Posted by Julia
Categories: Buddy and Me
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The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.
To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.
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So ‘Buddy and Me’ started the week on Monday morning (24th January 2011) with a visit to the Beares store in East London where I had my usual chat with the Beares staff and then headed out for Port Alfred.
Meet the staff of Beares in East London.
I have always loved Port Alfred and what used to be a quaint, small coastal town has grown into a massive place. I must say that I was very impressed with the fact that the growth has not affected the town negatively by turning it into a filthy place like ‘development’ has affected the far majority of towns I have visited in South Africa.
My first call of business on arriving in Port Alfred was trying to find somewhere cheap to stay, with emphasis on the word ‘cheap’ but liveable. Initially I sought out a campsite but on enquiring at a caravan/camping place I was told a camp site would cost R75 -00 per night. This was not bad and actually suited my budget, but while contemplating this, a lady approached me and told me of a self-catering chalet place close by which would only cost R120-00 and which according to her was very comfortable with all the comforts of home. So without further a-do I headed for my ‘new home’.
I found out the place is owned by Dudley and Jenny Waters and believe me if you ever visit the Port Alfred area these are the people you must contact for accommodation: 083 475 8414 or 084 829 7591, you won’t be sorry. Dudley is an ex-policeman (Captain) and provided me with some astonishing facts on the police in the Port Alfred area, as well as some interesting information on cases he was involved with and which are currently ‘cold cases’ and one in particular involves the disappearance of a small 8 year-old girl whose mother, after 12 years, has still not had closure on her disappearance.
This is the front of my chalet, very close to the marina and they even have a heated in-door swimming pool, awesome.
The main purpose of my visit to Port Alfred was to obtain some follow-up information on what had transpired in the rape/murder case of a 5 year old little boy who was savagely beaten, burnt with boiling water and raped/sodomised by three savages aged 15,16 and 17 years-old. This disgusting and horrible crime took place late in 2008 and at the time of my visit to Port Alfred in 2010 the case had just been concluded and the savages were awaiting sentencing (For details see my blog – Project 2 – Day 175: Monday 1st March 2010). Mrs. Mali Govender of the SAPS in Port Alfred had given me a lot of information on the case and had shown me some horrific photo’s taken at the scene of the crime as well as autopsy photos. These were, to put it mildly, shocking beyond comprehension.
The three savages, after beating and raping the small 5 year-old, beat his head in with a rock and then went off to fetch boiling water which they poured over his midriff to try and erase the ‘evidence’ of the rape. The little guy’s midriff was burnt so badly that when the police tried to pick his body up the skin came off in their hands.
On arriving at the police station to pay a visit on Mrs. Mali Govender I was told that she had unfortunately been transferred to Grahamstown but that Colonel Zeelie, the Station Commander would see me. Now having travelled South Africa extensively and interviewed, thousands of police officials over the past 5 years, I consider Colonel Zeelie to be a police officer of note who restores my faith in the South African Police ‘Services’, knowing that their at least someone who ‘cares’ and is dedicated to the job of policing and serving the public, what an amazing police department we would have if we had more of her calibre, or if she was in-charge. We had a three and a half hour interview and the information I learnt about crime and the problems facing the SAPS in dealing with these issues was incredible.
But firstly let me complete the story of the three savages, 15, 16 and 17 years-old, who brutally raped and beat an innocent 5 year-old to death.
Accused number one who was 15 years-old at the time, was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment with 4 years suspended, which means that effectively he gets 14 years of which, according to our justice system, he will serve 4 years, ‘in jail ?’ before being released on parole.
Accused number two, who was 16 years-old, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with 3 years suspended, which means an effective 7 years, ‘in jail ?’ and he will be released after having served 2 years of his sentence.
Accused number three, who was 17 years-old, was sentenced to 10 years, with 2 years suspended, which means he will serve an effective 8 years, but will be released after having served a poultry two and a half years sentence, ‘in jail ?’.
