotel near Harrismith where I was sponsored accommodation, when the heavens opened and the rain came pouring down. Fortunately the storm didn’t last long and ‘Buddy and Me’ arrived at the Montrose Protea Hotel in dazzling sunshine, and oh boy what lovely accommodation.

 

The two ladies who made my stay at the Protea Montrose Hotel possible, the General Manager Natalie Luxford right of picture and Audrey Blumenthal on her right.

Many thanks ladies I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Protea Montrose Hotel.

And that covers the first half of this week on the project ‘Buddy and Me – Searching for a Solution to the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children – Project 3’ So until next I get a chance to write my blog Buddy and I will say farewell for now, keep well and keep safe, and of course don’t forget, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy) and Me (Steve Heath)

Send all your comments and opinions to steve@buddyandme.co.za

All comments and opinions on the www.buddyandme.co.za website are strictly 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)

This week started with a visit to the Lenasia area where I met up with the Beares staff in the ‘Trade Route Mall’ and this was, like the Maponya Mall in Soweto, one really lovely shopping centre. I had a great time chatting to the Beares staff as well as a number of local residents in the Mall.

The discussion at the Beares store with staff and guests surrounded the fact that convicted child rapists are awarded many more privileges than the victims. It is law in South Africa, that on being convicted of child rape and on being imprisoned, the rapists must undergo ongoing psychiatric counselling which must continue after his release on parole. The State does not provide free counselling to child rape victims. The rapist, on conviction and imprisonment receives free food daily, clothing and free education including university and college tuition and the Minister recently on national television (SABC Morning Live) made an appeal to ‘in-mates’ to make use of these study opportunities. In contrast in the far majority of cases the child victim’s parents cannot afford to send the child to school never mind provide her with a university or college education.

The Beares store Manager, Clifton Clifford made a statement which to me is so incredibly true and that is, that “Only when our government and the people of South Africa can admit, out loud, that there is a major problem with child rape and the sexual abuse of children, can we stop it”, a truly profound statement. 

One of the comments that was made by many woman in the Mall I spoke to echoed the sentiments of a number of woman I spoke to in Soweto as well as in other areas around Johannesburg and the East Rand and which I did not want to write about until I had had the chance to discuss the issue with other people in the area, but it appears that what I was told is believed by many woman, and according to many is actually occurring on a regular basis, so here goes.

The comment I am referring to which has been repeated by many woman was following my question ‘Why are mothers not reporting the rape of their children” and the response has always been two fold, namely that they refuse to subject their children to the humiliating experience of standing in a packed police station charge office and being humiliated when reporting the rape. Secondly invariably the child is transported to a provincial hospital by means of the police van which creates secondary trauma as well as once again being humiliated by standing in a crowded casualty room.

The second reason for not reporting the rape of their child is because in the far majority of cases the rape has been perpetrated by her husband and in many cases the child’s father or uncle in which case should he be arrested, convicted and imprisoned, who will support the family?

So this was regarding the failure to report the rape of the woman’s child. I then asked why the women of South Africa, in many instances, are not reporting the rape of themselves and this is where I got quite a shock. The response in many cases was “Because if a woman reports the rape of herself it is very likely that she will be raped again at the police station by the policemen”. The most shocking part of this information is the fact that this response has been given to me by women in many different areas and so it is not restricted to one specific area.

I find it absolutely incredible that the women of South Africa have lost so much faith in our police forces ability to protect them that they won’t even report the rape of themselves to the police in fear that the very same police force members who are supposed to be there to protect them will rape them again.

So having completed my visits to the areas in the East Rand, Jo’burg, Soweto and other neighbouring areas around Jo’burg, ‘Buddy and Me’ packed our stuff into the fancy new trailer donated by Builders Warehouse (Check out the photo, quite snazzy hey!) So thanks to all the great people of Builders Warehouse for helping out, the old trailer took quite some hammering on the African Odyssey project as well as the second project around South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, so the new one will be truly appreciated.

