Nov '09

Day 115: Tuesday, 24 November 2009

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Categories: Buddy and Me

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My new itinerary to the end of the South African leg…. Namibian and Botswana legs to follow shortly.

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:

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

Once again I woke to a beautiful, clear and sunny day. After a scrumptious breakfast I thanked Babsie for her and Johan’s kindness and generosity for sponsoring my nights accommodation at their lovely establishment and if anyone passes through Vryburg and needs comfortable and accommodation you must stop in at The Molopo Travel Inn B&B, you won’t regret it. Here are their contact details: Telephone and fax: 053-927 3466 website:

I thoroughly enjoyed the drive to Kuruman. The weather was tremendous, Buddy was cruising along without a care in the world and the road and countryside was absolutely flat with the landscape dotted with thorn trees.

<i>The countryside stayed like this all the way to Kuruman</i>

The countryside stayed like this all the way to Kuruman

On arriving at the Kuruman Beares store, I phoned the local police and after asking to speak to someone regarding child rape and after being put through to 6 different people, I eventually got through to a Captain Motsaathede who was only too happy for me to pop into the station to chat about the project and the child rape situation in the area. He told me that he had headed up the ‘FCS’ unit up until they were disbanded/closed down in March 2009. The captain confirmed that there are a lot of child rape cases taking place but as usual very few are being reported, mainly due to the fact that, as is occurring everywhere else, the perpetrators are family related.

Then came some really devastating news for me; this was after I asked him if there is any organisation or NGO in Kuruman who provides a support structure for child rape victims, and he told me of an organisation which has recently been established in Kuruman called ‘Thuthuzela Care Centre’ which he said is situated in the Kuruman Hospital. He gave me the name of the guy who I could talk to and without further ado I phoned Matilo at the centre and he agreed to meet me at the facilities in half an hour. So after returning to the Beares store and having a brief chat with the staff I headed for the Kuruman Hospital.

Matilo turned out to be one amazing and interesting guy. He told me that the ‘Thuthuzela Care Centre’ project was initiated by the ‘Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Department’ which is a division within the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). The other stakeholders in the project are; the South African Police Services, the Department of Health as well as the Department of Social Development. The project was started back in 2000 and over the past 9 years a number of care centres have been opened in various areas around South Africa. The centre in Kuruman was only initiated about two months ago and is not fully operational as yet.

The purpose of the centres must be one of South Africa’s best kept secrets, because the centres (TCC’s) have been established as multi-disciplinary care centres to deal with the high levels of sexual violence and abuse of woman and children with specific focus being on rape. The centres are designed to provide professional medical care, counselling and access to dedicated investigation teams and prosecutors, with all of this under one roof and based at the hospitals.

The centres hope to improve the process of reporting and as well as the prosecuting of sex offenders which will be in a dignified and caring manner as well as a caring environment for the victims. According to Matilo, the services which are provided at the centres include:

  • A nurse in the examination room
  • An explanation of how and why the examination will take place
  • What and why certain items of clothing will be taken for evidence
  • A consent form for the doctor to conduct the examination for the completion of the J88 form needed for the court
  • Facilities for a bath or shower after the examination has taken place
  • A specially trained investigator to interview and take the victims statement
  • A specially trained social worker to counsel the victim
  • A nurse to undertake follow-up visits to the victim for treatment and medication for sexually transmitted infections/diseases
  • Arrangements made for long term counselling
  • The survivor is offered transportation home by an ambulance
  • If necessary arrangements are made for the survivor to be placed in a place of safety
  • They provide consultations with a specialist prosecutor before the case goes to court
  • Provide the victim with a an explanation of the outcome of the trial process
  • Access to information on the case

According to Matilo at present these facilities are offered in the areas of:
· Mannenburg in the Western Cape at the G.F. Jooste Hospital
· East London in the eastern cape at the Cecilla Maklawane Hospital
· Umtata in the Eastern Cape at the St Barnabas Hospital
· Soweto in Gauteng at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital
· Kimberly in the Northern Cape

Absolutely fantastic! All I can say is that someone has been sneaking a look at my proposed solution to child rape which I am presenting to Parliament in March, because these centres are exactly what I have been campaigning for and which the country needs. My only problem is why, after 9 years has the public not been made aware of this programme. According to the information provided to me, this initiative was started way back in 2000. I started my campaign in the middle of 2005 and have visited almost every town and city in South Africa and to date have never heard of this programme and on speaking to thousands of people around the country including the police and at hospitals nobody has ever so much as mentioned the Thuthuzela Crisis Centre programme.

Matilo arranged for me to attend a meeting of the Gamagara Crisis Centre (the Kathu municipality is called Gamagara) meeting in Kathu at 2pm today as well as to visit the TCC in Kimberly tomorrow, which I am told was one of the first TCC’c to be established, and so look forward to seeing for myself if what has been described to me as “standard procedure at all TCC’s”, as in the functions and procedures I have listed above, are actually being provided. So watch this space!

