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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)

For months ‘Buddy and Me’ were subjected to incessant rain, day after day, and every-time I watched the weather reports on TV it showed that the Western Cape region was experiencing no rain. This of course is nothing unusual because the Western Cape’s rainfall is normally in winter, so with this in mind I was really looking forward to getting into the region and away from the rain. For a couple of weeks while traversing the Eastern Cape region and on entering the Western Cape region, the rain dissipated and I was subjected to some extreme heat, which of course I was happy with. Unfortunately on leaving Gansbaai, in lovely sunshine, I approached Hermanus, which is a mere 45 kilometres away from Gansbaai and the rain started and continued through the night and the next day.

Fortunately accommodation had been arranged for me by the management of the Protea Hotels with an associated hotel group called ‘African Pride Hotels, Lodges and Country Houses’ and the one which had so kindly come to ‘Buddy and Me’s’ assistance is the one in Hermanus called ‘Mosselberg – on grotto beach  . So instead of setting up camp in the rain I was settled comfortably for the next two days, and I mean comfortably, this is one incredibly lovely place. Check this out,

it could be regarded as small, with limited rooms, in fact only 5 of them, but which are very spacious, but the advantage of this limited accommodation is that one receives exceptional personalised service.

 

That’s Rina Crawford, the House-Keeping Manager on the right of the picture, and Mariette Van Den Bergh, the Chief Chef on her right. Unfortunately the General Manager, Linda Van Blommenstein had already left to start her well deserved holiday when I woke up to the fact that I had not taken a photo of the management team, so sorry Linda I hope I get one on the next trip around.

Thursday (17th Feb 2011) was spent driving in the rain, visiting firstly the police station and then the ‘Child Welfare South Africa’ office. At the police station I met a really nice guy in the form of Constable Mazuthu and meeting him was almost a replica of my meeting Constable Visser in Gansbaai. I entered the charge office and asked to see the person responsible for the stations ‘Victims Support Centre’ and Constable Mazuthu was standing on the other-side of the office and on hearing my request immediately came over and asked “How can I help you’. From then on he proceeded to, very proudly I might add, take me through the path a victim; or the mother of a child rape victim, would follow when reporting the rape or sexual abuse of a child.

This involved the removal of the victim and her/his mother from the public sector of the police station to the ‘Victim Support Centre’ where a report is obtained.

Here Constable Mazuthu is proudly showing me around the Hermanus Police Stations ‘Victim Support Centre’.

Constable Mazuthu confirmed Constable Vissers’ statement that since the inception of the well fitted out and child friendly centre, the reporting of rape, and in particular child rape, had defiantly increased. This obviously was music to my ears and once again proves my belief that if the Thuthuzela Care Centres are established properly and provide the essential services needed to support victims and mothers in cases of child rape it would be a major step in the right direction to encouraging mothers to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children, and in-fact I am confident that this will form 80% of the solution to stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Constable Mazuthu then led the way in his police van while ‘Buddy and Me’ followed to the ‘Child Welfare South Africa’ offices close to the near-by township where I met the manager of the organisation Ms. Rina Louw and a Social Worker, Archie Mwamuka. We had an interesting and lengthy discussion on the rape of children and the factors contributing to this despicable crime and what needs to be done to stop it. Both agreed that my idea of ‘One-Stop’ support facilities being established at all provincial and regional hospitals on the ‘concept’ of the Thuthuzela Care Centres is a good one and would defiantly encourage mothers to report the rape of heir children, however Archie made an interesting comment on this point.

He commented that he agrees that: 1) One of the reasons why mothers are refusing to report the rape of their children is due to the extremely poor reporting procedures to be followed at the ‘majority’ of police stations around the country.

2) The fact that in the majority of cases the perpetrator is the biological father, step-father or uncle.

3) The obvious financial implications of reporting the rape in such cases and the father being imprisoned has a devastating impact on the family, the mother in particular.

4) However he believes that the major reason for mothers not reporting the rape and sexual abuse of their children is because in instances where the perpetrator is the father, step-father or uncle, the mother is placed under severe pressure by other family members to keep quiet because of the humiliation and disgrace the family will suffer should the father, step-father or uncle be charged and sent to prison. He believes that this situation is definitely causing more cases not to be reported, in this area, than the financial implications are, and asked how I believe this problem could be overcome, because no matter how good the support structure is, according to him, the mothers will still not report the rape of their children in these circumstances.

My response to this is simple and I believe that if this is the biggest reason why mothers are not reporting the rape of their children, in this area, then the solution is even easier than I though. My reasons for saying this is that our government, at a very large expense to the tax payers of South Africa, has promulgated legislation in the form of the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32 – 2007’ which states that “any person who is aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused and fails to report it to the authorities is guilty of an offence”, so, simple, apply what the authorities are always claiming to do with traffic offenders adopt a “zero tolerance” attitude just like they profess to do with traffic offenders and start prosecuting the people who stop mothers reporting the rape and sexual abuse of their children, irrespective who the culprit is.

On this point I gave them the following example:

Hypothetically, “If I and my four brothers, who are all married with families, in other words the ‘bread winners’ of their families, were driving and racing four fancy cars at 300 kilometres per hour down the N2 Highway and where trapped in a speed trap, the consequences of this being that there is no admission of guilt fine and the drivers are arrested immediately. The fact that we are all brothers in one family, and are the ‘bread winners’ would not dissuade the traffic officers from immediately arresting all five and delivering us all to the nearest police station where we would be charged and detained until such time as bail could be posted. The same would apply if all five were driving while under the influence of alcohol.

So my question is then “why then should the application of the law be different when a family puts pressure on a mother to stop her reporting the rape or sexual abuse of her child?” in order to put pressure on her to not report it is clear proof that they are aware of the rape of the child and so according to the Sexual Offences Act are compelled to report it, therefore it stands to reason they are guilty of an offence and should be charged. Case closed!

Rina Louw confirmed that although they do not get very many cases of child rape reported to them, this does not mean that it is not occurring on a large scale. She did however confirm that the largest part of their function is providing support to children who are being abused in the form of negligence and being abandoned. This once again makes my hair stand on-end, because once again, in-spite of fancy legislation, once again at the expense of the tax payers of South Africa, we are seeing parents getting away with blatant abuse of children and nothing happens to them. They enjoy the pleasures of ‘producing’ the children but expect the other hard working citizens to finance their children’s up-bringing while they sit back enjoying the benefits of the ‘child grants’ with no consequences to them. Perhaps our government should be seriously considering ‘Work-Farms/prisons for parents who neglect or abandon their children at which they produce food and clothing for the children. 

Constable Visser of the Gansbaai SAPS invited me to give a talk at the Pearly Beach Local Community Forum on Saturday, so Saturday morning found ‘Buddy and Me’ heading out of Hermanus for firstly Gansbaai where I met up with Constable Visser and then on to Pearly Beach which is about 25 kilometres further north.

I thoroughly enjoyed the talk/meeting and I sincerely hope I got my point across regarding the fact that if we, and by that I mean, the mothers in-particular want to stop the rape and sexual abuse of the children, it is imperative that they start reporting every single case and allow the police and justice system to take its course.

 

Buddy ‘strutting’ his colours next to the police cars outside the Eluxolweni Township Community Forum Centre.

Here I am stressing the point about reporting cases of child rape and sexual abuse.

Meet the dedicated members of the ‘Pearly Beach/Eluxolweni Township Community Forum, the only one missing is Constable Visser because she took the photo, but you can see her in the photos in blog 22.

