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Tue
28
Jun '11

Blog 37 -Buddy and Me – Project 3 (20th – 26th June 2011)

Posted by Julia

Categories: Buddy and Me

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

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

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

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

To see the ‘Buddy and Me’ scheduled itinerary details see blog 34

To read the shocking details of the Upington horror story regarding the ‘Upington savage paedophile’ see blog 35

Gee it’s great to be ♫On the road again♫ and in-spite of the freezing cold mornings the weather has been very good to ‘Buddy and Me’ with conditions warming up nicely once the sun has had an opportunity to shine, it’s incredible what sunshine can do to get me motivated.

Monday morning found ‘Buddy and Me’ heading out of the Dos Santos’s garden cottage in the direction of Westonaria where I got to spend some time chatting to two very dedicated police ladies, members of the Westonaria SAPS – FCS unit in the form of Florence Molapo and Lucia Montwedi. These two ladies provided me with some astonishing facts concerning the rape, prostitution and general child abuse going on in the townships and informal settlements which are included in the area covered by the Westonaria SAPS – FCS unit.

But first I must tell you that the area is a mighty large one which includes 5 satellite police stations which are serviced by the Westonaria SAPS – FCS unit with 9 townships and informal settlements which house on average around 7 000 people each and this entire vast area is serviced by three FCS members. I would love to know how many traffic cops are employed in this massive area???

I was told that at least 40% of the house holds in the townships and informal settlement areas are headed by children in the 14 – 17 year-old age group who have on average 3 – 5 siblings to raise. Obviously because of the children’s act which forbids child labour, and rightly so, the ‘heads’ of these families use ‘other mean’ of obtaining / ‘earning’ money to feed and clothe themselves and their siblings. Unfortunately the ‘other means’ includes the prostitution of both themselves as well as their siblings who are as young as 4 and 5 years of age.

The thing that I find amazing is the fact that the police and other government institutions, such as the Department of Social Development are fully aware of these practices, but turn a blind eye because “the kids have to survive some how”. (This was not a quotation from the two lady police officials I interviewed, in-fact they are horrified at what is going on in the area, and are desperately seeking a solution to the problem, but was quoted by another staff member of another government department, who in-fact is a social worker!). Other forms of generating income in these child headed homes include the operating of ‘Shabeens’ – illegal pubs/bottle stores and so the abuse of alcohol and drugs is rife, which obviously adds to the problem of the rape and sexual abuse of the children.

As one individual I spoke to, who happens to be employed in a government institution and who is also a social worker, pointed out, “if the kids found proper jobs, be it on local farms or wherever, to generate income, the individuals employing them would be hammered very quickly by the authorities for contravening the Children’s Act”. So according to the authorities it appears, it is better that they participate in the destruction of their siblings lives by prostituting them and allowing them to be abused by drunken savages who rape and sexually abuse them and the small kids rather than work!!

So to Hantie Wagener, the stand in manager of the Beares store in Westonaria, many thanks for arranging the meeting with my guests, which included members of the police as well as social workers in the area

 So meet the staff of Beares Westonaria.

From Westonaria ‘Buddy and Me’ drove the short distance, over the hill, to the other magic little mining town of Fochville. Here I had, apart from others, an intense discussion with an intriguing lady by the name of Annelie van Rooyan who is a social worker employed with the ‘Fochville Social Services’ – an initiative of the ‘Dutch reformed Church’ and Annelie I don’t care what you say about the fact that the word ‘Social Worker’ is used too freely and that the far majority of people using that title do not deserve to use it, because you most certainly do. Annelie confirmed that the abuse of both women and children in the area is extremely bad, and that there is no support structure for abused women and children at all in the area.

She agreed with me that the ‘system’ is letting victims down and that the system it’s self in the form of the government is in-fact guilty of child abuse. She told me of one specific case in which a mother was charged for the severe beating and assault of a very small child, her second offence, and on appearing in court the magistrate asked her if she was “sorry for what she had done” on saying “yes” the case was dismissed and she was given a warning!! Annelie confirmed that social workers and teachers etc are fed up with becoming the ‘baddies’ by reporting child abuse (In accordance with section 54 of Act32/2007 of the Sexual Offences Act) in situations where kids are being severely beaten and abused and the savages perpetrating these abuses are walking away from court without so much as a smack on the wrist.

