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Sat
13
Mar '10

Day 182: Monday, 8 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

After getting up in the dark this morning at 5:30am I was packed, showered and was driving out of the Brenton on Lake Resort at 10 to 8 and what a magic drive it was through to George. I know I have said it before but I believe it must be repeated. I cannot understand how such magnificently beautiful regions such as both the Eastern and Western Cape can produce such savages as those in these areas in particular, who rape their own young and baby daughters and sons. Every interview I have reveals how mostly fathers and uncles are raping and sexually abusing their own flesh and blood children.

My visit to the Beares store in George and subsequent interviews with guests from the police and social workers as well as a reporter from the local newspaper once again confirmed that the rape of children by fathers as well as child perpetrators is running absolute rampant in the area. The newspaper reporter told me that she was given information by the Senior Prosecutor in the area to the effect that of the 200 odd cases currently on the court roll, all being rape and sexual abuse cases, 50% of them are child perpetrators under 14 years of age.

There is no doubt in my mind as well as in the mind of everyone I have spoken to, that government desperately needs to look at the punishment system related to child offenders, and on this subject I wait with baited breath to hear the sentence passed down on the three young savages who raped and beat the 5 year old to death in Port Alfred. (See my blog 1st March Day 175 for details)

Before I get off the subject of George, I must stress that George must be one of the cleanest and neatest towns/cities (I am still battling to differentiate between cities and towns, so please, if someone can sort this out for me it will be greatly appreciate, as long as you don’t tell me what so many woman say, “If it has a Foshini’s then it’s a city, I’m afraid I can’t believe that)

<i><b>Beares</b> staff George</b>

Beares staff George

From George I headed out on the N2 to Mossel Bay where I was welcomed by the great guys of Beares. I had a fantastic discussion with a group of ladies, one in particular in the form of Captain Jacky Apples who is a SAPS Forensic Social Worker. She has got to be the most dedicated police officer I have met to date and not only is she dedicated she is so proud of being a member of the ‘FCS’ and Police Service, she is very proud of her senior officers in particular the Provincial Commissioner, commissioner Petros and Area Commissioner Jantjies. She was telling me that these two men are totally dedicated to the fight against child rape and that they are fully supportive of the FCS unit. I would sincerely like to meet these two men and so hope to be able to write about a discussion with them in my blog’s in the very near future. Our discussion, as happened in George, went on for over two hours and the majority of the discussion surrounded the problem related to child offenders.

<i><b>Beares</b> Mossel Bay staff</i>

Beares Mossel Bay staff

It was blistering hot all day and even the drive from George to Mossel Bay involved driving through an extremely hot berg wind. Usually when it’s really hot, driving Buddy at least cools me down, but today the drive resulted in me getting even hotter, and so it was with relief that I headed out of Mossel Bay just before 5pm and headed for the mountains on the Oudtshoorn road where I intended staying at that wonderful place called ‘Eight Bells Mountain Inn’. On the previous project ‘African Odyssey – Searching for a Solution to Child rape’ I had stopped off there but due to schedules I could not stay over. The owner of the place at that time, Peter Brown and his daughter Jacqui who was the general manager, did everything in their power to get me to stay over but eventually ended up insisting on sponsoring my stay at Cape St Francis instead. On my first visit to this incredible place, peter spent two hours relating the extraordinary history of the place to me; this can be seen on pages 16 and 17 of my ‘African Odyssey’ book which can be down loaded from this website.

Unfortunately on arriving at ‘Eight Bells Mountain Inn’ I was given the sad news that Peter Brown had sold the establishment but the new owner consented to sponsoring 50% of the cost of my accommodation. Soon after getting settled in I was told that Jacqui now resides across the road from the Lodge and her father Peter and his wife Jane live a couple of hundred metres up the road from ‘Eight Bells’, and so a brief but enjoyable visit was made to both residences where I got to chat to old friends.

I mean look at where Peter and Jean (The Queen) live, could you ask for anything better, absolute paradise

<i>This massive tree which is situated in front of Eight Bells Mountain Inn is, according to the experts, 180 years old</i>

This massive tree which is situated in front of Eight Bells Mountain Inn is, according to the experts, 180 years old

<i>Clive the manager who was instrumental in obtaining the new owners support for the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and providing me with accommodation for the evening</i>

Clive the manager who was instrumental in obtaining the new owners support for the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and providing me with accommodation for the evening

<i>And of course the infamous Jacqui Brown, what a lady</i>

And of course the infamous Jacqui Brown, what a lady

And so another wonderful day in the life of ‘Buddy and Me’ drew to an end. And so all that’s left for me to do is on behalf of Buddy and myself, wish you all a pleasant evening, actually right now it’s early morning, as in 1:am, and to remind you to keep all children safe.

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

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Mon
8
Mar '10

Day 179-181: Friday to Sunday, 5-7 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

After stopping off to bid farewell to the Beares and Lubners staff in Humansdorp on my way through, I took the N2 highway to Plettenburg Bay. It was once again a magic drive through absolutely beautiful countryside and I could not help thinking how this spectacularly beautiful part of our country can be absolutely ripped apart by this disgusting crime of child rape. Everyone I have been speaking to confirm the fact that the Eastern and Western Cape region is the worst affected area in our country by this disgusting crime and the fact that by far, the majority of the perpetrators are fathers, with uncles running a close second.

On yesterdays blog I clean forgot to mention the fact that on Wednesday afternoon at 4pm I met with the guys from Round table Humansdorp and Jefferies bay. This is a combination Table and so I got pinned and presented with their banner and of course partook in the consuming of a few cold frosty’s.

<i>Me being pinned and presented with Round Table Humansdorp/Jefferies Bay banner</i>

Me being pinned and presented with Round Table Humansdorp/Jefferies Bay banner

Table Chairman Anton Du Preez asked if I would mind popping round to his house because his young son Armin loves beach buggy’s and would love to see and ride in Buddy. This I duly did and boy did Armin enjoy Buddy. I ended up staying for a braai and had a great evening with the Du Preez family.

<i>Meet the Du Preez family – Dad Anton, lovely wife Nadia, Armin with Red Ridding Hood jacket and sister/daughter Anri. Thanks for the great evenings guys</i>

Meet the Du Preez family – Dad Anton, lovely wife Nadia, Armin with Red Ridding Hood jacket and sister/daughter Anri. Thanks for the great evenings guys

So I arrived in the spotlessly clean coastal town of Plettenburg Bay and arrived at the newly named Beares store half an hour before time. The store used to be a Lubners store and has subsequently changed to a Beares store. Arrangements had been made for me to meet a group of people from the local community which included a local newspaper journalist as well as a Captain from the local police Services. The discussion with Captain Guy Clift really got to me, because once again when I raised the subject regarding the legislation surrounding the right of a parent to discipline their children is creating a major problem.

The good Captain, with a very sarcastic smile, interrupted me and said “That is not correct; a parent has the right to smack a child if it deserves it and if it is in the process of disciplining the child”. I raised the point that the child act specifically forbids this and should a parent hit a child, he or she is guilty of child abuse and can be charged accordingly. I went through the example I gave in my blog for Tuesday 2nd March (Day 176) and I asked him to provide me with the section of the law which allows a child to be smacked, hit or subjected to corporal punishment etc and he could not. According to the Captain if a child reports his or her parent for smacking him or her he as a policeman would not take the report and according to him the magistrates in the area of Plettenburg Bay would throw the case out of court?

However the good captains gross defiance of the child act did not surprise me, because when I raised the fact that the ‘FCS’ unit was officially disbanded in March 2009, he disagreed with this saying that it had never been disbanded. To this I responded with “Then please explain why the Minister of police on national television about six weeks ago announced to the South African public that the ‘FCS’ unit will be re-instated on the 1st of April 2010, this year”. He had no response to this.

This is a very worrying situation, because once again we have legislation saying one thing, not to mention the fact that the government has spent millions of Rands on campaigns telling children what their rights are and the fact that no-one is allowed to hit them in anyway, and we have police officers changing the rules/laws and telling children and parents something completely different. But then again this is pretty much in line with what our esteemed President is doing. The government spends millions of Rands on campaigns telling the public not to have more than one sexual partner and to “Condomise”, and what does our President do, go out and have “unprotected” sex with a number of woman, getting a few of them pregnant, while by the way, he has five wives. So please government and our police force, get your act together and practise what the law which you put into legislation and campaign for states.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff of Plettenburg Bay</i>

Beares staff of Plettenburg Bay

From Plettenburg Bay I headed for Knysna, that wonderfully beautiful coastal town, well it must be a city by now. When I drove into the place I could not believe how it has grown since my last visit four and a half years ago. Here I got to meet yet another group of police and ladies from various NGO organisations as well as ladies from Child Welfare the NGO organisation and ladies and a man from Social Development and Welfare. I still had the discussion with Captain Clift in my craw and mentioned it to them.