After popping back to the Beares store to get a photograph of the staff for my blog, I headed out for Kathu which is 45 kilometres south of Kuruman in a hurry at 1:15 to make the 2pm meeting in Kathu.

<i><b>Beares</b> Kuruman staff, with a few short who were on lunch</i>

Beares Kuruman staff, with a few short who were on lunch

I arrived in Kathu at 1:55pm and was rushed to the meeting place by one of the Beares staff which was in the magistrate’s courts and walked in at 2:05. Fortunately the meeting hadn’t started yet and so I was welcomed in and took a seat. After the chairlady’s greetings and apologies – she was actually standing in for the lady from the Department of Social Development who had I was told, actually convened the meeting but couldn’t attend along with a few other senior individuals of various departments associated with the crisis centre for reason which were not told to us – she proceeded to explain that they are in the process of establishing the Crisis Centre which is specifically aimed at providing sexually abused woman and children with a jacked-up support structure which will involve the police, social development and court structure. This ‘Crisis Centre’ is not actually connected to the TCC’s so obviously my mind was in a bit of a flat spin, “Why go to all this trouble to develop a ‘Crisis Centre” if the government is already establishing state of the art Thuthuzela Centres around the country?” Quite mind boggling but could it maybe be a case of, as usual, one hand not having a clue what the other hand is doing.

Anyway I was introduced to all present and given an opportunity to address the delegates, well those who had actually arrived for the meeting, and received their support to my campaign and confirmation that “It is imperative that we stop child rape and that we cannot afford to continue spending fortunes in damage control”. The meeting was finally closed with a decision to postpone the discussion related to establishing a committee and setting up the constitution for the Crisis Centre until such time as the other stakeholders, to the newly to be established Crisis Centre, can attend a meeting to do this. I emphasise Crisis Centre because evidently the establishment of the centre does not appear to be very much of a crisis to some of the stakeholders because its establishment has been an ongoing story for quite some time, I am told.

On arriving back at the Beares store, Shirley, the stand–in manager gave me the very happy news that the editor of the local newspaper, Judy who had also attended the meeting, had offered to provide me with sponsored accommodation for the night at her B&B called Red Dune B&B, so because I was pretty tired with all the gallivanting around the country and attending meetings, I had a quick chat with the Beares staff and headed for the Red Dune B&B.

<i>The really serious looking bunch of the Kathu <b>Beares</b> staff – I got a smile when I asked them to turn sideways for mug shots, but seriously although they are very serious looking and serious about providing friendly service, they are actually a really friendly bunch</i>

The really serious looking bunch of the Kathu Beares staff – I got a smile when I asked them to turn sideways for mug shots, but seriously although they are very serious looking and serious about providing friendly service, they are actually a really friendly bunch

The other good news I was given by Shirley (Shirley’s the one on the extreme right in the front row) was that Juliana of the Wimpy, which is situated right next door to the Beares store offered me a free meal, half a Peri-Peri chicken, chips and salad for supper. So after getting settled in my room I cleaned up and at 6:30pm headed for the Wimpy and enjoyed one of the best Peri-Peri chickens I have had in a long time.

So that’s all the news I have for today. Tomorrow ‘Buddy and Me’ will be heading for Kimberly, which I am told is 280 kilometres from Kathu, so we will be leaving a little earlier than usual to reach Kimberly by 1pm. So until tomorrow keep well, keep all children safe.

Oh before I sign off, there is one bit of great news I got which I must share with you, but you might have seen her comment on my comment blog. If you read my blog from the weekend in Lichtenburg, you will have seen a picture of a stunning young lady by the name of Nadia sitting in Buddy, who was one of the entrants in the Rapport Top model competition, WELL SHE WON THE COMPETITION HANDS DOWN! Well done Nadia you absolutely deserved the win and good luck with your future career in modelling, I know you will take the world by storm. Here she is again:

<i>That stunning lady and top model for Rapport 2009/2010, <b>Nadia</b></i>

That stunning lady and top model for Rapport 2009/2010, Nadia

So now I can say,

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)

To assist with Buddy’s medical aid (recouping the R9 960.00 spent on repairs to engine and installation of new gearbox, starter motor and front suspension), please make a deposit into the following account:

  Bank: First National
  Branch: Lambton
  Branch code: 251542
  Acc name: Buddy and Me
  Acc number: 622 327 236 78
  Ref: Buddy’s medical aid

All assistance, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated. Any excess collected above the necessary amount, will be donated to the three organisations involved in the project, namely The Teddy Bear Clinic, Bobbi Bear Foundation and The TygerBear Clinic.

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