 Unfortunately we had been through a bit of rain and gravel road so the trailer was a bit dirty and was re-sprayed blue to match Buddy.

Unfortunately we had been through a bit of rain and gravel road so the trailer was a bit dirty and was re-sprayed blue to match Buddy.

Also Supa Quick in Lambton Germiston fitted Buddy out with new rear tyres, real monster tyres, as well as rear shocks which were completely destroyed after all the pot holes and bad road surfaces Buddy and been subjected to during the past few years so we were well prepared for the long road ahead when we drove out of Germiston on Wednesday morning.

 The men of Supa Quick Lambton Germiston who made things happen for Buddy, the boss man Neels van der Westhuizen (Left) Neels van der Westhuizen Jnr (middle) and Adriaan van der Westhuizen (Right) Many thanks guys your assistance and support is sincerely appreciated.

The men of Supa Quick Lambton Germiston who made things happen for Buddy, the boss man Neels van der Westhuizen (Left) Neels van der Westhuizen Jnr (middle) and Adriaan van der Westhuizen (Right) Many thanks guys your assistance and support is sincerely appreciated.

On the way out of Jo’burg and while on the N3 highway, a short way passed the Wadeville turn off, I noticed a truck driving in the yellow line. A few cars passed it but when I pulled up alongside it, passing it in the slow lane, the driver of the truck decided that this was a good time to move back into the slow lane. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed that the truck was very close to Buddy’s left side and so swerved out to my right in an attempt to avoid a collission. I did not feel anything, like a connection between the two vehicles but heard a strange sound.

Later that evening I discovered that the right side, or some part of the trucks right side had hit Buddy’s left side and scraped the front left fender, the wheel arch of the spare wheel and rear left fender. It had been a much closer encounter than I had thought.

In this photo you can see the damage to the front fender and if you look carefully you can see the other damage.

In this photo you can see the damage to the front fender and if you look carefully you can see the other damage.

My first stop was at the Natalspruit Provincial Hospital where I visited the Thuthuzela Care Centre and this time I was not refused admittance to the premises because I was in possession of a camera or any other photographic equipment as had happened at the Baragwaneth Hospital.

I was truly impressed with the manner in which the Thuthuzela Care Centre has been established at the Natalspruit Hospital and is in fact the first one that has been established close to properly. They have a member of the FCS unit at the centre 24 hours a day as Captain Manyoni had told me during my visit to the Beares store in Germiston on the first day of this project, my only problem being that I believe that the police officer at the centres should be a female in civilian clothes due to the fact that a child rape victim, especially a young girl child, relates easier to a female, after all the guy who is trying to extract information from her about the rape is of the same species as the individual who has just raped her and destroyed her life.

The Natalspruit Thuthuzela Care Centre also has a doctor and forensic nurse permanently based at the centre as well as a social worker. So hats off to this centre, although I must say that this being the only centre I have seen which has these staff members based permanently based there is I think largely attributed to the great effort which has been put in by the NGO which works very closely with the Thuthuzela Care Centre namely the Ekupholeni Mental Health and Trauma Centre.

 

Two people I spoke to who impressed me immensely were Sam Van der Gryp and Martha Radebe the programme manager for gender violence. I was told that the centre handles on average about 100 new cases a month with 60 -70 of those being child rape cases. These guys are doing a sterling job; keep up the great work guys.

My first two nights ‘out on the road’ were spent in comfort due to the fact that my new sponsorship from the Protea Hotel group came into operation and I was kindly hosted accommodation at the Protea Suikerbosrand Hotel and Nature Reserve in a chalet up in the hills.

 Looking down on the chalets, absolute bliss.

Looking down on the chalets, absolute bliss.

This hotel and nature reserve is steeped in history and there is a farm museum which was the homestead of the Marais family who participated in the great trek and settled in the area and established the farm and house in 1848. The original house and other buildings have been reconstructed as they were at the time the family lived there.

 Closest in picture is the building which became a school, followed by the farm house and the wagon shed.