They were horrified to hear what he had said and agreed with what I had told him regarding the fact that by telling kids and parents that a parent has the right to chastise a child in the form of corporal punishment is illegal and a parent can and will be prosecuted if striking a child in the process of administering discipline.

One of the topics I discussed and asked one of my guests at Knysna, a lady by the name of Estie who is with Child Welfare in Knysna was related to the information given to me by two young ladies with Child Welfare in Port Elizabeth, and hat is according to them, ”If a case of child rape is reported to them via a neighbour or school teacher, and if the mother refuses to co-operate with them as in reporting the matter to the police in the instance where the perpetrator is the father or other family member, they drop the case and do not proceed with it”. This was shocking news to me and I asked Estie for her comment. She put my mind at ease saying that no matter whether the mother wants to assist and proceed with the case or not, they will in all instances pursue the case with the police and will ensure that the perpetrator is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. So that definitely put my mind at ease.

<i>My guests at the <b>Beares</b> store in Knysna, a really great bunch of individuals doing a great job in Knysna</i>

My guests at the Beares store in Knysna, a really great bunch of individuals doing a great job in Knysna

<i>The really friendly staff of <b>Beares</b> Knysna, although I must admit they do look pretty serious in this photo but don’t let the photo fool you</i>

The really friendly staff of Beares Knysna, although I must admit they do look pretty serious in this photo but don’t let the photo fool you

I eventually got out of Knysna at around 4:45pm and headed for a resort where I intended spending the weekend relaxing, although this did not really happen, I spent more time speaking to people and getting information on the subject of child rape than I did relaxing. But it is a wonderful place and if you ever want to escape to a really terrific resort look no further than Brenton on Lake Resort, it has everything.

<i>My campsite at <b>‘Brenton on Lake’</b><i/>

My campsite at ‘Brenton on Lake’

<i>Check this out, Buddy up in the clouds</i>

Check this out, Buddy up in the clouds

<i>Knysna from up high</i>

Knysna from up high

One of the amazing beaches I visited which is close to Knysna called ‘Buffalo bay (Buffels Baai) has probably one of the most beautiful beaches, and miles of it, I have ever seen and I spent a few hours relaxing chatting to some of the local population as well as some holiday makers, of course we consumed a cold frosty or two.

<i>Man life is good, me enjoying a cold frosty at a really rustic beach Back Packers place on Buffalo Beach</i>

Man life is good, me enjoying a cold frosty at a really rustic beach Back Packers place on Buffalo Beach

<i>Knysna ‘Heads’ what an amazing place, very tranquil</i>

Knysna ‘Heads’ what an amazing place, very tranquil

So tomorrow ‘Buddy and Me’ head for George and then on to Mossel Bay, so I hope you had a weekend as wonderful as I had and look forward to a very productive week ahead. So keep well and keep all children safe.

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

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Mon
8
Mar '10

Day 177-178: Wednesday and Thursday, 3-4 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

After thanking Sarah and Nagel for their kind hospitality and friendship, I bid them farewell and headed out on the road to Uitenhage. Soon after accessing the N2 I hit a horde of traffic and it took me 40 minutes to cover a whopping distance of 3 kilometres, but fortunately I left Sarah and Nagel early and so had plenty of time and even arrived at the Beares store in Uitenhage almost half an hour early.

Entering Uitenhage brought back some very sad memory’s of my last visit to the area. It had involved the story of a 45 year old man who had brutally raped his 8 months old daughter who in-spite of emergency surgery died three days later. The court had released him on R500-00 bail because he claimed that his wife was always drunk and too lazy to work and so there was no-one to feed and look after his other two daughters, one aged 7 and the other 10 years of age.

At the time I took this matter up with the Social Welfare Services who confirmed that “They don’t have the necessary funds to support a family in such cases”. I can tell you I was furious, but since this episode which occurred almost 5 years ago, I have been told that there are now many private institutions in the area that provide this sort of support structure, of course the Department of Social Services and Welfare still “Has no money” to help victims in such cases.

I had a terrific time with the Beares staff and guests they had invited from various organisations in the area as well as members of the SAPS and kids.

<i>The group of guests outside the <b>Beares</b> store in Uitenhage</i>

The group of guests outside the Beares store in Uitenhage

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Uitenhage including Jonathan Knickelbein, Regional manager for the Eastern Cape region of Beares – Buddy’s left side standing at the back</i>

Beares staff Uitenhage including Jonathan Knickelbein, Regional manager for the Eastern Cape region of Beares – Buddy’s left side standing at the back

The only thing I learnt about child rape in the Uitenhage area is the fact that it is growing at an alarming rate and that rapes on children by children is completely and utterly out of control, but based on the information I received on my last trip this information did not surprise me and I am sure that as I travel through the Eastern and Western Cape region I am sure this will be the same situation in all the areas I will be travelling through during the next few weeks.

From Uitenhage I headed back to the coast and after crossing the incredibly high Vanstadens and Storms River bridges, ‘Buddy and Me’ travelled through the amazingly beautiful Longmore Forest which forms part of the Tsitsikamma National Park region.

<i>Taken from the <b>Vanstadens</b> River Bridge. The old road is visible coming in from the left, very far down</i>

Taken from the Vanstadens River Bridge. The old road is visible coming in from the left, very far down

In Humansdorp I had a really fantastic time with both the Beares staff and the Lubners staff and the staff of both of these stores went out of their way to make me feel welcome and arranged for me to partake in a very lengthy discussion with a large group of members of the local community and police.

<i>Some of the guests at the <b>Lubners</b> store</i>

Some of the guests at the Lubners store

<i>The discussion panel in process, hell it’s been a long time since I “chaired” a meeting like this</i>

The discussion panel in process, hell it’s been a long time since I “chaired” a meeting like this

One topic which we discussed at length was particularly of concern to me, and that was the fact that; and I have mentioned this previously in my blog’s, I have heard many police officials telling parents and kids at schools, that it is okay for parents to smack their kids as long as it is with restricted force and does not constitute abuse, excuse me?

During the discussion in Humansdorp and after I had mentioned the fact that, “According to the Children’s protection Act and bill of rights, no-one is allowed to hit a child in any form and that the act prohibits a parent from disciplining a child in any-way ”. The lady sergeant present sergeant Monja Nel, although a really great person and is in-fact another one of the very few dedicated police officials I have met to date, appeared taken a-back by what I said and confirmed that she has told both parents and kids at schools, and believes it to be right, that a parent has the right to smack a child on the backside in the process of administering discipline. This discussion with police officials has occurred many times in the past and I am sure I will hear it again in many future discussions. So if there is anyone out there who can provide some in-put on the subject please feel free to contact me either by way of my e-mail or comments blog on the website?

Another guest, Inspector Hein Human (Oh and in-case you were wondering, no ‘Human’s-dorp’ is not named after him or any of his ancestors) commented that social workers should be permanently placed at all schools for support for child rape victims as well as children who have been exposed to abuse. After a lengthy discussion on the subject everyone was unanimous in their agreement that this service should be provided at all schools for children in the grade 1 to grade 7 group and we all agreed it is a fantastic idea and should be implemented post haste.

<i>The glamorous ladies of <b>Lubners<b> Humansdorp</i>

The glamorous ladies of Lubners Humansdorp

<i>The friendly staff of <b>Beares</b>Humansdorp - I apologise for the slightly blurred photo but moisture has gotten into my camera lens and I can’t get it out</i>

The friendly staff of BearesHumansdorp - I apologise for the slightly blurred photo but moisture has gotten into my camera lens and I can’t get it out

Now before I continue I must tell you this story. When I arrived outside the Beares store on arriving in Humansdorp, the store manager Barry Botha who has been at the store for many years came out to greet me. I was so engrossed in meeting him and answering his swarm of questions about where I have been since my last visit to the area etc I did not realise that I had put Buddy’s keys in my cap which I proceeded to lock in the compartment box behind my seat, obviously this created dramas for me. But “never fear when Barry is near” and he got hold of a locksmith who after a lengthy attempt at trying to open the pad lock managed to cut a new key by dismantling another lock from my cooler box compartment which I had fortunately not locked, (All the pad locks on the buggy and trailer use the same key) and so my problem was solved.