After my talk, I had an interesting chat with Warrant Officer Kruger of the Gansbaai Police, who mentioned that they are experiencing a major problem with young girls, aged between 13 and 15 years of age, falling pregnant and all they are interested in is getting the paper work done with the Department of Community Development in order to obtain the governments child grant (R250-00 per month).

He believes, and I concur 100%, that it should be law that no paper work should be allowed to be undertaken by Social Development until such time as the rape has been reported to the police, because in order for a young girl of between 12 and 16 years of age to fall pregnant she must have been raped because ‘Act 32 -2007 The Sexual Offences Act’ states that no child under the age of 16 can consent to sex, so therefore her pregnancy was an act of rape (Statutory rape). Furthermore no paper work must be allowed to be undertaken unless she and her parents give their full support and assistance to the police in order to obtain a conviction of the rapist.

In addition to this, the same applies to clinics, hospitals and whoever else performs abortions on children under the age of 16. I find it absolutely ridiculous, but be that as it may, that our law permits a child from the age of 12 years of age, to under-go an abortion without her parents knowledge or consent. Warrant Officer Kruger and I both agreed that no abortion should be allowed to be carried out on a child between the ages of 12 and 16 years of age without the case first being reported to the police and a rape docket opened, and the child and her parents gieve their full co-operation to the police in their investigation in order to obtain a successful conviction of the rapist.  

When I returned to On-Rus (Hermanus), my campsite, I headed for the 7/11 Supermarket where the owners Patrick and his wife Sandra and son Craig sponsored me all the necessary ‘things’ for a braai, so thanks guys the braai was fantastic.

Check this out, my campsite with the fire almost ready to receive the chops and chicken (Peri-Peri), which went down exceptionally well with the potato wedges and French salad. I don’t know?, but I think Jammy Oliver would have been hard pressed to beat this!

I had intended spending Sunday relaxing with a fishing rod in one hand and a cold frosty in the other, but after dropping my washing off at a local Laundromat, the owner, a very kind lady by the name of Irene, especially opened her shop to help me with my washing. From there I got involved in a very serious case which involved the rape of a lady’s 2 year-old granddaughter by her drug addicted daughters boyfriend. The whole story is a really bad and sad one and because she and her husband had recently moved to Hermanus, to help the child, they did not have any local knowledge of the ‘system’. I had fortunately spent three days with the ‘system’ and so could help direct her through the route. To her and her husband, I sincerely hope the matter gets sorted out and that you guys can get on with your lives and I sincerely hope that the help I gave you will help get the child through the trauma and to be able to get on with hers’ as well as your lives.

Well my prayers had been answered for fine weather for the weekend and this morning (Monday morning) when I woke the sky looked pretty miserable and so I hurriedly packed before the rain could soak my tent and trailer contents, and headed out of the lovely Hermanus On-Rus Caravan and Camping Resort, but not before first thanking the Resort Manager, Rhyn Potgieter and his staff Dion Cupido and Mallony Swartz for their friendship and hospitality as well as support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.

 

Thanks guys I had a wonderful rest and time in your magic resort. (From left of picture, Rhyn, Mallony and Dion)

Before leaving On-Rus I had to make one more stop, and that was to thank Andre Hattingh and his wife Jenny, owners of the Goddard’s Pub and Grill, for their tremendous friendship and hospitality. The beer was always cold, the conversation ‘very entertaining’ and the rugby outstanding, particularly because the SHARKS beat the Cheetahs.

Unfortunately Jenny, I think, was still in bed fast asleep, but Andre braved the cold misty morning air. No sooner had I left On-Rus and travelled the 7 kilometres to pass through the town/city of Hermanus when the rain started, and it continued for the rest of the drive through to Robertson, 166 kilometres away.

Well that concludes this blog, so I will write about my visit to the sleepy little town of Robertson in my next blog. I have already heard some scary news about how the local SAPS handle reports of child rape here but I don’t want to write about it until I have had a chance to chat to the police about the allegations tomorrow.  

So until next I write, keep well, stay safe and above all 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 and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ blogs 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)

I received this email from a concerned community member who wants to share
it with the rest of South Africa. It just proves what a sick society we are
living in, and that savages like this are allowed to roam around our country
destroying the lives of children.

Chris Ndaliso, The Witness

Pietermaritzburg – The memory of being raped repeatedly by her father
in front of her mother is what a 7-year-old girl from Haniville, 10km
outside Pietermaritzburg, will live with for the rest of her life.

It is alleged that in some instances, the mother would ask the Grade 1
girl from a local school how the sex was.

The child was discovered by the Imbali based Foundation for Victims of
Crime, a non-governmental organisation that deals with victims of crime
and raises awareness on child and women abuse. Spokesperson Motho Morai
said they were doing their routine presentations at the school on
Wednesday when a teacher approached them about the child.

Blood on underwear

“An older child at the school, who is a neighbour of the victim, told
us that one day she saw blood coming from the victim’s underwear. When
she asked her what was wrong, she said her father had slept with her.

“We called the child aside and asked her what happened, in the least
painful way we could.”

At first the child was reluctant to talk, but eventually she opened up.
“The child said her father has been raping her continuously in front
of her mother.”

Morai related the girl’s description of the rapes, saying her father
had used a “plastic sock” (condom).

“She was last raped on Tuesday. We have been informed that the
victim’s 12-year-old sister has been taken away from the parents by
relatives in Durban, after it was discovered that she was also raped by
the father,” Morai said.

“We then reported the matter to the police and the father was
arrested. The child was admitted to Grey’s Hospital for
observation.”

Police confirmed the arrest and said the man, who cannot be named to
protect the victim’s identity, will appear in the Pietermaritzburg
Magistrate’s Court on Friday. The Witness has learnt that the mother
has been at the child’s bedside in hospital since she was admitted.

Mother ‘should be arrested too’

The director of Childline KZN, Linda Naidoo, said the mother should be
arrested too because she couldn’t protect the child against her
father.

“If the mother was present during the rapes then she should be
arrested, and not be with the child.

“We don’t want a situation where the mother will influence the
child against testifying against her father. We’ve had cases where
children fail to testify against their parents.

“When it comes to the emotional well-being of the child, only social
workers are in a position to decide who is supposed to be with the
victim and who’s not. We will follow this up immediately,” said
Naidoo.

– The Witness


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 after bidding Ronnie and his team of merry-men at ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’, which is in the middle of nowhere in the Klein Karoo, farewell, ‘Buddy and Me’ continued on our merry way through Barrydale where we took a left turn which took us through the amazingly scenic Tradouws Pass to Suurbraak, Swellendam and once on the N2 highway took a left to Bredasdorp and on through Napier and Stanford and finally ended up in Gansbaai, which all involved an extremely hot drive through some really barren countryside, but first let me go back a few, in fact a lot of steps.

When I had passed through the small village/town of Calitzdorp on project 2, on my way to Ronnie’s place, which is about 60 kilometres out of Oudtshoorn, I had stopped off at a café to get a cool drink and had bumped into a group of the local community which happened to be coloured ladies, and so on passing the same café I had to stop and hoped I would bump into the same group again, but alas it was not to be, but this is what happened on that occasion, and I just felt I had to share this once again:

9th March 2010 – “When I entered the small town of Calitzdorp, I stopped to get a cold drink at a café and while waiting to pay at the counter, a group of 6 coloured ladies approached me and asked, in a heavily accented ‘Cape Coloured’ accent, if I was the person driving that crazy little car. When I confirmed I was one lady said, (and you really need to hear the accent to make it sound as funny as I found it) “You know, these blary men, they can’t keep their blarey hands off the young girls and children and they can’t keep their blarey dingis in their pants, I think we need to start chopping the blarey things off”.