Closest in picture is the building which became a school, followed by the farm house and the wagon shed

This is the type of dwelling the family lived in when they arrived in the area and were busy building the house.

This is the type of dwelling the family lived in when they arrived in the area and were busy building the house.

I absolutely love history and so I thought I would share this bit of info with you. I was also fascinated with the fact that the original owner of the farm, Jan Marais, as well as his wife and children are buried in the family grave site near to the house.

My week ended with a visit to the Beares stores in Nigel and Heidelberg on Thursday followed by a visit to Standerton on Friday. In Nigel I got to chat to a group of ladies and got their opinions on what needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children and although their suggestions pretty much coincided with what I believe needs to be done it was good hearing it come from someone else.

 Buddy having a ball entertaining the kids together with the Beares staff of Nigel.

Buddy having a ball entertaining the kids together with the Beares staff of Nigel.

In Standerton I got to meet an exceptionally interesting guy by the name of Siphwe Vilakasi who has foundered and heads up an NGO called Inhlosienhle Community Building operating in the Standerton area as well as captain JM Hlatswayo of the FCS unit, Reverend Macdonald Pebe and a number of other guest who made the talk at the Standerton Beares store officially, by far, the longest talk I have ever had.

 The amazing group of people, guests and staff at the Beares store in Standerton, that’s Siphwe on my left.

The amazing group of people, guests and staff at the Beares store in Standerton, that’s Siphwe on my left.

The week was rounded of camping at the Villiers Camping resort where I got to watch the Sharks kick butt against Western Province in the Carrie Cup final, what can I say when you good you good. So well done SHARKIES you guys did us Shark supporters proud. What can I say to those disheartened province (Weepies supporters) sooorrry.

 Me writing my blog and multi-tasking, typing my blog on the lap top, fishing and enjoying a beer waiting for the kick off of the ‘BIG MATCH’.

Me writing my blog and multi-tasking, typing my blog on the lap top, fishing and enjoying a beer waiting for the kick off of the ‘BIG MATCH’.

 I had a couple of fellow campers alongside me in the form of Joe and Gert Dryer and their families as well as Wayne (I think his surname is Cooke) and Natasha Louw who made my week ends camping a very pleasurable occasion. So thanks guys I hope to see you again sometime.

 Mmmm what can I say about those ‘other’ rugby jersey, rather keep quiet Mr Heath.

Mmmm what can I say about those ‘other’ rugby jersey, rather keep quiet Mr Heath.

 Well I think I have said enough on this blog to keep Julia busy for a while, so I will end it by saying farewell for now, keep well and stay safe and of course keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy) and Me (Steve Heath)

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

All comments and opinions mentioned in the blogs and on the www.buddyandme.co.za website are entirely those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors.


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)

Week 3 started with a visit to the Kempton park area, and this included visits to the Beares store in West Street as well as the Lubners store in West Street which was followed by a visit to the Beares store in the festival mall shopping centre.

At the Beares store in West Street, ‘Buddy and Me’ were met by a group of kids from the Tineyi Nyateka Lovely Kids Crèche and the Head Mistress Belinda. After clambering all over Buddy, which of course made his day, I got to spend some quality time chatting to everyone present which included a very interesting chat with Captain Shilenge and captain Tsoane of the local FCS unit and getting yet more opinions and comments on what needs to be done to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children.

The kids outside Beares in West Street Kempton Park enjoying themselves with Buddy.

The kids outside Beares in West Street Kempton Park enjoying themselves with Buddy.

The kids joined by the Beares staff of West Street store.

From the Beares store ‘Buddy and Me’ progressed to the Lubners store which is situated a mere two hundred and fifty metres further up the street and here we were met once again, as happened at this store on project 2 in October 2009, by ‘DJ Lucky’ that energetic Lubners staff member whose passion and dream I think is to become an international ‘DJ’ who was edging on a horde of kids shouting greetings to ‘Buddy and Me’.

‘Buddy and Me’ being greeted by the kids of the Falcon English Medium College and their teacher Gertrude Chirewa.