So after fond goodbyes with the Lubners and Beares staff, ‘Buddy and Me’ eventually headed out of Humansdorp at a quarter to 5 in the afternoon, destination Cape St Francis, that absolute jewel of a place on the Eastern Cape Coast which I had been dreaming about visiting since my last visit in November 2005. I have subsequently found another jewel of a place I will definitely be visiting again and that is Port St Johns, it just so happens that both places have a “Saint” in their names.

The road from Humansdorp to Cape St Francis runs in a perfectly straight line for most of the 25 kilometres you have to drive to get there and is almost perfectly flat with kilometres of flat open countryside on both sides of the road. This results in the wind coming off the sea reaching gale force at times, and this is exactly what occurred during my drive to Cape St Francis. At times I could not breathe with the force of the wind and at times I thought Buddy was going to be blown right off the road. But we made it to the camp site and fortunately each campsite in the resort is separated by thick high bush shrubs which screen you from the wind.

After setting up camp I headed for the supermarket in town where I purchased the necessary items for a braai and made a stop at a local pub across he road from the resort called Stix where, because it was still blistering hot despite the fact that it was a quarter to seven in the evening, I enjoyed a few ice cold Millers and met a few of the local population, man what a friendly bunch of people.

<i>The friendly people of <b>Stix</b> Cape St Francis</i>

The friendly people of Stix Cape St Francis

And so ended yet another day in the life of ‘Buddy and Me’ so I wish you all well and hope life is treating you great, but remember to ensure that all children are kept safe.

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

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Mon
8
Mar '10

Day 176: Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


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

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

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

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

I am now convinced that the Eastern Cape is undoubtedly the most beautiful part of South Africa, well that is until I move on to the next section. Every time I enter a new area it just keeps getting better and better, as far as the scenery goes that is. Unfortunately this does not include the child rape situation because it is painfully obvious that the child rape situation and in particular the rape of children and babies by children is definitely worse in the Eastern Cape than anywhere else in South Africa.

In Port Elizabeth a man I spoke to asked what he could do about a situation he was experiencing with his 14 year old daughter. Evidently she goes out partying and drinking with her older friends at night, school nights, and when he tries to discipline her by grounding her, she recites the telephone number of ‘Child Line’ to him to whom she has reported him three times for child abuse, the ‘child abuse’ having consisted of locking her in her bedroom and shouting at her. This poor guy is at his wits end and does not have a clue what he is going to do with his daughter.

He asked me, “If my daughter is hurt while out partying, because I am not allowed by law to discipline her and she will not listen to either me or her mother, is there a claim I can lodge against the State for forbidding me to discipline my child and get her out of her bad habits, because I am tired of her reporting me to ‘Child Line” and being told by the ‘authorities’ that my ‘Child abuse’ practices will get me into trouble with the law, the consequences of which will result in my other child and wife suffering”.

This topic has caused much concern for me with a number of police officials, because on a number of occasions when undertaking talks at schools to both the kids as well as parents, guests consisting of social workers and police officials have also spoken on the subject of child abuse. The problem I have is that the social workers explain the various forms of child abuse and produce detailed charts reflecting the various forms of child abuse. One of the pictures on these charts reflects a man smacking a child and from the picture it is obvious that he is smacking the child on the bottom. The caption below this picture states that “No-one has the right to hit a child”. The police on the other hand tell the children and parents that “It is allowed for a parent to smack a child in the act of disciplining the child.”

I have queried the police on a number of occasions on this matter and have asked them to please show me the section of the act which provides that a parent can chastise a child in the form of a hiding, as in smacking him or her on her backside, without this contravening the ‘Child abuse act”. In a recent discussion, I was told by a father that he was reported to the police for having smacked his child in a large super market. Evidently his 5 year old son went ballistic because he (the father) would not let him (The child) have his way when he wanted an item from the shelf they had just passed. He subsequently gave the child a smack on the bum which sorted the problem out. A woman, who witnessed ‘this gruesome assault’, reported the matter to the management of the store who because of the woman’s insistence called the police. The father was subsequently charged for child abuse.

I personally believe that once again as in many instances, the police are making up their own rules irrespective of what the ‘law’ says, and are causing confusion by telling parents that “They can discipline their children in the form of ‘corporal’ punishment” and telling the children that “Their parents are allowed to smack them”, while the law and social workers as well as a very expensive campaign produced by governments says they can’t.

So after an entertaining day with the staff of Beares in Cleary Park – Port Elizabeth, I headed into the central area of Port Elizabeth and visited the staff of Beares in Govan Mbeki Street.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Cleary Park</i>

Beares staff Cleary Park

<i><b>Lubners</b> staff Cleary Park</i>

Lubners staff Cleary Park

On my way into Port Elizabeth centre, I passed the new 2010 soccer stadium, and I must say it burnt my rear end to think what has been spent on these spectacular stadiums and the fact that our Department of Social Development and Welfare is pleading poverty when it comes to supporting mothers who cannot report the raping of their children and babies by their husbands because of the financial implications and the fact that social development and welfare “have no money” support them. It really turns my stomach.

<i>The 2010 soccer stadium in Port Elizabeth, wip dee do</i>

The 2010 soccer stadium in Port Elizabeth, wip dee do

The ‘centre’ of port Elizabeth as in Govan Mbeki Street, was bedlam but after a chat with the friendly Beares staff I headed down to the beach front to chill.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff of Govan Mbeki Street</i>

Beares staff of Govan Mbeki Street

My hosts for the eving in Port Elizabeth were the amazingly friendly couple of Round Tabler Nagel Niemandt of Round Table RT 108 Algoa and his wonderful wife Sarah. I also got to spend a tremendous evening with a few other Tablers at a braai and as usual got pinned with yet another Table pin and presented with another lovely Table banner.

<i>Me being pinned and presented with RT 108’s Algoa banner</i>

Me being pinned and presented with RT 108’s Algoa banner

<i>The whole group – Sarah wearing the orange blouse and Nagel next to her in the shorts (Without the socks)</i>

The whole group – Sarah wearing the orange blouse and Nagel next to her in the shorts (Without the socks)

And so ended yet another day in the lives of ‘Buddy and me’, and so until tomorrow when we visit Uitenhage and Humansdorp, ‘Buddy and Me’ I will say good night, and naturally, keep all children safe.

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

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Mon
8
Mar '10

Day 175: Monday, 1 March 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

Leave a comment


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

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

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

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

Well today turned out to be quite an incredible day for ‘Buddy and Me’ in spite of the fact that I made a completely unscheduled stop for the evening. I slept so well last night that I woke later than I have ever woken on this project, 6:45am. I have this internal alarm clock which wakes me every morning between 5:15 and 5:40am. So when I opened my eyes and saw the time I jumped out of bed like a rocket, made coffee, packed, showered and was on the road heading through east London on the road to Port Elizabeth by 9:15am.

Before I go into the rest of the day’s activities, something happened during my stay at The Gonubie Caravan Park and Resort which has been on my mind the whole day. As you read in my previous blog, I arrived at the park on Thursday afternoon. On Friday morning I reported to the ‘manager’ the fact that the there was no hot water in the men’s ablution block showers and he promised to sort it out immediately. On Saturday the showers still had no hot water and so once again I reported the matter. Now I must first tell you that there was a total of, including myself, four campers in the park. Once again I was told the matter would be sorted out “immediately”.

Now I don’t know if the word “immediately” has a different meaning in this part of the country but on Sunday morning when I once again popped into the office to report the fact that there was no hot water, I was really tired of having cold showers especially at night, I was told that “If enough people complained something would be done about it, but as only three people had complained the problem would only be sorted out on Monday”. I was flabbergasted to put it mildly, and pointed out that there were only four campers in the park, this of course resulted in my being given a confused look and a shake of the head.

