Posted by Julia
Categories: Buddy and Me
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The PROPOSAL TO THE PRESIDENT for your perusal.
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The ‘Buddy and Me’ visit to Uitenhage on Monday the 31st January 2011 proved to be a real eye opener for me. Following my visit to the Beares store where I was given the opportunity to chat with a group of kids from a local school as well as Warrant Officer Gerda Swart of the local constabulary, the local Councillor CL/R Oliver T Xube and a few other guests, I got to visit the ‘Rape Crisis Centre – Cosmos Centre, which is based at the Provincial/Regional Hospital.
But first let me show you the group of guests who were on hand at the Beares store in Uitenhage.
The Beares manager, Gail Ferreira, dressed all in black, had her hands full dealing with the police and the other protocol needed to deal with a break-in the store had experienced in the early hours of the morning before I arrived at the store. So Gail you have my heartfelt thanks for everything you did to make Buddy’s and my visit to your friendly store such a pleasant one.
From the Beares store ‘Buddy and Me’ headed for the Provincial Hospital where we were blown-away with what we saw at the ‘Rape Crisis Centre’ also called the ‘Cosmos Centre’ on the hospital premises.
On arriving in the reception area I was really impressed with the cleanliness and professional appearance of the centre. I was told that the man who was instrumental in establishing the centre is Warrant Officer Smit, who started the centre way back in the late 1980’s, or so I am told, because unfortunately he was on leave at the time of my visit and so I could not get to meet and talk to him personally. I did get to meet and chat to another dedicated individual who has been based at the centre for a number of years, Sergeant Khan who provided me with some astounding information on how the centre operates, and I was floored to discover that the centre is the closest thing I have come across in my travels around South Africa to the ‘One–Stop’ support facility’s I believe are needed to encourage mothers to report the rape of their children.
Meet two of the dedicated staff of the ‘Rape Crisis Centre – Cosmos Centre’ of Uitenhage, Sergeant Khan (The man) and Constable Booysens standing in-front of him.
I did however have one concern and that is, in the reception area there is a document fixed to the wall and it reads as follows:
Paragraph 5 reads: “All sexual assault victims arriving at the hospital should: Be encouraged to have the examination done even if she/he does not intend reporting the case to the police, in-case she/he changes her/his mind later on”.
My concern is, as I have said before in my blogs, the ‘Sexual Offences Act 32 – 2007’ clearly states that “Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually assaulted, and fails to report such rape is guilty of an offence”. With this in mind I sincerely hope the centre enforces this aspect of the legislation and ensures that the mothers of children who have been raped and who make use of the units facilities proceed with the case and do not allow her, as so often happens, to not proceed with a case against the rapists, even if he is the father, uncle or other family member. Unfortunately with Warrant Officer Smit not on hand I could not get clarity on this point, but well done to the police in Uitenhage and especially Warrant officer Smit for his dedication and foresight in establishing a really great support unit for victims of child rape and domestic violence. As I said earlier, the centre is the closest I have come to seeing a support structure established in the manner I believe they should be established and is almost exactly how the Thuthuzela Care Centres should be established at every Provincial and Regional Hospital around South Africa, if our government is serious about stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa.
From Uitenhage I headed for Cape St Francis where I intended camping for the next two nights in the lovely Cape St Francis Resort. As usual I nearly got blown off the road between Humansdorp and Cape St Francis but made it there in one piece, or rather two pieces ‘Buddy and Me’
The evening was spent ‘jamming’ with a few hooligans who support the local pub called ‘Stix’ which is situated directly across the road from the ‘Cape St Francis Resort’ and the biggest hooligan of the lot, the band being a six piece band, is the owner of ‘Stix’ Alex Lennox, no not ‘Annie Lennox of Roxette fame, he doesn’t sing anything like she does. But the guys were generous enough, or perhaps had had enough ‘fluids’ in them, to allow me to jam with them for a few numbers.