But this does not end there, the jail sentences, because of their ages, will involve the ‘rehabilitation programme’ which the government insists on applying to savages and thugs committing crime in South Africa, and includes what they refer to as the ‘Diversion Programme’, so these savages will receive major counselling and an education, which they probably would not have received had they not committed this despicable and disgusting crime. Oh by the way, rape victims do not receive State funded counselling, only convicted rapists receive this benefit while in prison – sorry that should read the ‘Correctional Service Facilities’, or should that be ‘The Recreational Services’.
Now I ask you, is this a deterrent punishment for three savages who brutally beat, raped and took away the life of an innocent 5 year-old little boy! I rest my case. At this point I want to go back to my last blog (blog 16) to that,?, I really don’t know what to call him apart from idiot, Mr. Ramashala, who wrote the article in the newspaper and who believes that all ex-convicts, “apart from ‘habitual criminals’ should all be given a second chance in life, and supported by providing them with career opportunities” and whatever other support they need to ensure they have a pleasant and comfortable life after prison. Right!
I’m sure you have detected that I was pretty wound up after hearing about the pathetic sentences passed down by our South African judicial system on the three despicable savages, and so I will rather continue with a few other facts I learnt during my visit to Port Alfred.
I have often mentioned the fact that a child rape case takes on average 3 years to get to trial and that we are currently experiencing a ridiculously low average conviction rate of between 4 and 6% for child rape cases and the biggest contributing factor for these pathetic statistics is due to the time it takes to obtain DNA results from the South African Forensic Laboratories. In the majority of cases, after an accused has appeared in court for the fourth time and a postponement is requested by the state prosecutor because DNA results are still outstanding, the case is struck from the role and the suspect is released from, usually his bail conditions and bail is refunded, or incarceration.
Obviously the accused, knowing he is guilty, skips, and once the DNA results are received the police have to start the search for him all over again and in the majority of cases the investigating officer is no longer at that station and the new investigating officer is not acquainted with that specific case and has ‘more important cases’ of his/her own to deal with, and so not much emphasis is placed on tracking down the suspect again. Hence a ridiculously low national average conviction rate of 4 – 6%, and so now down to some interesting information on the testing of DNA for rape cases in South Africa.
An interesting fact is that we, in South Africa, do not have a national DNA data base. This in effect means that a cereal rapists DNA is not held on record and so if he travels from one area to another committing the crime of rape, or even if he commits rape in the same area, when, or if, he is ever apprehended, he cannot be linked to the other rapes by DNA, although DNA samples are held by the police in the hope that a suspect is arrested and linked to the other rapes through other evidence and can be used in evidence against him, but he is not linked to the other rapes by a DNA data base, he has to be linked by other means.
Secondly, no DNA samples are sent for testing unless a suspect is apprehended and no DNA tests are undertaken unless a State Prosecutor orders the testing of the DNA. Incredible!
It has been told to me by many police officers, and it was confirmed by Colonel Zeelie, that unfortunately many laws are being promulgated which the police are incapable of implementing. The laws being referred to in particular are those pertaining to:
Firstly the recently promulgated ‘Child Justice Act, Act 75 – 2008’, regarding the detention and imprisonment of minors, we do not have detention facilities for minors in South Africa, only ‘Industrial Schools’ which are a joke as far as ‘punishments’ are concerned, because as is the case with adult criminals, being placed in one of these institutions is an encouragement, not a deterrent and many kids are quite happy to be sent to these places where they get to enjoy privileges which they would not normally get in their normal living conditions.
The other laws which Colonel Zeelie was referring to in particular are the laws relating to the ‘Sexual Offences Act, Act 32 – 2007’, specifically the section of this Act which states that “Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused, and fails to report it to the police, is guilty of an offence” – Since its promulgation in November 2007 not a single person has been charged for this offence – and this in light of the fact that we are experiencing on average 580 child rape cases a day in South Africa and only a miserable 15 – 18% are being reported?
I must compliment the Police in Port Alfred for the establishment of their ‘child friendly’ support facilities for handling child rape and child abuse cases. This facility was established with incredible help from many organisations and community members in Port Alfred and is one of the best I have visited on my journey around our country.
Colonel Lizette Zeelie outside the ‘child friendly’ facility at the Port Alfred police station. The police services could definitely do with a lot more like her.