Now the part that kept my mind going all the way to Port Alfred was that it suddenly dawned on me that that is exactly the attitude of our Government. As long as everyone continues shunning the subject of child rape, and this includes the newspapers and other media sources who admit openly to me that they do not write about child rape cases because, apart from the fact that there are so many occurring, they are of the opinion, and I believe rightly so, that the public don’t want to read about it. And so the government is of the opinion that because the public don’t want to “get involved” and scream out loud about the atrocities our countries kids and babies are being subjected to, like they scream and shout about ‘service delivery’ and other situations affecting their personal lives, the government says ‘Oh well don’t rock the boat why should we spend fortunes fighting child rape when we can spend it on soccer and other activities and laws such as hammering motorists who contravene laws which are far more lucrative to them and can be implemented far easier. Food for thought!

Okay so I drive out of East London, very happy to have the chaotic traffic and arrogant pedestrians behind me and headed out on the Port Alfred road.

<i>Taken from the top of the bridge spanning the Buffalo River looking onto the harbour area</i>

Taken from the top of the bridge spanning the Buffalo River looking onto the harbour area

Once again once ‘Buddy and me’ were out on the open road we thoroughly enjoyed the drive, with friendly drivers hooting and waiving as they passed. We were stopped three times before arriving in Port Alfred and at one point when we were crossing the Fish River and was stopped by a motorist to chat about the child rape situation and to give his and his wife’s opinion as well as take photos of this spectacular Beach Buggy named Buddy, I decided to use the stop to have lunch.

<i>Notice the ‘lunch’ on the trailer box, chilli pilchards with Provita biscuits and coke</i>

Notice the ‘lunch’ on the trailer box, chilli pilchards with Provita biscuits and coke

As I said, my original intention was to go straight through to Port Elizabeth which would have involved a drive of approximately 340 kilometres, but when I arrived in the quaint little town of Port Alfred, actually it used to be a quaint little town now it’s a monstrous bustling hive of human activity and residences, I decided that perhaps I should stop over and rest for the night. I located a very nice resort/lodge called ‘First Stop Lodge’ a short way out of town on the Port Elizabeth road, and on seeing what the project is about the owners gave me a substantially discounted rate, 50%.

<i>Buddy snuggled up on the lush green grass of our accommodation, my room is just on the left of the photo, really nice</i>

Buddy snuggled up on the lush green grass of our accommodation, my room is just on the left of the photo, really nice

I then contacted the local Round Table Chairman, Marius Schmidt who invited me to meet the Tablers of RT177 after their meeting so I can meet the Tablers and to indulge in a few cold frosty’s and to partake in a braai. So with the evening arranged I popped into the store close to where I am staying to get a copy of the ‘Daily Despatch’ newspaper who published an article on the project today, the interview was done yesterday, Sunday, in Gonubie.

When I walked out of the shop I was “accosted’” very nicely I must say by a lady who said, as I was climbing into Buddy, ‘So you can’t just drive in here with this crazy little car and not stop to talk to me about what exactly it is you are doing”. My chat with her resulted in a few telephone calls which resulted firstly in my driving to the police station to meet and incredible police officer in the form of Captain Mali Govender who is the Communications Officer for the local Police. She in turn phoned a newspaper reporter from the ‘talk of the Town’ newspaper who arrived post haste and did an in-depth interview and photo session.

One bit of devastating news which Captain Govender shared with me is the fact that, three teenagers aged 14, a5 and 16 years of age raped and severely beat a 5 year old kid to death 2 years ago. I was shown photos of the scene where he was found and the condition of his body was shocking. Apart from having been raped and badly beaten which included a shocking beating to the body, boiling water was poured over his lower body. The case was reported by a very brave little 10 year old boy who was a witness to the entire scene and eventually got away and ran to tell his parents who reported the matter to the police and pointed out the scene and location of the 5 years olds body.

The three were granted bail and released into their parent’s custody; hell the parents couldn’t control them in the first place? The oldest savage while out ‘in his parents custody’ no bail mind you, and as in recently, while waiting for sentencing, because they have all been convicted of the murder, is currently under investigation for house breaking. Read my blog from this past weekend regarding child perpetrators and the desperate need to have corporal punishment and the formation of detention facilities for child/juvenile offenders.

After starting writing my blog, because from experience I know what happens at Round table functions, I could possibly end up writing it at 2 or 3 in the morning, I headed for the Ski Boat Club where the Round Table hold their meetings and proceeded to have a really great evening with the Tablers of Port Alfred.

<i>Me being ‘pinned and presented with the RT177 banner, a big story</i>

Me being ‘pinned and presented with the RT177 banner, a big story

<i>All the Tablers of RT 177 Port Alfred, a truly magic group of guys, they insisted on sponsoring my accommodation for the evening, thanks guys, hopefully see you at ARTSA in Hartenbos on the 16th April</i>

All the Tablers of RT 177 Port Alfred, a truly magic group of guys, they insisted on sponsoring my accommodation for the evening, thanks guys, hopefully see you at ARTSA in Hartenbos on the 16th April

There is a bridge which spans the river at the entrance to Port Alfred which is lit up with beautiful coloured lights at night and I desperately wanted a photo of his and spent some time driving to various vantage spots to get the photo so I hope you enjoy it and can appreciate this hard work that went into getting the photo.

<i>What a magic sight, you actually need to get down to Port Alfred to really appreciate this sight</i>

What a magic sight, you actually need to get down to Port Alfred to really appreciate this sight

And so ended yet another day in the life of ‘Buddy and Me’, Oh yes before I go, I got a phone call from a really lovely lady named Sarah from the local radio station who booked a call with me, actually an interview, for 9:15am on Wednesday the 3rd March and will be promoting the project and interview for the next two days on air, so I look forward to that. So good night, God bless and naturally, keep all children safe.

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

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Mon
8
Mar '10

Day 170-171: Wednesday and Thursday, 24-25 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

At the Round table braai get together, after telling the guys of my rear left shock catastrophe, I was told not to worry because an ex Tabler who unfortunately passed away recently from cancer’s wife owns the Hi-Q outlet in Queenstown along with a few other businesses and she would be happy to assist and solve my dilemma. So after thanking Bruce and Yvette for their kind hospitality and friendship I followed Bruce to the Hi-Q dealership where Buddy was admitted into the Hi Care theatre and underwent immediate surgery to fit new rear shocks, two nogal.

<i>Bruce and Yvette with Archie their trusted companion – Oh in case you are wondering Yvette is the good looking one and just in case you were wondering about the other two Archie is the dog</i>

Bruce and Yvette with Archie their trusted companion – Oh in case you are wondering Yvette is the good looking one and just in case you were wondering about the other two Archie is the dog

<i>Buddy in theatre undergoing surgery</i>

Buddy in theatre undergoing surgery

<i>The broken shock that caused all the concern for me. Incredible after having driven 60 000 kilometres through Africa it took a pothole in the ‘Transkei’ South Africa to brake the off road shock-absorber</i>

The broken shock that caused all the concern for me. Incredible after having driven 60 000 kilometres through Africa it took a pothole in the ‘Transkei’ South Africa to brake the off road shock-absorber

After a visit to the Beares store in Queenstown where I got to meet a couple of police officers from the ‘FCS’ unit who once again confirmed the confusion surrounding the ‘FCS’ unit and unfortunately could not provide details as to when the unit will officially be re-instated. They “heard” via the TV announcement by the Minister of police Services that the unit will be re-instated at the beginning of April this year, but no official memorandum has been received by the police confirming this. This is not surprising when considering there is still plenty of time, ONE MONTH!

Apart from the two police officers I got to talk to a few ladies employed in the ‘Department of Social Development’ and as usual the information obtained from them was all doom and gloom, “We have no money available to do our job properly”. Perhaps if the Government took a Zero tolerance stance, as they do with traffic offenders, on government officials stealing the money the departments could effectively do their jobs.

<i><b>Beares</b/> staff Queenstown</i>

Beares staff Queenstown

I once again thoroughly enjoyed the drive through to King Williams Town as did Buddy, fitted out with his new rear shocks and all, so a special thanks to Shaun and the management of Hi-Q Queenstown for their generous support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project, it is sincerely appreciated.

On arriving in King Williams Town, I contacted Round Tabler Stephen Farrer who was kindly hosting me with accommodation for the evening and I followed him to the King Williams Town Bowling Club where it had been arranged that I would meet a large group of Tablers from RT 6.

