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Mon
18
Jul '11

Blog 41 – Buddy and Me – project 3 (4th – 10th July 2011)

Posted by Julia

Categories: Buddy and Me

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Who Is Steve Heath
A Message To The President of South Africa.
Factors Contributing To The Increase In Child Rape.
A Proposed Solution To Stopping The Rape And Sexual Abuse Of Children in SA.

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)

  • To see the ‘Buddy and Me’ scheduled itinerary details for the period 14 June – 19th July 2011 see blog 34
  • To read the shocking details of the Upington horror story – The Hynie Dick Story – regarding the ‘Upington savage pedophile’ see blog 35
  • To read details of the ‘savage’ the police are looking for in connection with the rape of a 3 year little girl, see blog 39
  • To read the heart breaking story by a mother (Cathy Kenney) of the rape of  her 3 year-old daughter see blog 38

 

So firstly apologies for taking so long to post this blog, but I have had a hectic week, what with driving all over the countryside, visiting Beares stores, many interviews with police officials, social workers, prosecutors, to name a few and not to mention hooking up with Round Tablers in almost every town and city Buddy and Me’ visits where I am hosted accommodation in the event of there not being a Protea Hotel, ‘as well as booking in and out of Protea Hotels, although I must admit this function has been an absolute pleasure because whenever I arrive at the front desk of a Protea Hotel and when I leave I am treated like visiting Royalty, but it has been generally a pretty busy week for ‘Buddy and Me’.  

So the week started with a visit to firstly the Beares store in Welkom and fortunately having been home hosted by Round Tabler Etienne Van Dyke who only stays a stones throw away from the Beares store in Welkom, my drive for the start of my day was a very short one, about one and a half kilometres.

 After a great time with the Beares staff, where I also got to meet up with the charismatic Regional Manager for the Free State region Henk Van Niekerk  

That’s Henk standing at the back more interested in the car that was going to run me over because I was standing in the middle of the road taking this picture, I paid a visit to the Lubners staff situated right next door to the Beares store.

After a chat with two members from the SAPS – FCS unit who unfortunately couldn’t add much more to the piles of information I have on the child rape situation in the area, but did confirm that it is happening at an ever increasing rate and agreed that if we could get the government to listen commit to stopping the rape of children by implementing the systems identified and described in my proposal for a solution to child rape (Link on the front page of this website) at least 80 – 85% of child rape could be eradicated from or society, I paid a visit to the Thuthuzela Care Centre which is ‘based’ – that’s as much as I can say about it – at the Kopane Hospital.

These two ladies, Sister Teddy (on the right) and Sister Sarah are very dedicated Forensic Nurses who are doing a sterling job in providing whatever support they can to victims of child rape and sexual abuse as well as victims of domestic violence, when considering the totally inadequate infrastructure they have been given to work with.

I was told that the Thuthuzela Care Centre, since opening in September 2009 (previously it was the Rape Crisis Centre since 2003) handles on average 85 new rape cases per month, and this includes rape of all ages. 35% (30) of these cases involve the rape of children under the age of 14 years-of-age. I’m sure I don’t need to go into details regarding the fact that as usual I was bitterly disappointed to discover that this centre is exactly the same as all the others I have visited and is, due to the fact that it is not functioning in the manner described in the Thuthuzela Care Centre brochures and information provided on the website, a total waist of money and time because mothers reporting the rape of their children still have to follow the shocking and humiliating route needed to report the rape of their children. This was confirmed by the fact that 90% of the cases handled by the Thuthuzela Care Centre are initially reported to the police stations and the victim and mother are transported to the Thuthuzela Care Centre by the police, this I believe defeats the whole object of a ‘one-stop’ support centre. I was told that they cannot encourage mothers through campaigns to report the rape of their children directly to the Thuthuzela Care Centres “because it takes too long for the police to arrive at the centre to obtain the statement etc”.

Doctors used by the Thuthuzela Care Centre at this specific centre come from the private sector, and these doctors are on call and so because the examinations (J88 forensic examinations) cut into their large turn-over business, it takes ages for a doctor to arrive to undertake the essential examination, once again defeating the object of a ‘one-stop’ centre.

After presenting my proposal for a solution, both ladies agreed that the ideal situation would be to have the Thuthuzela Care Centre’s managed and run by an independent NGO with the in-put of the stakeholders, these being the NPA, Police, Social Development and the Department of Health by providing the staff and premises, and of course in order to ensure the centre’s success, it is vital that Government and the relative stakeholders give their total commitment to the development and establishment of the Thuthuzela Care Centres, unfortunately at present there is no commitment what-so-ever from any of these stakeholders and especially government.

Another interesting conversation was with 4 social workers from the offices of ‘Life Line’ and here all four of the individuals interviewed complained about the fact that they spend a huge amount of their time undertaking campaigns in the townships, encouraging the communities to come forward and air their opinions on how to combat the various anti-social behaviours taking place in their communities which includes, child rape and sexual abuse, domestic violence and general crimes and violence caused by the abuse of alcohol and drugs. After encouraging the communities, through campaigns on which large amounts of money are spent, and obtaining the communities in-put and participation, nothing ever happens after reports are submitted. This obviously creates major problems for these social workers who because nothing ever happens they loose face with the communities.

So after a lot of information gathering in Welkom I eventually headed out of the city and took he road to Bloemfontein and after an enjoyable, but cold drive, arrived at my lovely accommodation for the next two nights,

the absolutely incredibly lovely Protea Willow Lake Hotel Bloemfontein. Where in the world could you expect to, on opening the curtains in your hotel room window, be faced with the amazing sight of an elephant standing a few metre s from your window!

 Absolutely incredible! So meet Elley.