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

As I said, unfortunately I did not get to meet up with the same group of ladies again and so my hot journey through kilometre after kilometre of road, mountains and bush continued. A short way out of Suurbraak I came across a small ‘monument stone’ and on stopping discovered the following:

Amazing that from 1730 till 1791 people from the ‘Dutch East India Company’ actually lived in this remote part of the woods and ran a trading post.

 

Anyway let me get back to where I left off on my last blog. I arrived in Gansbaai and headed for the magic caravan/camping park which is situated right on the waters edge near the entrance to the harbour. It was still mind boggling hot and so by the time I had set up camp I was sopping wet from sweating.

Soon after setting up camp, a car pulled up on the campsite in-front of me and a lady and a young girl, who I estimated to be around 12 years of age, got out and started setting up camp. Now when I say “camp”, this was a tiny little thing that probably a kid of around 6 years of age would only have been able to lay flat in. I noticed that they did not have any other camping equipment and so offered them my one spare camping chair. I then discovered that they were a mother and daughter team, Sonja Thiele, being the mother and Angelina, being the daughter who originate from Germany and who have been travelling all over the world together on ‘their’ mission/crusade.

Their ‘mission/crusade’ involves travelling around the world visiting schools etc, wherever children can be found, educating and teaching them about the different cultures to be found around the world. I think the easiest is for me to give you Sonja’s website and email address and you can see for yourself what her and Angelina are involved with: Website: www.kidsdiscovertheworld.com Email: info@kidsdiscovertheworld.co

Tuesday morning dawned bleak and very misty, and even at 8:30am I couldn’t see the sea which was a mere 30 metres away from my camp, but by the time I had had breakfast, which comprised of left over lamb stew from the previous night, boiled eggs and salty cracks, sounds yummy hey, the weather had cleared and so I set off for the local police station.

Now before continuing, I must tell you that I really did not expect any great shakes from my visit to this police station, it being in a small coastal town etc, with no FCS unit, and my expectations being based on the fact that my experience with so many visits to large police stations I had visited all around South Africa have proved to be so disappointing, and these included visits to stations at which FCS units have been ‘established’, but oh boy was I in for a major shock!

On entering the police station’s charge office, which by the way is extremely clean and neat, a plus already, and on asking to speak to someone who deals with child rape cases, I was immediately pointed in the direction of Constable Visser, and from that minute my spirits flew skywards.

Immediately on hearing who I was and what I am doing and that I wanted to know what support structures are available for child rape victims in Gansbaai, she smiled and said “Come with me, I will show you”. And from the very first minute I knew I was in for a treat and that this lady was obviously very proud of whatever it was she was going to show me, and proud she can well be!

Firstly let me tell you that the police in Gansbaai do not have an FCS unit, (This being the SAPS unit responsible for the investigation of child rape cases as well as cases of domestic violence and adult rape), the main FCS unit is based in Caledon (about 120 kilometres away) and there is a ‘support’ unit in Hermanus which is about 45 kilometres away. But this is the first time I have ever seen a ‘satellite’ station, as in a ‘cluster station’ which has a ‘victim support system’ like this station has. The only other two police stations I have ever seen support centres close to this is in Uitenhage and Port Alfred, and so to have found three police stations with such dedication and self motivation in the whole of South Africa is incredible.

To cap it all, the area the Caledon FCS unit has to cover is an area which covers a mind boggling 240 kilometre radius, and includes the police stations of:

  • Caledon
  • Hermanus
  • Stanford
  • Kleinmond
  • Napier
  • Bradasdorp
  • Struisbaai

According to Constable Visser, all these police stations have their own ‘victim support centres’, although she did confirm that not all of them are up to the same standard as the one in Gansbaai is.

The police in Gansbaai are backed-up by private citizens who are trained counsellors and do counselling support for rape victims out of the goodness of their hearts and do not get paid a single cent for their services, my oath what a dedicated bunch these Gansbaaians are, (is there such a word – if not I just made it up). To cap it all, Constable Visser does the initial statement taking and is trained for this function, and can you believe this, her mother is one of the volunteer counsellors and her dad is also very involved in the functioning of the centre, a whole dedicated family dedicating their lives to ensuring that victims of rape and domestic violence get the best possible support the town of Gansbaai can provide, absolutely incredible. Gansbaai SAPS – Constable Visser – you are hereby presented with the ‘Buddy and Me’ medal for the best support structure for child rape victims as well as victims of domestic violence Buddy and I have seen to date. Keep up the good work.

 

Constable Visser proudly showing me the ‘packs’ which are given to rape victims.

The comfortable and in-particular, child friendly, facilities to accommodate victims.

This is where Constable Visser takes the initial statement to open the case, just check out the friendly and comfortable surroundings.

And this is the outside of the facility.

Well, all I can say is that my visit to the Gansbaai police station was an experience of note, and after having visited so many disappointing police stations where it is blatantly clear that the members of the SAPS are not in the least interested in providing support facilities of any kind to victims of child rape and domestic violence, my visit to this incredible station was like a breath of fresh air.

But before I finish this magic storey, Constable Visser told me something which proves my theory about the implementation of properly established and professionally run Thuthuzela Care Centre being the roots of stopping child rape, and that is that since the inception of the ‘Gansbaai Victim Support Centre’ they have experienced a major increase in the reporting of rape cases in the area. I rest my case!

Well that’s all for now, my next visit is to Hermanus where ‘Buddy and Me’ will be spending the next 5 nights, which includes the first nights accommodation at the luxury ‘Mosselberg – On Grotto Beach Hotel’ courtesy of Protea Hotels and the remaining 4 nights, which includes the weekend, camping, and so who knows maybe I will get some time to catch that elusive fish I have been hunting for, for so long.

So until next I get the opportunity to write, keep well, stay safe, keep your feet on the ground but reach really high for the sky, and naturally – Keep all children safe!!!

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The beach Buggy)

And

Me’ (Steve Heath)

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

Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website and blogs 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)

Thursday the 10th of Feb, after thanking Karen Bús and her staff for their incredible friendship and generous support as well as their hospitality at the Mossel Bay Old Post Office Tree – Protea Hotel Buddy and Me’ headed in-land for the area known as Ruitebos or as I know it the ‘Eight Bells’ area. On arriving at the lovely ‘Eight Bells’ hotel which is owned by René Bongers (I hope I have that spelling right) who graciously agreed to assist me with a nights accommodation,  I spent the rest of the day visiting old friends (not in terms of age, but in terms of how long I have known them and that is since passing through the Ruiterbos (Eight Bells) area on project 1 of ‘Buddy and Me’ way back in 2005) who are the original and previous owners of the ‘Eight Bells Hotel’,  Peter and Jean Brown and their daughter Jacquie who was General Manager of the hotel at the time of my last visit.

 

Jacqui, has, unintentionally, raised 10 beautiful American Bull dogs – because after the pups were born, 8 of them, she did not have the heart to part with any of them – so meet Jacquie Brown and her ‘gang’!

From Jacquie I drove the short distance to where her mom and dad, Jean and Peter Brown live in a stunningly beautiful cottage which looks like it is in the Swiss Alps.

This old Oak Tree which marks the entrance to the ‘Eight Bells Hotel’ is believed to be around 186 years old, amazing!