That’s hooligan number one – Alex Lennox – (with the band) in the black T shirt looking like he’s lost, and with the red and black guitar making a lot of noise on my right.
Following the ‘jam cession/band practice’, we headed for ‘Stix’ where the ‘progress’ of the band was discussed in earnest.
This is ‘serious’ band talk, where the band is going, etc, etc, etc, a comment was made, straight down hill, but honestly they are truly very accomplished musicians and I believe they have a great future as musicians. The incredible thing is that all their music is self written, and is amazing stuff. So good luck guys I know South Africa, and who knows maybe the world, will soon be hearing your stuff. If I remember correctly the bands name is ‘The neighbourhood Watch’ or was it ‘The village Idiots’? Alex if you ever get to read my blog please let me know?
Tuesday (1st February – the first month of 2011 has already flown past) was spent with the staff of the Beares and Lubners stores in Humansdorp, which is 23 kilometres away from cape St Francis towards the N2 highway. I had a long and serious talk at the stores and got some interesting feed back from the staff and guests. Of course the important thing I learnt is that the rape and sexual abuse of children in the area is happening on a daily basis and that there is no FCS unit, in other words, trained police officials, to deal with the problem, response to complaints of child rape are dealt with by the FCS unit based in Port Elizabeth, which is about 100 kilometres away?
The amazing thing, and I have mentioned this a couple of times in my blogs, and in particular blog number 2, is the fact that there are 76 traffic cops employed in the Humansdorp area and almost every single one has a smart traffic-cop car, usually parked on the road side waiting to pounce on a driver who has not complied with some misdemeanour traffic offence while some savage is busy raping a child and there is no SAPS member to attend to the case. You cannot drive down a street without a traffic cop being present, yet there is not a single FCS unit SAPS member in Humansdorp, and the FCS unit members in Port Elizabeth told me that “They do not have transport to attend to child rape cases occurring in the ‘satellite’ stations”, Humansdorp being one of them. And then we wonder why child rape is occurring at a rate of an average of 580 a day in South Africa and we have a pathetic conviction rate averaging at between 4 and 6%.
Meet the really friendly staff of Beares and Lubners Humansdorp, as usual these people made my visit to Humansdorp a memorable one, thanks guys.
I took a drive through the settlement which is situated between St Francis Bay and Cape St Francis where I chattered to a few of the local women and was told, and you need to know the accent of the Cape Coloured to appreciate this, “Nay master, this terrible thing is happening here and everywhere. They need to do something ‘heavy’ to stop these swine’s molesting our children, they damaging our society badly”. Although it’s sad to hear these women talking about the rape and sexual abuse of children, it always brings a smile to my face when I hear them talk in that guttural accent, a language all on its own.
I also took a drive through the ‘ghost town’ of St Francis Bay where one can see where ‘all the money is hidden’ in South Africa. These ‘Holiday homes’ are incredible, they are mostly all positioned on the water channels and when one drives through this area out of season you don’t see a living sole, but I believe in the peak seasons the place is abuzz.
Mmmm I think I could lower my standards and live in one of these, and there are literally hundreds of them?
Oh and here is where I stayed in cape St Francis.
for a bit of sport during the peak season, the yachts are waiting for them, at between R350 000-00 (+- 50 000 US Dollars) and R600 000-00 (+- 85 000 US Dollars) per MOORING!
Well I had a quiet evening trying to get my blog up to date and thinking about tomorrows visit to the beautiful Storms River area and my intended stay in luxury at the Protea Tsitsikamma Village Hotel, sponsored by Protea Hotels. So until I get a chance to up-date my blog, keep well, stay safe and yep you got it, keep all children safe!
Caring regards from
‘Buddy (The Beach Buggy)
Me’ (Steve Heath)
Please send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org and if you would like to participate in the Natasha Sukdeo petition to stop the savage you brutally raped and murdered her from being released on parole (See blog 10 for details) please email me requesting the petition, we need to stop these savages from ever being released from prison.
Please note that the comments and opinions on this website and blogs are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.