<i>Me being pinned and presented with the RT 6 banner</i>

Me being pinned and presented with the RT 6 banner

<i>Later that evening enjoying a few cold frosty’s with the lads while involved in a “very serious” game of darts</i>

Later that evening enjoying a few cold frosty’s with the lads while involved in a “very serious” game of darts

<i>My hosts for the evening: The Farrer family, Stephen, Tracey and little Catelyn with Roxy the Staffi. The two missing from the photo was son Eric who had already left for school and Jamyma the Jack Russell who escaped from the photo by running off to bark at some passersby</i>

My hosts for the evening: The Farrer family, Stephen, Tracey and little Catelyn with Roxy the Staffi. The two missing from the photo was son Eric who had already left for school and Jamyma the Jack Russell who escaped from the photo by running off to bark at some passersby

On the way into town to visit the Beares store in King Williams Town, I stopped to answer my phone and just as I was finishing my chat a car drove past and a lady was hanging out of the passenger side window calling and waiving to me. I am obviously used to this by now and so waived back and was about to start Buddy up and continue into the town when the car stopped, reversed and the young woman jumped out and run up to me calling my name. Obviously I was in a mild state of shock, I mean it’s not every day a ‘strange’ young woman stops and reacts in that way when she sees me.

When she got closer I realised it was Kristy Kreusch. She had worked at the Beares store in King Williams Town when I had passed through on my ‘African Odyssey – Searching for a Solution to Child Rape’ project and had stayed with her and her husband Shane for the evening. Shane got out of the car and we had a good old chat. Man what a chance meeting, if I had not received the phone call I would not have stopped and they would not have seen Buddy who they recognised immediately, in the words of John ‘Farrai’ of Port St Johns, destiny is an incredible thing!

<i>Shane and Kristy long lost friends but found again</i>

Shane and Kristy long lost friends but found again

At the Beares store in King Williams Town I got to meet with a group of ladies who are involved with the ‘King Williams Town Child and Youth Care Centre’. They provide shelter for 130 kids aged between birth and 18 years of age, who are victims of rape, in fact 50% of the children in the home are rape victims, as well as abandoned and physically abused kids.

Following our discussion, it was unanimously agreed that the situation of child offenders in the Eastern Cape has escalated to shocking proportions and all present believe that the government must establish, as a matter of extreme urgency, proper child/youth detention centres in which child offenders of serious crimes can be detained, although they must not be done in such a way that they become, as in the case of adult Correctional Service Centres/facilities (they are definitely not prison) an encouragement for kids to commit crime in order to be admitted.

I have seen far too many NGO’s which have been established around Africa who provide support for street kids, and have witnessed the fact that children leave homes where their parents have been working hard to provide the kids with whatever support they can only to have the kids run away from home because they have seen their friends being provided with better food, sporting facilities and living conditions than their own parents can provide, and so this sort of situation must be avoided. The detention centres must be designed and implemented in such a manner that it is a deterrent to the child to commit crime yet must not deny the child the opportunity of mending their evil ways and being set on the right path. I would sincerely appreciate comments from the public on this topic and suggestions on how such a detention centre could function.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff King Williams Town</i>

Beares staff King Williams Town

From King Williams Town I headed for Mndantsane, a very large township situated between King Williams Town and East London, actually about 20 kilometres or so out of east London. Here at the Beares store I met a large group of ladies from various walks of life in the township which included Police officers, Social workers, and ladies from places of safety. We had a really good in-depth discussion about the child rape situation in the area and I was told, yet once again, that the department of Social Development is currently so under financed that the social workers are unable to perform the duties and provide the communities with the services they are supposed to be providing.

It was confirmed that there is a Thuthuzela Care Centre situated at the ‘Cecelia Makiwane Hospital and that it was established some 5-6 years ago. It was also told that the services provided by the centre leaves much to be desired, and that victims are forced to wait hours for a police official to arrive from the local police station, as well as to be assisted by a nurse never mind a doctor. The social workers are not based at the centre and a social worker from the Department of Social Development who was present complained about the fact that they are introduced to the young rape victims a mere couple of hours before they are expected to appear in court and are expected to prep the child for court in this time. Once again I was exposed to the fact that the Thuthuzela Care Centres, which is an amazing initiative if done correctly, is not being done properly and is in fact as it stands right now a total waist of tax payer’s money and time.

After laying out the proposal I intend presenting to the President and parliament at the end of March to the ladies present they unanimously agreed that, “That is exactly what needs to be done to stop the raping of the children as well as providing them with the support structure they need to survive the trauma they have been subjected to”. So stick around, keep watching this website, as soon as the virus that was put on my site has been sorted out and Gail is able to get my blog’s up to date (unfortunately the blog’s have not been able to be updated since the 4th of February) and the site is back to normal I will be publishing the ‘Proposal for a Solution to Stopping the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children in South Africa’.

<i>The group of guests at the Mndantsane <b>Beares</b> store</i>

The group of guests at the Mndantsane Beares store

<i>Me with the friendly staff of <b>Beares</b> Mndantsane</i>

Me with the friendly staff of Beares Mndantsane

From Mndantsane I headed for Gonubie where I was being hosted accommodation by Marius who lives in Gonubie, a guy I had met back in Port St Johns at ‘The Mountain View Inn’ – John ‘Ferrari’ and Sherol’s place. I was told to meet him at the Gonubie Hotel but unfortunately he got stuck up in Queenstown and by 8pm and after having consumed a few cold Millers, I was forced to find alternative accommodation. When Dave Krynauw, the owner of the Gonubie Hotel heard that I needed accommodation he immediately offered to sponsor me a nights accommodation, so now all settled-in comfortably in my lovely room I am going to say good night, stay well and keep all children safe.

<i>The lovely <b>Gonubie Hotel</b> really a must if you are ever fortunate enough to visit the Gonubie area. My room had a spectacular view of the sea</i>

The lovely Gonubie Hotel really a must if you are ever fortunate enough to visit the Gonubie area. My room had a spectacular view of the sea

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

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Sun
7
Mar '10

Day 168-169: Monday and Tuesday, 22-23 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

Monday dawned yet another stinker of a day as far as the heat goes. No sooner had I got out of a cold shower and I was sweating like crazy, this was no ‘perspiration’ it was down and dirty sweat. I only had 95 kilometres to travel to Umtata and only had to be at the Beares store at 11am and so waited to hear if Sid and Bevin had managed to obtain a new shock for Buddy from East London. But after awhile and not having heard from them I decided to cancel my accommodation with Round Table in Umtata and rather return to Port St Johns where I decided to leave the trailer and stay over for the night in the hope that I could fit a new shock before continuing.

So after thanking Jenny for having provided me with fantastic accommodation for the weekend at ‘The Pont’ I first stopped off at ‘The Mountain View Inn’ where on explaining my predicament to Sherol and John they immediately offered me a room for the night, so all sorted for accommodation I headed for Mthatha. (By the way if you ever get to visit Port St Johns ‘The Pont’ is a terrific place to stay over at, their contact details are: www.thepont.co.za and their email address is: thepont@wildcoast.co.za. The other terrific place of course is ‘The Mountain View Inn’ and their details are: www.mountainviewinn.co.za and email: info@mountainview.co.za. Visiting these two terrific establishments is a must!)

With the terrible noise coming from Buddy’s rear left wheel through the twisting, winding roads to Mthatha, I was really glad that I did not have the trailer behind me and at times thought the rear wheel was going to come off. But I made Umtata safely and met the friendly staff of the Beares store in the new and flashy Plaza Centre.

Although I did not learn anything new concerning the child rape situation, it was confirmed by a number of people that the area is in desperate need of a functional and properly managed support centre. According to the local community child rape is running rampant in the area, and I was told by a number of people that “No one cares” and for this reason there is no point in reporting it. It has been awhile since I was told by members of the community that the police don’t seem to be too interested in “getting involved” in child rape cases and appear to turn a blind eye when cases are reported.

This was quite concerning to me especially when considering the fact that legislation has been put in place in the form of Act 32 of 2007 which states that any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped is compelled by law to report it, but it seems like, in this area anyway, that the police are not aware of this piece of legislation.

<i>The <b>Beares</b> staff of Umtata Plaza</i>

The Beares staff of Umtata Plaza

From the Plaza Centre I headed into the bustling centre of Umtata where I visited the new Beares store which was previously a Lubners store and is situated in the main street. The information I got from people I spoke to in the ‘city’ centre was pretty much the same as that I had gotten from people I had spoken to else where in the area, “The raping of children is bad, there is no support structure in place, the police don’t seem to care etc, etc, etc”.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Umtata Main Street</i>

Beares staff Umtata Main Street

<i>The main street of Umtata</i>

The main street of Umtata

Since leaving Port Edward and travelling through the Eastern cape area via Lusikisiki and Port St Johns I saw many road side signs depicting a strange display and I have asked many people what this sign indicates and to date nobody has been able to tell me what the sign means or indicates, so if there is any body out there who knows please let me know via my email address steve@buddyandme.co.za because I’m sure tourists visiting this beautiful area would also like to know, hell I live in SA and I don’t know and it seems the people living in the Eastern Cape region don’t even know. Check this out and please let me know.