After a restful evening at the ‘Eight Bells Hotel, although the majority of my time was spent trying to get my blogs up to date, the next morning after bidding René and his team farewell I stopped off to say farewell to Jacqui and was ‘instructed’ by her that I could not leave the area without first paying a visit to a good friend of hers, Christine Watt who together with her husband Peter, yet another Peter in the area, own a Guest House/Farm called ‘Outeniqua Moon’.

After stopping off at the ‘Outeniqua Moon Guest House/Farm’ which is only one and a half kilometres away from the ‘Eight Bells Hotel’, I was truly thankful to Jacqui for having told me about Christine and the ‘Outeniqua Moon Guest House/Farm’ because what I learnt about this incredible lady and her ‘passion’, being the breeding of rare heavy draft – Percheron Horses – was nothing short of mind blowing for me because Christine and Peter are totally absorbed in the breeding of, as well as love and care which they devote to these magnificent animals.

 

Here Christine is proudly showing me ‘Grey Stoke’ who is the big daddy of most of the incredible Percheron Horses to be found on ‘Outeniqua Moon’.  You have to contact her if you want to know the history behind these incredible animals, the history itself is amazing and I could not do it justice by writing about it, so contact Christine on +27 (0)82 564 9782 or email: watt@hilbert.co.za or check out their website on: www.outeniquamoon.co.za to get more information, you won’t be sorry you did.

I couldn’t possibly continue writing my blog without showing you Grey Stokes’ two latest ‘kids’.

The beauty on the left is 3 months old and the one on the right, getting a loving kiss from Christine is 6 weeks old.

 

I spent a lot longer than I expected chatting to Christine and being shown around the magnificent ‘Outeniqua Moon Guest House/Farm and eventually after nearly three hours bid her farewell with a promise to return ‘one day’ hopefully not too far in the distant future and continued on my merry way through to Oudtshoorn which involved a drive of a staggering 50 kilometres, but included a drive of 14 kilometres through the scenic ‘Robinson Pass’.

On reaching Oudtshoorn, I immediately sort out the ‘Protea Hotel – Riempie Estate’’ where I was kindly hosted accommodation for the night, courtesy of the General Manager, Christelle Gerryts. While parking Buddy, I heard a noise behind me and on turning discovered an ostrich, with amazingly big eyes, standing about a metre away from me, just starring at me! When I took out my camera this amazing ‘bird’ started doing an incredible dance for the benefit of the camera.

 I later discovered that ‘Lomo’, that’s his name, does this act/dance every-time someone points a camera at him.

After a lovely evening at the very comfortable and friendly ‘Protea Hotel – Riempie Estate’  where I was served very cold Millers by this friendly chap

Donavan, the barman – the next morning I bid farewell to the hotels General Manger Christelle Gerryts, and headed for the police station.

Unfortunately for me, Oudtshoorn was experiencing a massive influx of people in the form of the ‘Harley Davidson Motor Cycle Club of South Africa’ who was holding a rally over the weekend and so my visit to the police station asking to speak to someone in connection with child rape did not go down too well and so I gave up and headed out of Oudtshoorn, destination Barrydale and that ‘Old Dog’ Ronnie and his ‘Sex Shop’ situated about 23 kilometres before Barrydale in the Klein Karoo.

The drive to Barrydale was a long and very hot one and I had a lot of time to dwell on a discussion I had had at the ‘Protea Hotel – Riempie Estate’ in Oudtshoorn the previous night with another guest. The discussion surrounded the name changing we, as South Africans, have been experiencing at a phenomenal rate over the passed few years and this guy mentioned a few which made me think.

Apart from the changes to the names of so many towns etc, we have experienced changes to our police department as well as the ‘prison’ department etc and these according to him, and I agree whole heartedly with him, are probably large contributing factors to the massive increase in the crime rate we have experienced during the passed few years.

The Commissioner of the South African Police Service announced a short while ago that “he would soon be referred to as general” and that the ranks in the Police Service would be reverting back to the original ranks, i.e. Warrant Officers, Lieutenants, Captains, Colonels, Lieutenant Colonel etc, etc, etc. this after having spent a fortune of the South African tax payers money changing them to Inspectors, Superintendents etc.

The reason for reverting back to the old ranks, according to him, was because they wanted to change the police back to being a ‘force’ as in “A force to be reckoned with” as apposed to a “Police Service” which criminals consider being softies.

I believe that the same applies to our ‘prison’ service and that by changing the name to “Correctional Services” and prisoners/convicts to “inmates’ (the only mates being those ‘in’ with them) criminals consider our “Prisons” to be soft-zone rather than a place of detention and punishment.  

I think it’s time that our government as well as the public, realise that by camouflaging a name, it does not make it better, and this includes places such as Squatter Camps which are now called “Informal Settlements”. By changing the name it does not make the lives of individuals living in these places any easier.  

Anyway it was an interesting discussion and gave me food for thought while driving through to ‘Ronnies Sex Shop’ near Barrydale where ‘Buddy and Me’ arrived in the blistering heat of the afternoon.

But first I must explain that ‘Ronnies Sex Shop’ is not what the name suggests. This place is incredibly well known world wide and is in-fact a Pub/Restaurant of note and the reason Ronnie gave it the name ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’ was to attract the public’s attention to the place, and believe me it worked. Nobody drives passed without stopping, at least for a cup of tea or coffee or bite to eat. Also the place has acquired an incredibly large collection of ladies lingerie which adorns the ceiling and walls. Women donating a piece of lingerie (that word always amazes me) get a free drink, so here is a young lady by the name of Cezanne who was on her way home from the Harley Davidson Rally in Oudtshoorn who donated a ‘very small’ piece of her ‘Lingerie’ to ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’.

 

But first I had to set up camp out on the front lawn in the blistering heat

Then it was time to cool down with a couple of cold frosties with Ronnie and his merry-men,

so meet, from the left of the picture – Mark, the barman, the infamous Ronnie, yours truly, and Dion, the other man who makes it all happen at ‘Ronnie’s Sex Shop’.

Valentines Day was the next day, Monday the 14th, so that evening (Sunday the 13th Feb) was spent celebrating this auspicious evening with various groups of people who kept popping in and a great evening was had by all.

This was one of the crazy couples who popped in, Bruce Littleton and Winnie de Pass from Somerset West who had a ball and check out my moves here.

Mmmm looks like a shot from ‘Grease’ as in the workshop grease not the movie’.

Monday morning I bid farewell to Ronnie and Dion and hit the road to Gansbaai, but more about that in my next blog because I think Julia has enough on her plate getting this blog posted.

 

Well as you gathered, I have not acquired much information in the form of child rape while travelling through this area, mainly because one drives for hundreds of kilometres without seeing a sole, just open road, mountains and bush, but my visit to Gansbaai turned up some really interesting facts which got me really excited. So until next when I write, which will probably be tomorrow, I will bid you farewell for now, so keep well, 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

Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ blogs 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)

So on Sunday morning (6th Feb), after thanking Paul Fielder – the General Manager, and Marietjie Fielder – the Reservations Manager, of the Protea Quays Knysna Hotel for their incredibly generous support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project, as well as for the friendship and hospitality which was bestowed upon me and Buddy (He actually got a snug covered parking to see out the rainy nights), ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for Buffelsbaai or as it is known in English, Buffalo Bay, which is about 15 kilometres south of Knysna.

As it was Sunday and because I intended taking the day off on Monday to catch up with my washing and some computer work, I decided to spend the two nights camping, and hopefully get in a bit of fishing, or rather ‘angling’, these two sports being as different as rugby is to cricket. 

