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Tue
8
Feb '11

Blog 19 – Buddy and Me – Project 3 (3rd – 5th Feb 2011)

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.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

                     

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

My reasoning being:

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

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

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

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

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

 

It’s like ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caring regards from

Buddy (The Beach Buggy)

And

Me (Steve Heath)

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

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

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