I was really sorry to leave Port Alfred and believe I could really enjoy living in this town. This is a picture of the river mouth and the other one is looking in the opposite direction and shows how the river spreads out into channels on which many luxury homes have been established.
From Port Alfred ‘Buddy and Me’ headed to another lovely, friendly and clean city namely, Port Elizabeth. I must admit that during the last few days I have become really confused with the names of the places I have visited, all of them having the word ‘Port’ in them; Port Shepstone – Port Edward – Port St Johns – Port Alfred – Port Elizabeth and even that one which although is not a ‘Port’ but Fort Beaufort which was confused with Port Beaufort by the British military engineers in the early 1830’s (See blog 15 for details), but let me get on with my arrival in Port Elizabeth.
I arrived at the really lovely ‘Protea Hotel Marine’ in Marine Drive Summerstrand and was given a VIP welcome by the General Manager Dannie Smit, Grizelda Graham the Banqueting Co-ordinator and Clinton Graham another manager. My two night stay at this incredible hotel was mind blowing and the staff of this hotel are awarded my ‘much sought after’ ‘Buddy and Me’ award for being the friendliest staff of any hotel I have visited to date, and believe me I have not come across one which has not been friendly, so this award is really something.
Meet the ultra friendly staff of the ‘Marine Protea Hotel’ – Grizelda Graham is the blond and I think it’s her husband, Clinton Graham behind her, unfortunately I did not get the names of the others in the photo and unfortunately the General Manager, Dannie Smit was unavailable for the photo, but Dannie you have my sincere thanks and gratitude for providing me with accommodation which was simply out of this world.
I mean just check out the view from my room on the 6th floor.
My visit to the Beares and Lubners stores in Cleary Park turned out to be ‘a visit of note’. Firstly when I pulled into the Mall’s parking lot, the car guard ran up to me and said “No man you mustn’t park there, you must park in your usual spot, over there” (You need to read this with a real Cape Coloured accent) and promptly pointed out the parking bay restricted for loading purposes right next to the entrance. I was a bit confused but my confusion was soon sorted out when he said “I remember you and your little buggy from when you visited here last year, but then you had a trailer with you”, to say I was stunned is an understatement because my last visit was almost a year ago in February 2010 so ‘Buddy and Me’ must have, once again, made one heck of an impression on this guy.
The car guard with the amazing memory posing with a few of the Beares and Lubners staff of Cleary Park.
The other surprise was that, as I was walking past the entrance to the Lubners store, my first visit being scheduled for the Beares store which is two stores away from the Lubners store, I heard loud shouts of “Hello Steve and Buddy” coming from inside the Lubners store. I’m sure the whole shopping centre heard the ladies shouts because everyone walking near-by stopped and looked. I entered the store to shrieks of greetings and was absolutely dazzled by the welcome.
So meet the incredibly friendly staff of Lubners Cleary Park Port Elizabeth.
Then it was time for my visit to the Beares store and once again I was greeted as if I was a long lost relative returning home.
I had an amazing time with these lovely people and spent quite some time chatting to them and bringing them all up to date with the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.
I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Port Elizabeth but must admit that I was really disappointed to be told, not once but numerous times, by local residents who stopped to chat to me in shopping centres and places I visited, that the crime, especially in the form of robberies and hi-jackings, on the Summerstrand beach front area is at a critical stage, with instances of this nature occurring on a regular basis.
Friday morning I visited the Beares store in Govan Mbeki Street and once again met up with a group of Beares staff who made me feel like their long lost relative. One staff member in particular I want to mention is Lindile Yoyo who at the age of 49 has never travelled outside of the Port Elizabeth area. This, to a man who has travelled in a Beach Buggy through 12 countries of Africa and having covered a total distance to date of 183 000 kilometres, not to mention all the travelling I have done outside of the ‘Buddy and Me’ project, is mind boggling to put it mildly.
The intrepid ‘Buddy and Me’ traveller (although upside down) meets the man who has never travelled outside of the Port Elizabeth area, Lildile Yoyo.
I did get to meet up with a few of the local constabulary, but I learnt nothing new about the child rape situation and according to them it is not occurring on a very large scale in the Port Elizabeth area. Unfortunately this information I took with a pinch of salt because I am fully aware, as I am sure the rest of South Africa is, that it is occurring on a very large scale but because the public have lost faith in the ‘authorities’ ability to protect them, especially in the case of child rape, the cases are not being reported to the police.