On arriving at the lovely ‘Buffelsbaai Caravan and Camping Resort’ reception office, which by the way was voted South Africa’s number one Resort in 2004, the manager of the park George Zondagh offered me a camping site in-spite of the fact that the park was fully booked for the weekend as well as pretty full for the remainder of the week as well, but he managed to find me a spot where my tent could fit in and so I was set for the next two nights.

                    

A lovely spot, only 15 – 20 metres from the sea and from my tent I could watch the sea and dream of that humungous sea monster swimming around out there waiting to pounce on my hook, dream on Mr. Heath

 

I placed my life in peril in order to get this photo for you climbing to the top of a ‘mountain’ (actually a small rocky hill) but it was worth the ‘risk’ because it provides a pretty good picture of the Resort. From where I was perched on top of the ‘mountain’ I managed to get a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the park. If you click twice on the picture it enlarges and if you look carefully you can see Buddy and my tent right out in the distance just to the right of the furthest ablution block.

The park was packed and it took me over two hours to set up camp, having to chat to a number of people who on walking past, and being attracted of course by Buddy’s incredible charm and good looks, stopped to chat to me about the project. I was amazed to learn that a few of the people actually knew of the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and had in fact been on the website, having heard about it from family and friends, so it seems the word is definitely getting around.

So after spending a glorious Sunday afternoon and Monday in sunny and hot weather trying to catch the elusive fish, which by the way remains elusive, Tuesday morning dawned a very misty, cold and wet morning with a slight drizzle to add to my woes because it would mean having to pack up a wet tent, and this is not good practise.

With this in mind, George suggested that I pack up everything else, leave the tent up, because according to the local ‘experts’ the rain/drizzle would very soon abate and the sun would come out and the tent would dry in the ‘blazing sunshine and heat’, undertake my visit to George (The town, which is about 65 kilometres from ‘Buffelsbaai’) and return later to collect the trailer and tent.  Wow what a plan! So off I went to George (The town/city whatever it is). 

I paid my courtesy visit to the Beares store where I met up with the store manager Dirk Swanepoel, who is a really nice guy and his friendly staff and after a chat with everyone headed out to meet up with Jimmy Setagane at the Thuthuzela Care Centre which is based in the Provincial Hospital close by.

 

Meet Dirk Swanepoel – extreme right of the picture, I won’t say “the bald guy” – and his friendly staff of Beares George.

My visit to the Thuthuzela Care Centre proved to be both a pleasure as well as a disappointment. The pleasure aspect of it was meeting an incredibly nice guy who is dedicated to the establishment and success of the Thuthuzela Care Centre initiative, Jimmy Setagane, but the disappointment was the fact that after having been established for one year, this Thuthuzela Care Centre is once again, in my humble opinion, a complete waist of time and money, as it currently is, and I believe the authorities have completely defeated the object of the concept of establishing, as is stated in the Thuthuzela Care Centre brochures, a ‘One-Stop’ support facilities for victims of child rape as well as victims of domestic violence.

The Thuthuzela Care Centre brochure, which by the way is a very impressive one, which states: “The Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC’s) have been established as multi-disciplinary care centres to deal with the high levels of sexual violence against women and children, especially rape. The centres provide professional medical care, counselling, access to dedicated investigators and prosecutors, all under one roof”.

 

This is the Thuthuzela Care Centre’s very nice, fancy, and obviously expensive brochure, which outlines the services which the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) who is the brain child behind this truly fantastic initiative and concept, process’s to provide essential services to victims of child rape and domestic violence, “All under one roof” – as in a ‘one-stop’ facility. To-date I have visited most of them, a few new ones having been ‘established’ recently which I have not been able to visit, but so-far I have not found a single one which has the services listed in the brochure, “all under one roof”.

As in the case of all the Thuthuzela Care Centres I have visited, it was explained to me that the services provided by the Thuthuzela Care Centres is marketed to the police stations and clinics in the area, where members of the SAPS and staff of the outer lying district clinics are told to refer any reporting of a child rape or act of domestic violence case to them (The Thuthuzela Care Centre). The marketing of the Thuthuzela Care Centres is not directed at the public and so I believe they are defeating the object of the centres by forcing mothers to first go to the police station where a docket is opened, and where, in the majority of cases, because of the inadequacy’s of the FCS ‘cluster system’, the SAPS member is totally inexperienced in dealing with child rape cases, resulting in the mother and child still being exposed to the humiliation and degrading ‘system’ of the police station and then to cap it all, being transported to the Thuthuzela Care Centre by means of a police vehicle, which in many instances is in the back of a police van.  

Unfortunately, as I said, my visit to the Thuthuzela Care Centre which is based in the George Provincial Hospital was a big disappointment in the form that firstly when Dirk Swanepoel phoned the unit to confirm my appointment with Jimmy, nobody answered the phone. Then when he phoned the hospital switchboard, the lady answering had never so much as heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre. On arriving at the hospital, I could not find a single sign indicating where the Thuthuzela Care Centre was! After asking directions from three hospital staff members, I eventually found someone who showed me the way. On arriving at the centre there was nobody there.

 I returned to the front office and asked where I could find Jimmy Sitagane, and after shakes of heads and “I don’t know who that is” one lady said “Aah yes Jimmy, his office is at the back by the ICU” and proceeded to show me the way. So eventually after almost 20 minutes of wondering around the hospital and asking questions of people who had no idea what the Thuthuzela Care Centre is, never mind where they are, I found Jimmy. God help any mother who arrives at a hospital in which a Thuthuzela Care Centre has been ‘established’ hoping to get fast, professional support for her small child who has been raped, “All under one roof’.

As I said previously, Jimmy turned out to be a really great guy who is committed to the establishment and success of the Thuthuzela Care Centre concept and he fully agreed with my sentiments on where the establishment of the centres is going wrong and agrees that if they were established in the manner I believe they should be, it would be a major step in the right direction of stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa.

The most interesting bit of information Jimmy shared with me, and which I was extremely happy to hear, is the fact that it is mandatory for all clinics in the area covered by the Thuthuzela Care Centre, as well as the area covered by the George SAPS FCS unit, to report all abortions carried out by them. This is in light of the section of the children’s Act which states that: “Any child over the age of 12-years of age can undergo an abortion without her parents consent.

The problems which this section of the Act has created, is the fact that children, especially in the 12 – 15 years of age category who have been having ‘consensual’ sex with boyfriends much older than themselves and includes ‘men’ in their early and late 20’s and older, in-spite of the fact that sex with a girl in this age group is by law rape, under the statutory rape section of the Act, by undergoing abortions without their parents consent or knowledge of the pregnancy, are allowing these ‘men’ to escape the law. Jimmy confirmed that in ‘their’ area, these ‘men’ do not escape the ‘long arm of the law’ and all cases in which a child under the age of 16 requests an abortion, ‘men’ responsible for the pregnancy are pursued to the fullest extent of the law. This was good news to me; I just wish this practise was carried out by FCS and Thuthuzela Care Centres throughout the country.

From my meeting with Jimmy, I headed back to Buffelsbaai, in the rain, to pack up my tent, load it, wet, because the local ‘experts’ prediction of sunny hot weather did not materialise, into the trailer and return to George. Fortunately I was hosted incredible accommodation in the exquisite ‘King George Protea Hotel’ and so the wet tent did not affect me, for that night, but I can just imagine what it’s going to smell like when I have to take it out in a few days time??

The entrance to the lovely ‘King George Protea Hotel’

The General Manager Deleur Stander and, I think, Front Office Manager, Caryn-Lee Behr

After a fantastic nights rest and after thanking Deleur and Caryn-Lee for their generous support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project, I headed for the police station where I got to meet another dedicated police officer, one of only a handful I have met on this project. Captain October is as I said, a dedicated police officer who is one of very few I have met in the last five years who is totally committed to the fight against the raping and sexual abuse of children as well as the fight against domestic violence.