<i>The strange sign seen every couple of kilometres along the road side in the Eastern Cape area, or rather Port Edward – Port St Johns and Umtata area</i>

The strange sign seen every couple of kilometres along the road side in the Eastern Cape area, or rather Port Edward – Port St Johns and Umtata area

I arrived back in Port St Johns at around 4:30 only to discover, to my horror, that Sid and Bevin had been unsuccessful in obtaining the right shock for Buddy. This meant that I would have to travel the same road back to Umtata with the broken shock while towing the trailer up the steep mountains with their twisting and winding roads, fortunately the road surface I had discovered is not too bad with limited pot holes.

The evening was spent with John, Sherol and yours truly visiting ‘Jungle Monkeys’ where I proceeded to serenade everyone with a few numbers on stage with guitar and “vocals”. I thoroughly enjoyed myself (Shame I don’t know about all the other occupants of the pub) but I didn’t care too much I just did my thing and had a ball doing it.

The next morning, Tuesday 23rd I had all day to reach Queenstown and so was in no hurry to leave Port St Johns. If you ever have the pleasure of visiting this area you will understand what I am talking about. The town might be a “Bit out of Africa” but it has an incredibly good feeling about it. The people are friendly and for me there’s a distinctive ‘Caribbean’ flare about it, I found myself humming and whistling UB 40’s ‘Kingston Town’ all the time. And so with a really heavy heart I eventually departed from Port St Johns vowing that I will return soon, as I did with Lake Malawi, I absolutely love them both.

I often get asked “Don’t you get tired of all the driving’ and my response is “If you spent every day driving through the beautiful areas I drive though on a daily basis, you would not be asking that question”, and today was no exception. The countryside one drives through between Umtata; well actually from Port St Johns, to Queenstown is spectacular and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive, as did Buddy. The route takes you via some towns which having travelled through Africa on the ‘African Odyssey’ project I can only refer to as ‘Real African” towns.

These included places such as Ngcobo where I stopped to fill up with petrol and was surrounded by a mass of bodies wanting to touch Buddy and everyone asking questions like “Where do you come from with this strange car” and “Are you in a race” and of course a large number was demanding donations to their early retirement fund, but a few actually referred to the child rape signage displayed on Buddy’s body work and said “Yes that is a very bad thing, it must be stopped”.

The other interesting place I drove through was a place called Cofimvaba and after witnessing this intriguing “African” town, I vowed that I would firstly like to establish what the names of these towns mean and one day visit them again and be able to spend more time in them, because it’s incredible how different the people are to those living in our cities. I have been told on many occasions by the communities of many small towns that, “All their ‘bad elements’ as in thugs and criminals, have moved to the cities where there are better pickings”, and I have definitely experienced the fact that the communities in these small towns are far more friendly than those in the large cities in South Africa.

Then came Queenstown. On arriving in the town/city, nobody has yet been able to tell me what differentiates a city from a town, many ladies and that includes May, have told me that “If a place has a Foshini’s then it is classified as a City” but I still question this definition.

I was hosted accommodation for the night by Round Tabler Bruce and Yvette Raasch, but before proceeding to their house I was escorted to the Queenstown Bowling club where I met a large group of the Tablers of Queenstown Round Table and after a talk on my travels and the purpose of my project, I was pinned and presented with the Queenstown Round Table banner.

<i>The group of guys from Round Table Queenstown enjoying a frosty or two while the fire was settling down and getting ready to receive the meat for the evening’s braai</i>

The group of guys from Round Table Queenstown enjoying a frosty or two while the fire was settling down and getting ready to receive the meat for the evening’s braai

<i>Me being pinned and presented with the RT Queenstown banner by Adie Peltenburg</i>

Me being pinned and presented with the RT Queenstown banner by Adie Peltenburg

Eventually, much later that evening, as usually happens when being hosted by the great guys of Round Table, we arrived at the Raasch residence where I flopped into bed and disappeared into dream land.

And so ended yet another day in the life of “Buddy and Me’ – Searching for a Solution to the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children” which by the way we have already established and will be published on this website before being presented to parliament in a couple of weeks, so keep watching this website.

So all that’s left for me to say is “Keep your feet on the ground, but reach for the stars” and of course above all, keep all children safe.

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

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Sun
7
Mar '10

Day 164-167: Thursday to Sunday, 18-21 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

So having settled in at ‘The Pont’ resort on the edge of the Mzimvubu River in Port St Johns, and having had a fantastic nights rest, although it was extremely hot, I woke on Thursday morning to a wonderfully clear and once again boiling hot day.

After breakfast I headed into the town and soon after stopping at the ‘SuperSpar’ to stock up with goodies – food stuff – for the weekend, I was approached by a few of the local community who wanted to know who I was and what all the stickers on ‘Buddy’ was all about. After explaining the purpose of my mission, a few of the woman folk immediately got into a heavy discussion concerning the child rape situation in the area. From what I could extract from the many opinions and comments which were being thrown at me from all sides at the same time, I learnt that the child rape situation in the general area of Lusikisiki, Port St Johns and it’s surrounding area is just as bad as it is every where else in the country, in fact if what I was hearing was true, the situation is even worse. I had a brief chat with a local cop a little later and he confirmed what I had learnt on my last visit and that is that the crime of rape on children by children in the area has escalated horrifically.

<i>The main street of Port St Johns, don’t be fooled by the lack of people, this photo was taken on Sunday afternoon, usually the town is a bustling mass of humanity</i>

The main street of Port St Johns, don’t be fooled by the lack of people, this photo was taken on Sunday afternoon, usually the town is a bustling mass of humanity

After a leisurely drive to ‘Second Beach and Third beach’ which involved a drive through a spectacular wooded/forest area, I returned to Port St Johns and on the way passed a sign which obviously intrigued me. While in Port Edward I had seen a sign advertising a place called ‘Jungle Monkey’ which is, according to the poster, a Backpackers where they provide entertainment in the form of live music on a daily basis as well as an ‘open mike’ for anyone wishing to play, or make a fool of him/herself, so of course I could not resist the temptation to make a fool of myself.

‘Jungle Monkeys proved to be exactly what I expected, which is a magic place. There were a few guests in the bar veranda area, one of whom hailed from Bloemfontein and he was busy playing guitar with the members of the “resident” band and the sound emanating from the stage was amazing. After indulging in a cold frosty – Milers of course – after all it was boiling hot and the circumstances called for some pain relieving ‘medication’ one of the guests asked the band to play ‘The house of the Rising Sun’, and as the resident band is primarily a blues band, they were battling a bit to get the song going. I of course being the chirpy individual I am, offered some assistance by suggesting they change the key and suggested a few chords for them. They asked if I was a “muso” to which I replied “I try, but one day when I grow up I would like to be able to say I am a muso”.

Obviously this response resulted in my being invited to accompany them and oh boy did we make sweet music. In fact I played for about an hour with four tremendously accomplished musicians who followed anything I played and a really great afternoon, which continued into the early evening, which evolved into the late night with spasmodic episodes of my being on stage and different people playing, what a great place.

<i>The road to Second Beach</i>

The road to Second Beach

<i>Me accompanied by the “Jungle Monkey blues band”</i>

Me accompanied by the “Jungle Monkey blues band”

Now for the “Bad news”. The pothole I hit on the road to Lusikisiki resulted in the drive from Lusikisiki to Port St Johns being a constant worry for me, and with every metre I drove I expected to see the rear left wheel come flying passed me. The pot hole had obviously done far more damage than I had originally thought, and by the time ‘Buddy and Me’ limped into Port St Johns the noise emanating from the rear left wheel was really worrying. Two guys who were staying in a chalet near by mine, Sid and Bevin who live in East London and are working in the Port St Johns area offered the services of a mechanic who is on contract to their company and so they called John “Ferrari” Ferreira who after removing the back left wheel confirmed that the wheel bearing was fine. Unfortunately after much test driving and inspection the source of the painful knocking sound could not be identified.