Buddy and Me’ being greeted by the kids of the Falcon English Medium College and their teacher Gertrude Chirewa.

And of course Buddy was roped in together with the Lubners staff.

And of course Buddy was roped in together with the Lubners staff.

Our next port of call was to the Springs, Delmas and Bronkhorstspruit areas where we met up with the friendly staff of Beares in all these area.

At the Springs Beares store ‘Buddy and Me’ were treated to a spectacular show of song and dance performed by the kids of the Wilson Lebone Crèche coached by the Head Mistress Alvina Mcumu from the Kwa-Thema district. This was followed by a lengthy discussion with a large group of guests and Beares staff on the subject of child rape, possible solutions to stopping it and of course the topic which is being discussed more and more, the fact that children are not being disciplined properly, and the reason surrounding this issue.

The kids performing their song and dance routine – yes you guessed right – to Shakirahs ‘Waka-Waka It’s time for Africa’

The kids performing their song and dance routine – yes you guessed right – to Shakirahs ‘Waka-Waka It’s time for Africa’

And as usual the kids and Beares staff could not resist including Buddy in the festivities.

And as usual the kids and Beares staff could not resist including Buddy in the festivities.

Most of the discussions I have had with members of the public, police and Social Workers, as well as teachers, have been around the issues of the impact of the child abuse act and the fact that it has removed the parents as well as teachers ability to administer discipline to children and the impact this has had on crimes of, not only rape of children by children, but other acts of crime being perpetrated by children.

So far everyone I have discussed this issue with agree that there is no manner in which a child can be disciplined without it constituting child abuse. Teachers have mentioned the fact that they get spoken to by kids as young as 8 and 9 years of age, in a shocking manner and young kids walk in and out of class as they please and there is absolutely nothing the teacher can do to the child without it being constituted as child abuse. It appears that everyone I have been talking to unanimously agree that the child abuse legislation promulgated by the government, which was aimed at protecting children, is definitely contributing to the high degree of anti-social behaviour and crime being perpetrated by children all over South Africa.

This past week ‘Buddy and Me’ also got to spend an entire day in Soweto visiting the Beares stores in the Maponya Mall, which by the way is an incredibly beautiful shopping centre, as well as Beares in the Jabulani Mall and Protea Gardens shopping centre. At the Beares store in the Maponya Mall I got to meet an amazing lady by the name of Dinah Sekhothe who heads up a home for abused children called ‘The Orlando Children’s Home’. The home provides shelter for up to 60 kids aged from birth to, the oldest being 21 years of age and who has been at the home since birth. The children cared for include children who have been physically abused, abandoned, HIV infected from birth due to pregnancy and abandoned due to this condition, as well as many, according to her the majority, who have been raped and sexually abused. The amazing thing is that Dinah has never even heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centres never mind aware of the fact that there is one close by at the Baragwaneth Hospital!!

As I said in my link ‘The Purpose of Project 3 – A proposed Solution to Child rape’ I hope to visit as many, if not all, of the Thuthuzela Care Centre around South Africa and establish how many South Africans know of the existence of the centres, given the fact that they started being established 10 years ago in 2000. So after spending some time chatting to the Beares staff I took a walk around the lovely centres and asked members of the public if they had ever heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centres.

I must admit that following my previous experiences when asking people if they have ever heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre’s, I was not surprised when not one single person, and most of them were mothers with babies or small children, had never so much as heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre.

On my way out of Soweto and while on my way to the Baragwaneth Hospital where I hoped to be able to visit the centre there and to chat to the staff, I stopped off at two nursery schools/crèches, and was amazed that not even the teachers and head mistress had ever heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre. To put the cap on it, on two occasions I stopped two SAPS police vehicles and asked for directions to the Thuthuzela Care Centre and received blank looks and the response “No, I have never heard of such a place”.

But the best was still to come. When I arrived at the main gates of the Baragwaneth Hospital I was stopped by a large contingent of security guards who when I asked for directions to the Thuthuzela Care Centre I was given yet another blank look and was told “There is no such place here, this is the hospital”. When I insisted that the centre was in the hospital he made enquiries with the other security officers and all confirmed that they had never heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre.