What Captain October told me, with regard to how they as an FCS unit operates, totally blew my socks off and if it is true, and I certainly have no reason to believe that its not, if the rest of the SAPS FCS units in South Africa operated on the same basis we would be seeing a major improvement in the fight against child rape and the sexual abuse of children.

For one thing, he confirmed what Jimmy had told me yesterday at the Thuthuzela Care Centre, and that is that in George they have a “no nonsense, zero tolerance attitude towards children in the 12 – 16 years of age, age group who go for abortions ‘without their parents consent or knowledge’, in other words who have been raped, irrespective of the fact that it was ‘consensual’, and they ensure that individual who got this child pregnant  faces the ‘long arm of the law’.

Unfortunately this is another aspect of my visit to George where I suffered ‘disappointment, because once again all the hard work and dedication of the FCS unit has been for naught in that the ‘long arm of the law’ is letting the system down, because on conviction the rapists are all being given trivial fines and suspended sentences.

The good news was that he confirmed, and gave me his word, that no child rape victim is transported to the hospital (Thuthuzela Care Centre) in a ‘marked’ police vehicle, and that only ‘unmarked’ SAPS vehicles are used for this purpose.

He also confirmed that the mother of a child rape victim is kept informed of the progress of the investigation by means of sms bundles. My only problem with this is “what if the mother does not have the financial resources to own a cell phone?”

When I heard how large the area is which the George SAPS FCS unit has to cover, and the size of the staff they have to do this difficult task with, not to mention the fact that they do not have anywhere near sufficient motor vehicles to do the work with, I could not help thinking about the comments I wrote in blogs 1 and 2 of this project 3 regarding the 100’s of millions of Rands being spent to equip our metro traffic police with staff and fancy motor vehicles, it’s called “priorities” or rather, where is the “income” been generated from as far as government is concerned. (It’s worth reading those blogs)

The area the George SAPS FCS unit covers includes the police stations of:

  • George
  • Pacaltsdorp
  • Conville
  • Thembalethu
  • Knysna
  • Plettenberg Bay
  • Kwanonukathula
  • Unimdale

The furthest police station in this area is almost 200 kilometres away from George and the majority of the areas they are forced to travel in are extremely remote areas with gravel roads. And then we wonder why we have a 15 – 18% reporting rate by mothers and a measly 4 – 6% conviction rate, I rest my case.

 

Finally when I left George, I headed for Mossel Bay where I spent some really good quality time with the Beares staff there.

And then finally, exhausted, I headed for the lovely Mossel Bay Protea Hotel where Ronel, the Front Office Manager met me and booked me in for the night, check this out, as I walked in there was a framed sign welcoming me.

 

And then I got to meet the lovely ‘boss lady’ of the hotel, General Manager Karen Bús- on the right of the picture in black slacks and black top, together with her amazingly friendly front office staff.

My room had a spectacular view of the harbour and yacht club as well as the entire Mossel Bay coastline to the left, and I was treated as if I was visiting royalty by all the staff, talk about being spoilt!

There is however one thing I must mention. It wasn’t a problem for me, but I thought maybe Buddy might take exception to it and give me a hard time, but fortunately so far he has accepted the situation graciously and has not made my life difficult, after all it wasn’t my fault!

This is Buddy’s ‘reserved parking’, but look closely at the sign on the wall next to the fish!!

So that once again brings my blog, number 20 to and end, so tomorrow morning, Thursday the 10th ‘Buddy and Me’ will be heading back in-land for Oudtshoorn but will first be paying a visit to some good friends I met in the ‘Eight bells’ area, which is at the foot of the ‘Robinson Pass, on the Mossel Bay side of the Pass. So unitl next I get to write, keep well, stay safe and yep you got it, keep all children safe.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy – my mechanical stead)

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 entirely 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)

Incredible, the ‘Buddy and Me’ project 3 has been on the road for four months now and it feels like yesterday that ‘Buddy and Me’ started project 3 in Jo’burg. But if that’s not bad enough, the first month of 2011 has come and gone.

So to start the 2nd month of 2011, ‘Buddy and Me’ were packed and ready to leave the lovely resort of Cape St Francis at a little after 9am on Tuesday morning, but first I had to bid farewell to my good friends Alex Lennox and his better half Patricia Wood of ‘Stix’ fame.

 

A final farewell which includes the dog searching for that elusive flea.

Buddy’s and my final destination for the day was the exquisite ‘Protea Hotel Tsitsikamma Village’, but first we travelled through what must be one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, the Tsitsikamma Forest and neighbouring area which involves driving over four huge bridge structures. Three of them are notoriously famous, two for their absolute beauty and extreme heights, and the other, the Van Stadens Bridge, although also spectacularly beautiful and huge, is more famous for the number of suicide deaths it has claimed, and last week it claimed its 78th successful suicide jump. Why everyone wishing to end their lives choose this particular bridge is an absolute mystery, but then I suppose after considering the height of the bridge and drop, one will be guaranteed of success.

The bridge is covered by a number of security cameras and there are signs stating that a fine of R500-00 will be applicable if you stop on or near the bridge. Now although this precaution stops individuals like me (who don’t intend jumping off the bridge) from stopping, because a fine arrives in the post, it has definitely not perturbed those intending to jump from completing their mission. In-fact it took authorities, watching the bridge via the security cameras, one and a half hours to react to the 78th individuals jump from the bridge last week.

Because of the cameras and the “fine in the post”, I did not stop to get a photograph of the bridge, but I did stop at the viewing point at the Storms River Bridge and took this photo of the bridge which is exactly the same as the ‘suicide’ bridge a short way up the road.

I had a really VIP and friendly welcome at the ‘Protea Hotel Tsitsikamma Village by the General Managers and co-owners, Chris Sykes and his fiancé of, or so I heard, 15 years, Irma de Villiers.

 

So meet Chris and Irma of 15 years engagement fame. If you look carefully at the wall above them you will see that the building was part of the original town structures and was built way back in 1888.

                     

This picture is of the hotels rooms, or rather some of them, and shows how unique Chris and Irma’s theme for their rooms is.  All of the rooms are designed around the various colonial styled buildings to be found all over South Africa and includes those from the wine farms regions, West Coast fishing village cottages, Cape Dutch, Victorian foresters cottages, Drosty style, Karoo Pastorie cottage (pastor’s house) and even the Landrost’s Huis (magistrates house).

Their intention is to include ‘rooms’ in the style of the ‘RDP’ housing and shacks in the style to be found in the informal settlements, otherwise known as squatter camps. But don’t worry, if you are ever in the area and stop over at the ‘Protea Hotel Tsitsikamma Village’ which you really should do, these rooms, although they will have the outwards appearance of that style of ‘shack’ the inside will provide all the luxury one expects and receives at a Protea Hotel establishment.

After a trip around the village and chat with a few of the local citizens, it was painfully clear that the scourge of child rape is deep in this community as well. A comment was that in-spite of the fact that the old ‘Dop’ tradition has been banned, this being the manner in which farmers/landlords paid their farm hands by subsidising their weekly pay with wine, alcohol is still the main cause for the rape and sexual abuse and physical abuse of women and in particular, children.