Later when I drove into town I discovered that a small pool of “fluid” had formed on the ground below the rear left shock and to my horror I discovered that the damage was in fact a badly damaged rear left shock absorber. Bevin and Sid were going home to east London for the weekend and offered to try and locate a new shock for me and would hopefully be able to bring it back with them on Monday afternoon. John “farrari offered to grease Buddy’s front suspension and so that evening I stopped off at the Mountain View Inn, which him and his wife own. On arriving at The Mountain View Inn I met his lovely wife Sherol – and yes that is the correct spelling of her name – and after John had produced his grease machine and greased up Buddy’s front suspension we enjoyed a magic evening of braaing and chatting.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and cleaning Buddy. Sunday was a really terrific day for me. John and Sherol offered to take me up the mountain to see the spectacular view of the Port St Johns area from the “airport” runway. On the way up, and because of the extremely hot and humid conditions we stopped off at a dam for a swim, which went down very well.

<i>John enjoying a dip or rather ‘float’ on the dam</i>

John enjoying a dip or rather ‘float’ on the dam

<i>Sherol after using up most of her pictures photography the cows????</i>

Sherol after using up most of her pictures photography the cows????

<i>John and Sherol braaing at the top of the mountain, the mouth of the mighty Mzimvubu River in the back ground</i>

John and Sherol braaing at the top of the mountain, the mouth of the mighty Mzimvubu River in the back ground

The view from the top of the mountain is really spectacular and the amazing thing is that the end of the runway is a matter of a few metres from the lip of the mountain. To Sherol and John “Ferrari” you have my sincere thanks for a truly wonderful day.

<i>Looking down onto the road I came into Port St Johns on from Lusikisiki. The Pont Resort is right next to the bridge on the left side of the ‘T’ junction</i>

Looking down onto the road I came into Port St Johns on from Lusikisiki. The Pont Resort is right next to the bridge on the left side of the ‘T’ junction

<i>Looking down the runway towards the point where I took the photos from</i>

Looking down the runway towards the point where I took the photos from

And so ended the weekend for ‘Buddy and Me’, and so all that’s left for me to do is to bid you farewell for now, hopefully the mess up caused by the ‘A hole’ that placed a virus on my website will be sorted out soon and my blog’s will be up dated soon. So I apologise for the mess up and delay in getting the blog’s updated but unfortunately when it comes to computers and other electronic devises sometimes these things happen.

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

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Sun
7
Mar '10

Day 161-163: Monday to Wednesday, 15-17 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

So having spent a rest full couple of days at Rocky Bay in the district of Park Rynie, I was up early, packed, showered and on my way out of the caravan park by 7:45am. After stopping off at the office to thank the parks management for their kind hospitality, ‘Buddy and Me’ continued south towards our next destination, Port Shepstone. Here I got to meet yet another great cop who introduced himself as “Captain Singh Commanding Officer of the ‘Child Protection Unit”. From the quizzical look I gave him he immediately responded with “You obviously know that the unit was disbanded and the whole FCS saga which has followed, but I still believe in the Child Protection Unit and prefer to call it that and I still function as its commanding officer”. I immediately took a liking to this man.

We had a lengthy discussion surrounding the whole CPU / FCS debacle and the fact that in the areas where the FCS is still functioning, in-spite of it having been disbanded, the police officers such as Captain Singh have a major problem because having spent most of his 25 years in the police in the detective unit with a large portion of that having been spent specialising in the CPU, he is forced to train his staff himself due to the fact that the unit is not recognised by the ‘powers that be’ in police headquarters. After spending months training staff in the art of the investigation of child rape cases, his staff are transferred off to other stations and areas where they perform duties not remotely connected to the investigation of child rape cases, and so he has to start all over again. The situation is totally and utterly ridiculous.

He went on to confirm that he and his fellow officers heard “Via the television news” that the Minister of police confirmed to the public that the FCS unit would be officially reinstated in April 2010. Captain Singh’s comment was “Perhaps it would have been nice if we as ‘Senior Officers’ in the South African Police Service could have been told first and not have to hear it on the national television when it was broadcasted to the general public. Evidently a few officers have been placed in embarrassing situations when asked for comment by the media concerning the reinstatement of the unit and not having heard the Ministers broadcast commented that no information had been released concerning the reinstatement of the unit. But as Captain Singh pointed out “This falls in line with the general problem affecting the South Africa Police Service and that is a total lack of communication in all spheres of the service”.

The other aspect of our discussion was concerning the formation and implementation of the Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCC). He confirmed that a TCC was currently being set up in Port Shepstone but could not confirm when exactly it would be operational. He went into great depth about how the centre, because of the services it would provide to child rape and domestic violence victims, would be a tremendous service to the area. He elaborated on the services which are described in the TCC brochure and when he was finished I explained that I have visited a number of the TCC units and to date have not found a single one, and these include centres which have been open and operating for a number of years, which provides even half of the services professed to be available in the brochure. We agreed that “if” the centre provided the services listed in the brochure, and “if” these services were available “on” the centres premises, it would be a fantastic facility.

Our discussion ended with a chat about the problem of child rape in the area and he confirmed that it is, like everywhere else in South Africa, very bad and is increasing at a steady rate. He also agreed that the increase in the raping of children is attributed to the fact that the savages perpetrating these disgusting and despicable acts are getting away with it and that the punishment, or rather lack of punishment is a big contributing factor.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Port Shepstone – Captain Singh in front on the right and the store manager, ever faithful to the fight against child rape project, Ranesh Manilal on the left next to me</i>

Beares staff Port Shepstone – Captain Singh in front on the right and the store manager, ever faithful to the fight against child rape project, Ranesh Manilal on the left next to me

From Port Shepstone ‘Buddy and Me’ continued south to Port Edward where I hoped to secure camping accommodation at ‘The Pont’ caravan resort. I was hoping to find Dot, who was the wife of Greg Crawford who was a good friend and colleague of mine during my days at Stannic in Pinetown, and hoped that she still owned the resort and could help me out with a camp site for a couple of nights. Greg Crawford was tragically killed in a car accident near the Casino about 15 years ago and Dot had acquired The Pont Resort on a lease bases from the municipality but I discovered that after 13 years she and her husband Mike had relinquished the lease back to the municipality following a series of disagreements regarding certain issues in the lease.

Fortunately a very kind lady in the form of Cynthia is managing the resort and on hearing the nature of my project immediately confirmed that I could have a camp site courtesy of the resort management, which once again proves that there are a lot of very kind and good people in this beautiful country of ours.

<i>Arrival at the beach front of Port Edward</i>

Arrival at the beach front of Port Edward

<i>My camp site at <b>‘The Pont’</b>, what an amazing place</i>

My camp site at ‘The Pont’, what an amazing place

On my last ‘African Odyssey’ project and on passing through Port Edward, I had been provided with accommodation by a very kind lady named Bernice who owned a ‘Back packers’ lodge very close to the entrance of ‘The Pont’ called Vuna Valley Lodge and so after setting up camp I popped in to hopefully say Hi. Unfortunately I was told by the new owners Terry and Dave that Bernice no longer had the lodge and that they had bought it three years previously, but on hearing the reason for my visit insisted that I join them and a couple of German guests for dinner, and oh boy what I meal I had. Dave braaied steaks to absolute perfection and this went down very well with a mushroom sauce and fresh vegetables. The night was made complete with some really good conversation and a lesson in German history and politics provided by the German guest Sven and his partner, unfortunately I have forgotten her name for which I apologise profusely, because I know they are going to read this blog. So guys I sincerely hope you enjoy your few weeks of travelling around our beautiful country and I hope ‘Buddy and Me’ gets to meet up with you again somewhere between Port Edward and Cape Town before you head back home.

Wednesday morning I woke to a light drizzle, it had rained most of the night, but at 5:30am when I got up to start packing the rain abated just long enough for me to pack, although I had to pack a wet tent, but at least it wasn’t raining, so once again it proved that someone ‘up there’ is definitely looking after me.

Unfortunately the moment I finished packing, the rain came down again and it remained a light drizzle for the rest of the day which resulted in my drive to Lusikisiki being a bit of a nightmare. The trip, which involved driving 163 kilometres through very twisty, winding and hilly conditions not to mention humungous pot holes, ended up taking ‘Buddy and Me’ 4 hours to complete. At one stage about 20 kilometres before Flagstaff and while descending a long down hill section, I noticed a large patch of water in the road and when I approached it, fortunately because of the rain and thick mist we were travelling pretty slowly, I realised that it was two massive pot holes positioned right across the road and were full of water.