I explained that I wanted to go in to enquire at the administration office as to the whereabouts of the centre and I was then asked if I had anything to declare. I asked “Like what” and the response was “Do you have a camera or any other photographic devise”. I confirmed that I had a camera and a cell phone which has photographic capabilities and I was then told that I could not enter the hospital premises. Perplexed I asked if I was entering a hospital or a military base and the response was a blank look and “You cannot enter if you have a camera, you must leave the camera and the cell phone with someone outside or you can’t go in”. As there was no safe keeping facility to place my cell phone and camera in I was forced to make a U turn and head out of Soweto very disappointed with the fact that I did not get a chance to visit the Thuthuzela Care Centre, the best kept secret of Baragwaneth Hospital and Soweto.

While driving out of Soweto I must admit my mind wondered over the thought of what a hospital could have that they wanted to hide so desperately?

Since the Germiston City News and Boksburg newspaper articles, I have received a number of very disturbing calls from mothers of children who have been brutally and severely raped in the Germiston and Alberton areas. I have asked them to email the details to me before I write about them on my blogs, so keep tuned in to the ‘Buddy and Me’ website to find out what is happening in these areas concerning the rape of children, it’s quite shocking.

I do however have some good news. As I said in my first blog, my friend who was posting my blogs for me could not continue doing it for personal reasons, but I managed to locate another helpful computer boffin by the name of Julia Ramos who apart from running a computer training college, printing business and runs the CP’s Pub and Grill in Lambton Germiston, kindly offered to post my blogs onto my website. So Julia I know you are a very busy lady so your assistance is sincerely appreciated.

So all that’s left for me to say is, keep 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

All comments made on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website are strictly those of Steve Heath and not of the sponsors of 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)

My last week has not brought much in terms of establishing what is happening with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children in Gauteng and specifically the East Rand and Jo’burg central area. My travels with Buddy this past week has taken us to the Beares stores and areas of Jo’burg CBD – Carlton Centre, Rosettenville, Newlands, Florida, and the township of Alexandra.

I have had many discussions with individuals from all different walks of life and have been given many varying opinions on what needs to be done to stop the rape of children, the majority of which is obviously extreme and severe punishments. But, unfortunately the same old problem crops up every time I ask the question “What if the rapists is your husband or brother” and the response as usual is a blank look and shake of the head, and this ladies and gentlemen is our country, as well as ‘Africa’s, biggest problem, some people must face the full extent and wrath of the law while ‘others’ ‘the chosen ones’ must not.

Another topic which has been discussed at length with many individuals is the fact that our esteemed government considers traffic offenders to be a far higher risk to our society than child rapists. This comment and opinion is based on the fact that hundreds of millions of Rands is spent every year on our elite and ‘highly trained’ traffic police in the form of the Metro Police. In addition to this the Minister announced on national television that the Metro police force was going to be increased by an additional 1 500 policemen and women.

To cap it all, God only knows how much has been spent on the latest sophisticated toll scanning system which is currently being installed and which will detect motorists who have not renewed their licences. We see a very high degree of police presence on our roads lately (Metro Police cars everywhere) with motorists being heavily fined ‘Zero tolerance’ for not having their cars in a 100% road worthy condition and fining individuals for failing to wear their safety belts, and on this subject a comment was made that by an individual not wearing his or her safety belt does not prevent an accident or place any body else’s life in jeopardy but the individual him/herself. However a child rapist is destroying not only the life of the victim but that of her entire family.

So with this in mind I would like to once again raise the details I mentioned in Blog 1 of project 3, and that is the fact that our SAPS – FCS unit which was re-established on the 1st of April this year, consists of, when compared to the size and cost of the traffic Metro Police, a hand full of semi, and in many cases, totally untrained police officials who operate on the basis of the cluster system which involves one main police station where the FCS unit is based, providing services to child rape victims as well as victims of domestic violence in a very large area with up to six and seven satellite stations.