It was also stated, and I have raised this point a few times in my blogs, that the RDP housing project’s is considered to be a large contributing factor to the sexual abuse of children. This statement is based on the fact that small kids are being forced to sleep in the same room as their parents and are therefore forced to listen to and watch parents having sex. In many instances there is the situation of boys in their mid teens being subjected to this situation and because their hormones are running rampant end up raping and sexually abusing their smaller sisters. Believe me this is happening on a very large scale.

One of the most interesting bits of information, which by the way was also very frustrating for me, came from the Hotels Barman, Corné who told me that the author of the book ‘Dis ek Anna’ Anchien Troskie, actually lives in Oyster Bay, which is very close to Cape St Francis. The book is about the sexual abuse she was subjected to by her step-father for a number of years, and when she told her mother, her mother did not believe her. I would have dearly liked to have met her, but unfortunately my schedule won’t allow me to return to Oyster Bay and try to meet her, damn!

After a really great evenings rest at the lovely ‘Protea Tsitsikamma Village Hotel’ ‘Buddy and Me’ left the next morning and headed for that beautiful small, well not so small anymore, coastal town of Plettenberg Bay. Here I got to spend some time with the Beares staff and got to meet some really interesting people with whom I had a rather lengthy discussion with about the fact that I am adamant that the rape of children can be stopped.

 

So meet the ‘Razzlers’ Beares staff of Plettenberg bay.

One lady in particular appeared to think that my belief that a harsher or rather more deterrent punishment system being part of the solution, would not work. However after I spent some time explaining my reasoning, she relented and seemed to agree.

My reasoning being:

That a punishment must be a deterrent for everyone, and an example of this comes from a discussion I had with the late Lollie Jackson (Who was the owner of the Teazers operations and was recently murdered) who loved fast and exotic cars, with emphasis on fast, and he believed that paying a 50 – 60 thousand Rand fine for driving one of his Lamborghinis or Ferrari’s at 300 kilometres per hour was not a deterrent, because the cost was “relevant” to his income and pleasure he got out of driving the cars at great speed. But to me or Mr. Joe Soap, (basic citizen) a fine of R50 000 – 00 would be devastating not to mention getting 5 or 6 of them like he did.

The same goes for those committing crime, and child rape in particular in South Africa. The Minister of ‘Correctional Services’ on National Television on ‘Morning-Live SABC 2’ in December said that they have launched a comprehensive campaign to encourage in-mates to make use of the “educational facilities” afforded to them in prison, and these include the obtaining of university degrees and college diplomas, also convicted prisoners, including those convicted of child rape.

Well in-spite of this, I for one, and I am confident that there are millions of South Africans who will agree and who consider being sent to prison, no matter what the ‘privileges’ are, a no go, and so for this reason do not participate in crime of any form. However, there is a very large portion of our society who consider the ‘punishment’ of being sent to prison, to be not a problem, and believe that life is easier in prison, or rather our ‘Correctional Service facilities’ than being out on the streets and is therefore not a deterrent for them to commit crime and includes the raping of small children. These individuals believe that they can reap the benefits and pleasures of their crimes and IF they are caught then they will receive and enjoy the benefits provided by the ‘Correctional Service Facilities’ and be released after only having served a very small portion of their sentences.

I believe my point is proven by the number of repeat criminals returning to the ‘Correctional Service Facilities’ over and over again. If serving a prison sentence in South Africa was a deterrent punishment we would not be seeing these individuals returning to the ‘Correctional Service Facilities’ for having committed the same, and in many cases much worse offences, so much for the ‘Correctional’ part of the Services Facilities’.  

Okay so enough on that subject, although I would love to have a few comments and opinions on the subject, but back to my journey to Knysna. The road to Knysna is a really lovely one, both in so far as the surface conditions are concerned as well as the scenery one passes through. The forests are particularly beautiful and in-spite of the fact that the area has not had much rain recently the forests and shrubbery is very green.  Unfortunately on approaching Knysna, the beautiful forests come to an abrupt halt and are replaced with the truly ugly sight of the shacks of the informal settlements in the area.

 

It’s like ‘Beauty and the Beast’

I was given a friendly welcome by the management and staff of the Protea Knysna Quays Hotel and oh boy was I spoilt by the Protea Hotel again.

That’s the General Manager, Paul Fielder, the big guy standing behind the glamorous front desk ladies and the ever friendly Reservations Manager, Marietjie Theron on the left of the photo.

I want to tell you, the management and staff of this hotel, The Protea hotel Knysna Quays, made my life in Knysna an absolute blis, it was like I was in heaven, thanks guys your support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project, generosity, hospitality and friendship is truly appreciated.

My visit to the Beares store in Knysna was once again a memorable occasion, and the manager Frik Hattingh, who by the way I need to spend some time with and teach to fish, provided me with some good information regarding who to speak to for info on the happenings of child rape in the area. Unfortunately the local SAPS was not one of them.

I stopped off at the local police station to hopefully chat to Constable Chris Spies who, or so I was told, is the man with all the information being the SAPS media liaison officer. Unfortunately I was told that unless I have made a previous appointment, and have submitted all the questions I intend asking him in writing, he would not speak to me, obviously a very important man and is obviously unable to answer questions off the cuff. After all the years of doing this project I have come to realise that people who are scared to talk to me usually have something to hide, so I left the Knysna Police station wondering what it is they are hiding, also the fact that he would not talk to me did not really matter because Knysna does not have an FCS unit and all child rape cases are handled by SAPS – FCS unit in George, which is about 80 kilometre away.

This is a particularly friendly bunch of people and Frik, the store manager on the left of picture leads by example.

Then came a truly incredibly interesting meeting for me, this was in the form of Esté Roux who is the Office Manager for the ‘Child Welfare South Africa – Knysna Office’. The last time I visited Knysna, in February 2010, I met Esté, but unfortunately she had recently undergone a major knee replacement operation and she was on crutches, this time when I met her she was fit and strong and we spent almost an hour and a half chatting about the child rape crisis in Knysna, which by the way is bad as well as South Africa in general and what needs to be done to stop it. Also the head lines in the local newspaper covered an article on the rape of a 5 year-old little girl and Esté has been very involved in that case and so obviously this formed a large part of our discussion.

Our discussion also covered the points I have raised in my ‘Proposal for a Solution to Stopping the Rape of Children’ which I will be presenting to the leaders of all political parties when I reach Cape Town in March and Esté promised to read it, I emailed it to her on arriving back at the Protea Knysna Quays Hotel, and she will email me her comments and opinions on it. If anyone wants it just email me and I will send it to you.

Well that about covers everything ‘Buddy and Me’ have been involved with over the past couple of days, although I have not elaborated on the people I have met and discussed the subject of child rape with because most of it is pretty much repetitive stuff, but there are two things I want to share with you, one is a photo of my son, Lloyd, with who I consider to be the greatest rugby player of all time, Mr. Stefan Terblanche, the Captain of the SHARKS rugby side, the current Currie Cup Champions.  

That’s my boy Lloyd on the left of photo (in-case you didn’t know) and Mr. Stefan Terblanche on the right of picture – Two great boytjies

The other thing I want to share with you is an email I received which, if true, makes some shocking reading!

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than 500 employees and has the following statistics:
29 have been accused of spousal abuse
7 have been arrested for fraud
19 have been accused of writing bad cheques
117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses
3 have done time for assault
71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
8 have been arrested for shoplifting
21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year373 in total or approximately 70%
Can you guess which organization this is?