According to Annalie, the far majority of South Africans, and I agree with her whole heartedly, do not have a clue of what is going on with regard to the rape and sexual abuse of children in South Africa, and generally don’t want to know and in the majority of instances hide their heads in the sand like Ostriches – until it happens to their child and then they scream blue murder and claim that “nobody is doing anything”.

The Beares staff in Fochville really did a sterling job in making my visit to the area a really interesting one, so to the Beares store manager Trudie Shaw and her staff, thank you for going to all the effort to make my visit to Fochville such a good one.

So meet the friendly staff of Beares Fochville (that’s Trudie with the red hair – a fiery ladyJ)

Tuesday morning I bid farewell to my hosts for the weekend,

 Hanntjie and Cisco Dos Santos, and headed for the sparkling clean town of Meyerton. Here thanks to the lovely and friendly Beares Manager Karen Landers who did an outstanding job in arranging for a large group of guests who are all involved in some way or another with providing support to child rape victims, to come to the store to chat to me .

 Amongst the guests were a few staff members of the Thuthuzela Care Centre which has been established (well sort of) at the Kopanong Hospital in Vereeniging. It was also the first time that any Thuthuzela Care Centre had attended a meeting at a Beares store and had their large banner flying high outside the Beares store and were chatting to passer-bys and handing out brochures containing information on the centre.

After a lengthy discussion with my guests in which after providing them with the details of my proposed solution to eradicating the rape and sexual abuse of children from our society, they all agreed that I was definitely on the right track, especially with regard to the proper establishment of the Thuthuzela Care Centres as per my link on this website. So to Karen and her friendly staff at Beares Meyerton,

you have my heartfelt thanks for the amazing job you did in arranging for the very interesting group of guests you got to your store to talk to me. Oh yes, that’s Karen with the blond hair in the picture.

I also got to meet and chat to the staff of the Lubners store in Meyerton, so to these friendly people,

thanks for your friendship and support to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project and words of encouragement.

My visit to the Thuthuzela Care Centre later in the afternoon revealed that unfortunately in-spite of the fact that the staff at the centre are amongst the most dedicated Thuthuzela Care Centre personal I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and the marketing of the centres services to the community as well as the close relationship they have with the local SAPS – FCS unit members is outstanding, the centre is still not providing the essential services and support structures they profess to provide in their glossy brochures on site at the centre.

Hence I still maintain and stand by my belief that the Thuthuzela Care Centres, as they are currently being established, is a total waist of time and money, because the services they are providing is basically the same as those which are being provided by thousands of NGO’s and NPO’s all over South Africa, and the service they should be providing should be a ‘one stop’ point of report service and they should be leaving the post rape services as in on going counselling etc to the NGO’s.

My accommodation for the next three nights, being Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, was arranged by the Round Tablers of Van der Bijl Park at the magnificent Emerald Casino and Hotel, so following the completion of my meetings and information gathering I made haste to the luxury of my latest ‘home’ / accommodation.

 

My next visit was to the township area of Evaton and after meeting and chatting to the Evaton Beares staff

 

 I headed to Vereeniging via the centre of the township. Obviously, as always happens, I was forced to make a few stops and chat to members of the community who were only too happy to chat to me and provide me with their comments and opinions on what needs to be done to eradicate the disgusting crime of child rape from their communities and society in general, and I could not help but wish that our government would take the time to talk to the members of these communities and hear how they believe the death penalty should be implemented for savages raping children.

My visits to the Vereeniging and Vander Bijl Park areas produced probably what must be some of the most fascinating discussions I have had with police officials I have had in a long time. The meetings with these interesting members of the police FCS unit were arranged by the Beares store Managers in the respective towns,

Beares Vereeniging and

Beares Vander Bijl Park. The talks included a few other guests as well who all contributed to making the discussions really interesting ones.