After a magic nights sleep the next day involved meeting the staff of the Beares store in the centre of the city

and after a chat with them I headed into the near by township where I visited the staff of the Beares store in Heidedal

While I was in the Mall in Heidedal I got the opportunity to chat to a large number of community members of the township area, and as usual, because I never get used to the information I am given, I was devastated to hear how bad the rape and sexual abuse of children is in the area, and the saddest part is that the communities have lost total faith in the governments ability, in the form of the police, to do what is necessary to stop the rape of the children. Almost everyone I spoke to believes that it is a total waste of time reporting the rape and sexual abuse of children because of the ‘System’.

My second morning I decided to once again indulge in one of the most delicious omelettes I have ever experienced in my life, and so meet the ‘King’ of omelette makers.

 

As usual I was given a Royal send off by the management and staff of the Protea Willow Lake Hotel.

Unfortunately the General Manager of the Hotel, Blanché Walzl was away on business and so I did not get an opportuntity to thank her for her fantastic generosity and kindness by providing me with the amazing accommodation, but Lindy-Hope- Meiring the ‘Rooms Division Manager (with her hand to hers eyes in the picture) and sister of a long time friend who has helped me with accommodation at the Bloemfontein Protea Hotel on every visit to the city, did a sterling job in ensuring that my stay at this lovely Hotel was a truly fantastic experience. So thanks guys I really had an amazing stay.

Before leaving Bloemfontein I made another visit to a Thuthuzela Care Centre, this time it was to the one ‘established’ in the ‘National Hospital a short way out of the centre of the city. In this instance I was at least happy to find that the premises are probably the best I have seen of any Thuthuzela Centre I have seen to date. But alas, in-spite of the fact that I was told that the response time from the police, on being summonsed to investigate the rape of a child etc, is very good, it was confirmed that in-spite of the fact that the centre was established some 6 years ago, the first point of entry into the system is still the police stations, which once again defeats the object of a ‘one-stop’ support centre. This phrase is used in all the Thuthuzela Care Centre marketing brochures, I strongly suggest that the ‘powers that be’ in the NPA and Thuthuzela centres take the time to look up the meaning and interpretation of the words ‘One- Stop centre’.

My next port of visit was to that lovely old mining town of Kimberley. I don’t know what it is about this town/city but I have always loved visiting it, maybe because it absolutely reeks in history and I love history. So on arrival at the lovely Protea Kimberley Hotel

and after once again being greeted like visiting Royalty, I got settled in my very comfortable room 212 from which I had a spectacular view of the ‘big hole’ and the city of Kimberley directly opposite it.

 So here is a picture of the ‘big hole’ damn that water is deep and cold, or so I am told, and I will rather take ‘their’ word for it than find out for myself .

After a visit with the friendly Beares staff in Kimberly

 I headed out for the usual Thuthuzela care Centre visit, and here I got into one of the most heated discussions I have ever had with any Thuthuzela centre staff member to date. Initially I thought she was against what I am doing and I initially thought she was not in support of my proposed solution, but after eventually deciphering her ranting and ravings I was pleasantly surprised to discover that she actually agreed with everything I had said!!!

 

The centre averages about 40 new rape cases a month, with 75% of these being cases involving children under the age of 18 years of age, 30 % of those involve children under the age of 12 years of age. I was told that the response time to a call out by the centre by the SAPS – FCS unit is exceptional good, however more than 90% of the cases are initially reported to the police stations. The ‘ranting and raving’ lady’s biggest gripe is the fact that the government and the ‘stakeholders’ are not committed to the establishment of the Thuthuzela Care Centres and that “if they continue in the manner they are presently going about ‘setting-up’ the centres it is going to be a total waist of money”.

 This is a very dedicated Forensic Nurse with the Thuthuzela Care Centre. The Forensic Nurses I am told are fully trained to undertake and complete the J88 forensic examination reports in rape cases.

The evening was spent in the company of a couple of the Round Tablers of Kimberly, Riaan Van Rooyan and Brian (damn I didn’t get his surname mmm slack Mr. Heath) as well as an old (not so much of the old) friend Jason Horseman who used to be with Beares in Kimberley but is now doing extremely well in the music industry with his band called ‘GAGE’ at what is reputed to be the oldest pub in South Africa, The Star of the West

 I am told that the wood which the bar counter is made from, was salvaged from the ship after it was wrecked on the Cape Coast in the 1850’s and was transported by ox-wagon all the way to Kimberley.

So now meet, from the left: Brian and Riaan (Round Table Kimberley) Jason (of GAGE fame, make sure you get a copy of their latest CD its brilliant) and of course that ‘other guy’ that was there.

 So that is all that happened during the past week in the lives of ‘Buddy and Me- Searching for a Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children’ All that is left for me to say and show you, is that the General manager of the Protea Hotel Kimberley, Jaco Kruger and his incredibly friendly staff out-did themselves in giving me a rite-Royal send off from their lovely hotel

 (That’s Jaco standing at the back next to me) So to Jaco and all the staff of the Protea Kimberley Hotel, you have my heartfelt thanks for your incredible friendship and hospitality.

So all that’s left for me to say, is a mighty big thanks to BlackBerry for providing me with this incredible piece of equipment in the form of an amazing cell phone. I have always professed that “all I need is a phone that I can receive and make calls with and can take a message and send and receive sms’s”, but since receiving this amazing device I have had to eat humble pie, because this device has, and I honestly mean it, this is not a sponsored / paid for statement, it has literally turned my life around with this project. So thanks Robyn Milham of BlackBerry for making it possible.

With that I will bid you all farewell and pray that you will keep well and stay safe, and of course do everything in your power to ensure that all children are safe.

Caring regards from

‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me’ (Steve Heath)

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

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

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