It’s the 535 members of the SOUTH AFRICAN PARLIAMENT -
(The same group that crank out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line!)
Makes you think, doesn’t it!So with that, I will close off my blog and so until next time I get a chance to write, 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 the Buddy and Me 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)

 

The ‘Buddy and Me’ visit to Uitenhage on Monday the 31st January 2011 proved to be a real eye opener for me. Following my visit to the Beares store where I was given the opportunity to chat with a group of kids from a local school as well as Warrant Officer Gerda Swart of the local constabulary, the local Councillor CL/R Oliver T Xube and a few other guests, I got to visit the ‘Rape Crisis CentreCosmos Centre, which is based at the Provincial/Regional Hospital.

But first let me show you the group of guests who were on hand at the Beares store in Uitenhage.

 

The Beares manager, Gail Ferreira, dressed all in black, had her hands full dealing with the police and the other protocol needed to deal with a break-in the store had experienced in the early hours of the morning before I arrived at the store. So Gail you have my heartfelt thanks for everything you did to make Buddy’s and my visit to your friendly store such a pleasant one.

From the Beares store ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for the Provincial Hospital where we were blown-away with what we saw at the ‘Rape Crisis Centre’ also called the ‘Cosmos Centre’ on the hospital premises.

On arriving in the reception area I was really impressed with the cleanliness and professional appearance of the centre. I was told that the man who was instrumental in establishing the centre is Warrant Officer Smit, who started the centre way back in the late 1980’s, or so I am told, because unfortunately he was on leave at the time of my visit and so I could not get to meet and talk to him personally. I did get to meet and chat to another dedicated individual who has been based at the centre for a number of years, Sergeant Khan who provided me with some astounding information on how the centre operates, and I was floored to discover that the centre is the closest thing I have come across in my travels around South Africa to the ‘One–Stop’ support facility’s I believe are needed to encourage mothers to report the rape of their children.

 

Meet two of the dedicated staff of the ‘Rape Crisis Centre – Cosmos Centre’ of Uitenhage, Sergeant Khan (The man) and Constable Booysens standing in-front of him.

I did however have one concern and that is, in the reception area there is a document fixed to the wall and it reads as follows:

Paragraph 5 reads: “All sexual assault victims arriving at the hospital should: Be encouraged to have the examination done even if she/he does not intend reporting the case to the police, in-case she/he changes her/his mind later on”.

My concern is, as I have said before in my blogs, the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32 – 2007’ clearly states that “Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually assaulted, and fails to report such rape is guilty of an offence”. With this in mind I sincerely hope the centre enforces this aspect of the legislation and ensures that the mothers of children who have been raped and who make use of the units facilities proceed with the case and do not allow her, as so often happens, to not proceed with a case against the rapists, even if he is the father, uncle or other family member. Unfortunately with Warrant Officer Smit not on hand I could not get clarity on this point, but well done to the police in Uitenhage and especially Warrant officer Smit for his dedication and foresight in establishing a really great support unit for victims of child rape and domestic violence. As I said earlier, the centre is the closest I have come to seeing a support structure established in the manner I believe they should be established and is almost exactly how the Thuthuzela Care Centres should be established at every Provincial and Regional Hospital around South Africa, if our government is serious about stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa.   

From Uitenhage I headed for Cape St Francis where I intended camping for the next two nights in the lovely Cape St Francis Resort. As usual I nearly got blown off the road between Humansdorp and Cape St Francis but made it there in one piece, or rather two pieces ‘Buddy and Me

The evening was spent ‘jamming’ with a few hooligans who support the local pub called ‘Stix’ which is situated directly across the road from the ‘Cape St Francis Resort’ and the biggest hooligan of the lot, the band being a six piece band, is the owner of ‘Stix’ Alex Lennox, no not ‘Annie Lennox of Roxette fame, he doesn’t sing anything like she does. But the guys were generous enough, or perhaps had had enough ‘fluids’ in them, to allow me to jam with them for a few numbers.

That’s hooligan number one – Alex Lennox – (with the band) in the black T shirt looking like he’s lost, and with the red and black guitar making a lot of noise on my right.

 Following the ‘jam cession/band practice’, we headed for ‘Stix’ where the ‘progress’ of the band was discussed in earnest.

 

 This is ‘serious’ band talk, where the band is going, etc, etc, etc, a comment was made, straight down hill, but honestly they are truly very accomplished musicians and I believe they have a great future as musicians. The incredible thing is that all their music is self written, and is amazing stuff. So good luck guys I know South Africa, and who knows maybe the world, will soon be hearing your stuff. If I remember correctly the bands name is ‘The neighbourhood Watch’ or was it ‘The village Idiots’? Alex if you ever get to read my blog please let me know?

Tuesday (1st February – the first month of 2011 has already flown past) was spent with the staff of the Beares and Lubners stores in Humansdorp, which is 23 kilometres away from cape St Francis towards the N2 highway. I had a long and serious talk at the stores and got some interesting feed back from the staff and guests. Of course the important thing I learnt is that the rape and sexual abuse of children in the area is happening on a daily basis and that there is no FCS unit, in other words, trained police officials, to deal with the problem, response to complaints of child rape are dealt with by the FCS unit based in Port Elizabeth, which is about 100 kilometres away?

The amazing thing, and I have mentioned this a couple of times in my blogs, and in particular blog number 2, is the fact that there are 76 traffic cops employed in the Humansdorp area and almost every single one has a smart traffic-cop car, usually parked on the road side waiting to pounce on a driver who has not complied with some misdemeanour traffic offence while some savage is busy raping a child and there is no SAPS member to attend to the case. You cannot drive down a street without a traffic cop being present, yet there is not a single FCS unit SAPS member in Humansdorp, and the FCS unit members in Port Elizabeth told me that “They do not have transport to attend to child rape cases occurring in the ‘satellite’ stations”, Humansdorp being one of them. And then we wonder why child rape is occurring at a rate of an average of 580 a day in South Africa and we have a pathetic conviction rate averaging at between 4 and 6%.

 

Meet the really friendly staff of Beares and Lubners Humansdorp, as usual these people made my visit to Humansdorp a memorable one, thanks guys.

I took a drive through the settlement which is situated between St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis where I chattered to a few of the local women and was told, and you need to know the accent of the Cape Coloured to appreciate this, “Nay master, this terrible thing is happening here and everywhere. They need to do something ‘heavy’ to stop these swine’s molesting our children, they damaging our society badly”. Although it’s sad to hear these women talking about the rape and sexual abuse of children, it always brings a smile to my face when I hear them talk in that guttural accent, a language all on its own.

I also took a drive through the ‘ghost town’ of St Francis Bay where one can see where ‘all the money is hidden’ in South Africa. These ‘Holiday homes’ are incredible, they are mostly all positioned on the water channels and when one drives through this area out of season you don’t see a living sole, but I believe in the peak seasons the place is abuzz.

 

Mmmm I think I could lower my standards and live in one of these, and there are literally hundreds of them?

Oh and here is where I stayed in cape St Francis.

for a bit of sport during the peak season, the yachts are waiting for them, at between R350 000-00 (+- 50 000 US Dollars) and R600 000-00 (+- 85 000 US Dollars) per MOORING!

 

Well I had a quiet evening trying to get my blog up to date and thinking about tomorrows visit to the beautiful Storms River area and my intended stay in luxury at the Protea Tsitsikamma Village Hotel, sponsored by Protea Hotels. So until I get a chance to up-date my blog, keep well, stay safe and yep you got it, keep all children safe!

 

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me’ (Steve Heath)

Please send your comments to: steve@buddyandme.co.za and if you would like to participate in the Natasha Sukdeo petition to stop the savage you brutally raped and murdered her from being released on parole (See blog 10 for details) please email me requesting the petition, we need to stop these savages from ever being released from prison.

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