The most interesting aspect of the discussion was surrounding the statistics which the police are required to submit to head quarters which are forwarded to parliament via the minister of police.

The ‘powers that be’ in the police, along with the Minister and other parliamentary members, throw a wobbly, and rightly so, whenever statistics reveal an increase in crime in all areas of South Africa. However what they have failed to identify is the fact that because we are only experiencing a measly 15 – 18% of child rape cases in South Africa being reported, the situation as far as child rape is concerned will have to get much worse, as in the reporting of child rape, before it can get better.

Unfortunately what is currently occurring, is that when a police station commander submits his statistics which reveal an increase in the number of child rape cases occurring in his or her area, the ‘powers that be’ throw a wobbly, when in-fact they should be commending the police in that area because all that has occurred is that the police in that area have done a good job by way of campaigns at schools and in the communities to encourage children and mothers to report child rape.

With this in mind I believe that the statistics concerning the rape and sexual abuse of children should not be read in conjunction with the other statistics of crime and that the police in the areas where child rape reveals an increase in the number of cases reported, these policemen and women should be commended.

I also got to meet and chat to the staff of Lubners in Vereeniging

 and this bunch of friendly individuals provided me with some fascinating comments and opinions on what they believe should be done to eradicate child rape from our society.

The other store I visited is the new Beares store in Van der Bijl Park situated in the Bedworth Centre

 and here I was given the opportunity to chat to a large group including the Beares staff for over an hour and obtained some more fascinating comments and opinions on what needs to be done to stop child rape and after presenting the details of my proposed solution everyone said “YES THAT”S WHAT HAS TO BE DONE!”

My visit to Sasolburg was a particularly enjoyable one, with a studio interview with Karabo Radio (Kfm) with Radebe Jabulani

I also got to visit another Thuthuzela Care Centre which has been established (sort of) at the Metsimaholo District Hospital, which once again, I am sorry to say, even after having been established 8 months ago, is currently a total waist of time and money. This centre operates with 2 staff members and it is marketed on the basis that victims must first go to the police station and then be transported by police vehicle to the centre where in the hospital there is ONE doctor on duty to handle all casualty cases, it was confirmed that it can take hours to get the doctor to undertake the essential J88 forensic examination. The centre has handled a total of approximately 70 cases since its establishment 8 months ago, with 5% being cases of child rape in which the victims were under the age of 12 years of age. The hospital does not have one single forensic nurse!!!

So thanks to the manager and staff of Beares Sasolburg for arranging such an interesting group of people for me to talk to during my visit to Sasolburg

My evening was spent socialising and talking to the members of Round Table of Van der Bijl Park as well as Sasolburg, Vereeniging and Carletonville.

 Me being pinned and presented with the Van der Bijl Park Round Table lapel pin and banner by the Table Chairman Kabous Du Preez.

After the meeting we were joined for a social evening by the Tablers wives, sorry for the poor quality of the photo but it was probably the number of beers I had consumed at that stage that effected the qualityJ

My accommodation for the weekend was hosted in the form of home hosting by the Chairman of Round Table Sasolburg, Thys Human,

 Thys is the guy on the left of the picture and believe me it was really appreciated because other wise I would have had to camp somewhere along the banks of the Vaal river, and believe me it is cold here, so many thanks Thys your friendship and hospitality is sincerely appreciated.

 

Before I sign off I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Cameron Mundy who spent a large portion of Friday night building a new lid for Buddy’s storage box which is situated behind my seat and which totally rotted and broke into pieces.

 Man (Cameron Mundy) and dog after a successful job completed.

Well that about sums up the activities of ‘Buddy and Me’ for the passed week, and I am sure Julia who kindly assists me by converting my sms’d blogs to whatever form is needed to post them onto the website is saying, “and thank heavens for that’ so Julia I am sincerely sorry for the extra long blog and especially for the number of photo’s, but it was a long week with a lot happening, but (once againJ) I will make a concerted effort to reduce the number of photos in the future.

So with that I will bid you farewell for now, so until next I get a chance to write, keep well, stay safe and above all 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 and blogs are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.

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