I have been told that on average there is between 9 and 11 members to each FCS cluster and this includes administration staff, with two members on stand-by (24 hours a day) to react to calls from all seven stations. I have been told, and I am sure that the public can confirm this statement, that the biggest gripe from the SAPS is the fact that “They don’t have transport” and this is the reason given when complaints are lodged by the public about the pathetic response time from the SAPS. Yet we see hundreds of Metro Police cars ‘patrolling’ our streets daily.

I believe, and it has been confirmed by the hundreds of individuals I have spoken to during the past two weeks alone, that our government has to get it’s priorities right and decide who is the biggest threat to our society, motorists or child rapists and other violent criminals. I am not saying that keeping our roads safe from un-roadworthy vehicles, speedsters and drunk drivers is not important, but come on, when comparing the money spent on policing motorists and policing child rapists and other violent criminals the gap is monstrous.

So that brings my comments on Blog 2 of Project 3 on child rape and what is not being done to erase this scourge from our society to an end. Next week ‘Buddy and Me’ will be visiting the Beares stores in the areas of Kempton Park, Soweto, which includes the areas of Maponya Mall – Jabulani and Protea Gardens, as well as Lenasia where I hope to get many more opinions and comments on the subject and to be able to visit the Thuthuzela Care centre in Baragwaneth Hospital.

So until next I get to submit a blog ‘Buddy and Me’ will wish you farewell. Unfortunately my friend, Gail Vivyan-Day who was helping me post my blogs is unable to assist anymore and so I desperately need to find someone who knows something about computers to help me post my blogs from email form to the website. Unfortunately my computer knowledge is zip, and so my blogs will be delayed until this problem is sorted out.

 So from ‘Buddy and Me’, keep well, 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 me via email address: steve@buddyandme.co.za

Please note, that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website are strictly those of mine and the individuals I chat to along my travels 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)

“Buddy and Me’ once again extend a warm welcome to the supporters of the ‘Buddy and Me – Searching for a Solution to the rape and Sexual Abuse of Children’ project 3. If you have been following the project you will have noted that project 2 completed on the 10th of June 2010, the day before the 2010 World Cup started.

So now thanks to Beares who have provided the necessary main sponsorship to ensure that the fight to stop the rape of children continues in the form of ‘Buddy and Me’, ‘Buddy and Me’ started project 3 on the 5th of October this year 2010.

If you have read the link on the front page of the ‘Buddy and Me’ website headed “The Purpose of Project 3 – A proposed Solution to the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children” you will have read that my purpose on this project is to ensure that our esteemed government establishes Thuthuzela Care Centres at every provincial hospital in South Africa as a matter of extreme urgency and that the essential staff identified in my proposal is employed at these centres.

I will be visiting all the Thuthuzela Care Centres which have been established at provincial hospitals in South Africa on my travels around the country and will be speaking to as many police officials and court officials I can in order to establish the impact which the Sexual Offences Act 32 – 2007 and latest legislation in the form of the ‘Child Justice Act 75 – 2008 has had on the situation of rape of children by children.

The information I was given on project 2 indicated that this situation was escalating at a phenomenal rate all around South Africa, and many individuals from all walks of life and from all different communities blamed the situation on the fact that legislation which forbids the disciplining of children in any form by the parent is to blame for this rapidly increasing situation. I will therefore be seeking comments and opinions on this aspect of child rape from the communities as well.

So having said all of that, the ‘Buddy and Me – Project 3’ commenced on the 5th October 2010 with visits to the Beares store in Germiston – Golden Walk Shopping Centre, Primrose and Elsburg, all being in the Germiston district.