My accommodation was in the form of camping, and this was at a truly incredible resort situated 12 kilometres south of Summerstrand at a place called ‘The Willows”. On approaching the resorts reception to establish what damage my camping for the weekend would do to my meagre budget, I was told by the resorts manager Mrs. Marita Loftie-Eaton, that in-spite of the fact that the park was fully booked for the weekend by two visiting caravan clubs, they would provide me with camping, on a site which was considered too small for caravanning purposes but was really neat anyway and more than big enough for my purposes, on a complimentary basis nogall, so many thanks Marita your generosity and kind hospitality is greatly appreciated.
My camp site at ‘The Willows’ Cape Recife and it even had a sea view. Obviously because the park was so full I spent a lot of time chatting to the fellow campers about the project and obtaining hordes of comments and opinions on what should be done in order to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa.
The resort also has lovely chalets and bungalows, so if you are looking for a place for a holiday, ‘The Willows’ in Cape Recife Port Elizabeth is the place to stay.
Their contact details are:
Tel: +27 (0) 861177 177
Across the road from the entrance to the ‘The Willows’ resort is a magic little rustic pub called ‘Munkee Bizniz’ where I indulged in a couple of cold Miller’s and enjoyed a Portuguese style Peri-Peri chicken and chips, a must if you ever do visit ‘The Willows’ resort. The food is good, the beers are cold, it’s within easy walking distance from the Willows resort, in fact directly across the road from the entrance to the resort, oh and the conversation with the manager Jeff and owner Mark is interesting.
From the photo you can see what I mean about it being ‘rustic’, but as I said – good food, and great hospitality – and oh yes did I mention cold beer.
I was also given the privilege of writing my details up on the wall and placing a copy of the ‘Buddy and Me’ flyer alongside it.
In years to come people will be reading this and saying, WOW! Who’s he? That’s Mark – The owner of the establishment – on the right of the photo, and Jeff on the left.
On Saturday while driving down the Cape Recife coastal road looking for a fishing spot, I came across a large group of cops and saw a woman’s body on the side of the road partly covered by the bush. That evening I learnt that a couple had been visiting the Summerstrand beach front area had been hi-jacked on Friday night and the savages who hi-jacked them had shot and killed the husband, thrown his body out about one kilometre before ‘The Willows’ resort and then shot and killed the woman and dumped her body on the side of the road about four kilometres past ‘The Willows’ resort. So it just proves that what the local community have been telling me about the Port Elizabeth area’s crime problem is right, and that it is in fact no different to the rest of South Africa.
Sunday afternoon was spent enjoying a lovely lunch with Ashwin and Mogie Ramhith. Ashwin is the Chairman of Round Table in Fort Beaufort but unfortunately was not available for me to meet when I visited there. He moved to Port Elizabeth on Saturday and so on Sunday (today) Ashwin invited me to join him and Mogie for lunch and so a great afternoon was spent enjoying a lovely Indian curry as well as a number of other delicious dishes. Ashwin is a notorious creative artist and travels the world with his work.
Meet the incredibly talented Ashwin Ramhith and his wife Mogie. You can see some of the creative art work Ashwin has produced on the right of the photo, oh yes and that ‘hammer’ which he made is for use on child rapists, Ashwin says “Just send them to me, I will sort them out”.
Well that about ends blog 17 “the life and times of ‘Buddy and Me’ project 3 and so tomorrow (Monday the 31st January 2011) ‘Buddy and Me’ will be heading slightly in land to Uitenhage. So until next I up-date my blog, keep well, stay safe, keep your feet on the ground but reach for the stars and above all – Keep all children safe!
Before finally signing off, I once again have to give my sincere apologies to Julia for having done such a long blog with so many photos, but unfortunately I had to catch up a week’s blog and so will try very hard to keep your work load down in future.
Caring regards from
‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)
Me’ (Steve Heath)
Please remember I really look forward to receiving emails with comments and opinions from everyone, so keep them coming to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that all comments and opinions on this blog and website are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.