There were cars approaching from the front and a quick squizz in my rear view mirror showed that there was a taxi right on my tail behind the trailer with a number of cars behind it and so any sharp braking by me was going to cause a huge smash in the wet road conditions. Because of the oncoming cars I couldn’t swerve onto the opposite side of the road and so hit the pot holes square on. Both Buddy and the trailer took a horrible knock and I thought I had ripped Buddy’s suspension out from under him, but fortunately all seemed okay although a little later I started hearing a knocking sound which appeared to be coming from Buddy’s left rear wheel.

The incredible thing is that most of the road appears to have been recently re-tarred, but there are still massive pot holes which can only be attributed to the fact that the company awarded the contract to re-surface the road did a really shoddy job, which, as one person said, is probably due to the fact that the local government obviously chose the cheapest tender or that most of the money was not spent on the actual job?

My visit to the Beares store in Lusikisiki was a reasonably brief one and after a chat with some of the local community and the Beares staff ‘Buddy and Me’ headed out of the chaotic traffic of Lusikisiki and headed for Port St Johns.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Lusikisiki</i>

Beares staff Lusikisiki

<i>This town is not only filthy but the traffic is worse than Jo’burg and the streets are one big pothole after another, this was one of the smaller ones!</i>

This town is not only filthy but the traffic is worse than Jo’burg and the streets are one big pothole after another, this was one of the smaller ones!

Apart from confirming that child rape is occurring at a major rate in the area and that there is no support structure available for child rape victims, the big storey being talked about in Lusikisiki is the storey relating to a man and his wife who recently sold their three daughters, aged between 12 and 14 to old men as wives. The Mayor got involved and had the children removed from the ‘old’ men and they have been placed in a place of safety and the police are also investigating the case. Examinations have revealed that all three girls have been repeatedly raped and abused, yet another case proving that our beautiful country is inhabited by a lot of savages.

After being subjected to the horrific road conditions from Port Edward to Lusikisiki and not to mention the shocking road conditions in the actual town of Lusikisiki, it was a pleasure to drive the 45 kilometres to Port St Johns on what I can only describe as pure bliss surface conditions and after negotiating the twisty and mountainous roads arrived in the town of Port St Johns.

<i>The approach to Port St Johns which is situated in the middle of a large group of mountains. The airport runway is situated on the top of the mountain on the right</i>

The approach to Port St Johns which is situated in the middle of a large group of mountains. The airport runway is situated on the top of the mountain on the right

On my previous ‘African Odyssey’ project, I had been kindly hosted accommodation at a lovely resort called ‘The Pont’ by the owners, Jenny and Brian Southey. On arriving at the resort office, I received the bad news from Jenny that Brian had unfortunately passed away during 2007 from a massive coronary heart attack. Although I asked if she could assist me with a camp site, Jenny insisted that I must take a chalet and so I am now very comfortably settled in my chalet on the banks of the mighty Mzimvubu River at ‘The Pont’ in Port St Johns.

<i>Taken from my chalet front door facing the river, you will note the chicken already on the braai</i>

Taken from my chalet front door facing the river, you will note the chicken already on the braai

<i>Taken from the opposite direction of the front of my chalet, the mountain with the air port on top in the back ground. The runway ends right on the lip of the steep cliff</i>

Taken from the opposite direction of the front of my chalet, the mountain with the air port on top in the back ground. The runway ends right on the lip of the steep cliff

So that’s all I have for now, so ‘Buddy and Me’ is going to bid you farewell for now and spend the next few days in the Port St Johns area combing relaxing and finding out what is happening with the child rape situation in this area. So keep well, keep all children safe.

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

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Sun
7
Mar '10

Day 158-160: Friday to Sunday, 12-14 February 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

As I said in yesterdays blog, Friday morning found ‘Buddy and Me’ continuing south to Park Rynie where on entering the Rocky Bay Caravan Park and Resort reception office, I was told that they had read about the project in the newspaper and immediately offered me a camp site for the weekend on the house. What a magic place. I was given a site which is practically on the beach, check this out.

You can’t get much closer to the beach than this. And this is the view I woke to on Saturday morning while lying in bed nogall pure paradise

I took a drive through to Clansthal which south of Rocky Bay to do some fishing and on the way stopped off at a coastal tidal pool at Park Rynie and saw what I thought was the neatest fishing pose I have ever seen considering the fact that it was so hot I could identify with how an ice cream feels, not the coldness, but the melting bit. Check this out!

<i>Standing in the swimming pool fishing, all that he is missing is a cold frosty in his hand</i>

Standing in the swimming pool fishing, all that he is missing is a cold frosty in his hand

At Clansthal, where I was joined by a few people I met in the small town namely, Michelle and her sons and Nick, and after spending some time walking up and down the beach trying to encourage a fish to take an artificial bait in the form of a spoon, which they eluded to do, we were joined by another large group of guys from Amanzimtoti who on seeing Buddy parked in the parking stopped to chat.

<i>My new found friends at Clansthal. So guys I hope you enjoy the pic and hope you pass on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website details to all your friends</i>

My new found friends at Clansthal. So guys I hope you enjoy the pic and hope you pass on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website details to all your friends

I was sent an interesting email which I would like to share with everyone. It concerns the prison system in America and one individual in particular who has had enough of prisoners having a ball in ‘correctional services facilities’ I wish we had someone like him, although I still think Botswana and Namibia have the best solution.

USA JAIL – SOME INTERESTING READING

TO THOSE OF YOU NOT FAMILIAR WITH JOE ARPAIO, HE IS THE MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF ( ARIZONA ) AND HE KEEPS GETTING ELECTED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio created the “tent city jail” to save Arizona from spending tens of millions of dollars on another expensive prison complex.

He has jail meals down to 20 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He banned smoking and pornographic magazines in the jails, and took away their weightlifting equipment and cut off all but “G” movies. He says:
“They’re in jail to pay a debt to society not to build muscles so they can assault innocent people when they leave.”

He started chain gangs to use the inmates to do free work on county and city projects and save taxpayer’s money.

Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn’t get sued for discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was a federal court order that required cable TV for jails. So he hooked up the cable TV again but only allows the Disney channel and the weather channel.

When asked why the weather channel, he replied: “So these morons will know how hot it’s gonna be while they are working on my chain gangs.”

He cut off coffee because it has zero nutritional value and is therefore a waste of taxpayer money. When the inmates complained, he told them, “This isn’t the Ritz/Carlton. If you don’t like it, don’t come back.”

He also bought the Newt Gingrich lecture series on US history that he pipes into the jails. When asked by a reporter if he had any lecture series by a Democrat, he replied that a democratic lecture series that actually tells the truth for a change would be welcome and that it might even explain why 95% of the inmates were in his jails in the first place.

With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 degrees just set a new record for June 2nd 2009), the Associated Press reported: About 2,000 inmates living in a barbed wire surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued pink boxer shorts.

On the Wednesday, hundreds of men wearing pink boxer shorts were overheard chatting in the tents, where temperatures reached 128 degrees.
“This is hell. It feels like we live in a furnace,” said Ernesto Gonzales, an inmate for 2 years with 10 more to go. “It’s inhumane.”
Joe Arpaio, who makes his prisoners wear pink, and eat bologna sandwiches, is not one bit sympathetic. “Criminals should be punished for their crimes – not live in luxury until it’s time for parole, only to go out and commit more crimes so they can come back in to live on taxpayers money and enjoy things many taxpayers can’t afford to have for themselves.”

The same day he told all the inmates who were complaining of the heat in the tents: “It’s between 120 to 130 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents there too, and they have to walk all day in that sun, wearing full battle gear and getting shot at, and THEY have not committed any crimes, so shut your damned mouths!”

Way to go, Sheriff! If all prisons were like yours there would be a lot less crime and we would not be in the current position of running out of prison space in South Africa with one of the highest crime rates because … our Government believes that criminal have rights!

Sheriff Joe was just re-elected for the umpteenth time as Sheriff in Maricopa County , Arizona . In South Africa our Nasional Commissioner of Police has just been fired for alleged corruption … so what’s new?

It has been a blistering hot weekend but it’s much better than the rain so I won’t complain. With that I am going to say chio for now, keep your feet on the ground but reach real high for the sky, and above all, ya you guessed, keep all children safe.

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

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