I obtained a great sponsorship from Canon SA in the form of a new camera, my old one having taken some strain during the past 5 years of travelling around Africa and so I desperately needed an up-date, so hopefully I will be able to show you some great pictures of the amazing people and places I meet and visit on ‘Buddy and Me – Project 3’

So with that here are the first two pictures. The first taken at my visit to the Beares Head Office in Sandton Johannesburg of the Beares Managing Executive, Tony Von Blerk, his PA, Nicole van der Westhuizen and the new Beares Marketing Manager Cathy van Heerden with myself and Buddy taken at the Beares Head Office on Friday the 8th October at the official Head Office send off, and the other being of the kids of the Thuto – Mfundo Child Care Centre who came out to the Brakpan Beares store to sing for ‘Buddy and Me’.

Beares Head Office send off Tony Von Blerk on the right, Cathy van Heerden in-front, Nicole van der Westhuizen next to me, and of course Buddy showing off with his new Beares logo.

Beares Head Office send off Tony Von Blerk on the right, Cathy van Heerden in-front, Nicole van der Westhuizen next to me, and of course Buddy showing off with his new Beares logo.

The visits to the other Beares stores in Alberton, Southgate, Boksburg and Benoni all proved to be great with ‘Buddy and Me’ meeting up with all the friendly Beares staff once again and being promised their support to the campaign of fighting child rape.

Beares Brakpan. The kids from the Thuto Mfundo Child Care Centre did an amazing performance of the “My body, this is my body – don’t touch it” song”

Beares Brakpan. The kids from the Thuto Mfundo Child Care Centre did an amazing performance of the “My body, this is my body – don’t touch it” song”

One of the interesting chats I had during the week was one I had with Captain Manyoni, the two IC of the FCS unit based in Germiston who proceeded to give me a run down on the manner in which the FCS unit of the SAPS has been re-established.

Just to refresh your memory, the CPU (Child Protection Unit established many years ago by the SAP) was disbanded in 1998 and the FCS unit which was established in its place and which incorporated all forms of domestic violence was subsequently disbanded in 2008. During February 2010 the Minister of Police informed the public that the FCS unit would be re-established as from the 1st April 2010, and this, according to the information provided to me by the good Captain, was done.

He explained that the FCS unit has been established on a “cluster” basis and so in the Germiston area Germiston police station is the ‘main cluster’ police station with outer lying stations such as Alberton, Primrose, Elsburg, Bedfordview and Edenvale being satellite stations supported by the Germiston members of the FCS unit.

He explained that the FCS unit is comprised of 11 members with two members being on “stand-by’ each day to assist the “outer lying” stations. The two “stand-by” members respond to calls from three stations each, while the remaining staff, comprising of admin staff as well as investigating officers, continue with the investigation of existing cases.

My interview with a lady police official while visiting the Boksburg, Benoni and Brakpan areas, indicated that she is of the opinion that the system has some major defects in that, where the “satellite” stations are reasonably close together, such as in the built up areas such as the big cities, its fine, but reports have been received that in the rural areas where “satellite” stations can be anything up to 150 kilometres apart, this is not so good.

During my travels around South Africa on project 3, I will be spending a lot of time in the rural areas in order to establish if her claims are correct and to establish what the situation is like in these area with regard to the services provided to child rape victims by the members of the SAPS and in particular the FCS units, so stay tuned to the ‘Buddy and Me’ website.

So until next week when ‘Buddy and Me’ visit more Beares stores and get to chat with more individuals involved in the fight against the rape and sexual abuse of children, ‘Buddy and Me’ wish you farewell, stay safe and yep you got it, Keep all children safe. Oh before I sign off, don’t forget to click onto one or all of the links on this website of the organisations ‘Buddy and Me’ support who provide essential support to victims of the disgusting crime of child rape, namely:

  • The Teddy Bear Clinic
  • Bobbi Bear Foundation & Clinic
  • TygerBear Clinic
  • GRIP

And make a donation in order to ensure that the support which the victims desperately need is provided. Before signing off I would like to mention the fact that if it wasn’t for Rory Albertyn of Radiant Networks, www.radiantnet.co.za this website would not be possible, so thank you Rory your support is greatly appreciated.

Caring regards from Buddy (The Beach Buggy) and Me (Steve Heath) Please send your comments and opinions to: steve@buddyandme.co.za