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Thu
28
Jan '10

Day 142: Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Posted by steve@buddyandme.co.za

Categories: Buddy and Me

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My full new itinerary including Namibia and Botswana to the end of the tour (19 May 2010).

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)

My visit to the Nigel Beares was an interesting one. The last time I visited the store, which was on the 3rd March 2006, on my arrival in the town a bank robbery was in progress at the ABSA bank which is situated about 100 metres from the Beares store. The roads had been cordoned off and there were police everywhere. Today was an entirely different situation; the town was as quiet as a grave yard.

The Beares store manager was on leave but she had made arrangements for me to meet some really interesting people. One in particular was a lady by the name of Zeenith Domingo who is one of the big wheels with the Department of Community Safety in the Duduza Regional Victims support office. She expressed some really great concerns about the fact that the department of Social development and welfare is totally under capitalised and that there are no funds available to assist the victims of child rape or the victims and families affected by domestic violence.

Another interesting person in the discussion group was a registered nurse with the Molarthela Mgwenya Community Health Centre, Margaret Rubisane who confirmed that they are conducting many abortions on kids in the 12 to 14 age group, and this goes along with my comments in previous blog’s regarding the ridiculous situation that according to our government, the age of consent for sex is 16, but their message to our children is that “If you do partake in sexual activities when you are under the age of 16 and fall pregnant, you can legally have an abortion without telling your parents or obtaining their permission.

One fact which became very apparent during the discussion was the fact that there are far too many NGO’s and other government organisations scattered around the country all supposedly available to provide support to child rape victims and victims of domestic violence, but when I ask them how many cases of child rape they deal with on an average month the answer is always “Very few”?

Present at the discussion was also a large group of kids from a local nursery school and some of them were initially scarred out of their wits by the large Beares Teddy Bear, but after awhile got quite cocky with him and thoroughly enjoyed the outing.

<i><b>Beares</b> staff, guests and the kids</i>

Beares staff, guests and the kids

<i>And of course Buddy couldn’t be left out of the action</i>

And of course Buddy couldn’t be left out of the action

While talking to my guests it had started to rain, but not just rain, it poured, but fortunately by the time it was time for me to bid everyone farewell the rain had stopped and so my drive to Heidelberg was a reasonably dry one.

The manager of the Beares Heidelberg store had arranged for yet another very interesting group of individuals for me to talk to and one of them was Inspector Christine De Beer of the SAPS unit of Heidelberg who confirmed that there is no ‘FCS’ unit in Heidelberg and confirmed that the ‘FCS’ unit was officially disbanded in March 2009. According to her, when the ‘FCS’ unit was disbanded each station was supposed to receive at least one qualified and trained member from the ‘FCS’ as in trained to be able to handle the investigation of child rape cases, but unfortunately Heidelberg station did not receive one!

One of the guests who really annoyed me was a man by the name of Percy Mathivhog (Not sure if that is the correct spelling of his name) who is the Senior Public Prosecutor in the NPA in the Regional Court. When asked what he believed needed to be done to stop the raping of children (as in children aged between birth and 12 years of age) his comment was that, trying to change the law or implement systems such as those I was proposing, and making government change their ways is a total waste of time. According to him, if we want to stop children being raped we should educated our children and ensure that they do not succumb to the demands and ‘bribes’ of men and stop accepting money and sweets for favours of sex.

When I asked how do we educate children such as the youngest rape victim I have held in my arms, which was 1 day old and the worst case of rape I have seen, which was an eight month old baby who had been raped by her own biological father and died three days later from her shocking injuries, he declined to comment but stuck to his guns about educating the children rather than changing the mindset of the savages raping children by implementing deterrent punishments, such as death penalties or harsh imprisonment sentences. I must admit that I have met a few really great individuals in our justice department employed as Senior Public Prosecutors who thoroughly deserve their positions and who are doing amazing jobs, but I’m afraid Percy is definitely not one of them.

There was a heck of a lot more discussed by this intriguing group but to mention it all will take a while and I don’t have that much time on this blog. The discussion started at 1:15 and finished at a quarter to 4 in the afternoon so you can imagine how much was discussed.

<i>Guests at the Heidelberg <b>Beares</b> store</i>

Guests at the Heidelberg Beares store

<i><b>Beares</b> staff Heidelberg with the Regional manager, Johan Nel front left</i>

Beares staff Heidelberg with the Regional manager, Johan Nel front left

So tomorrow ‘Buddy and Me’ have the day off, I need to have Buddy serviced and get him ready for the long haul south through the Kwa-Zulu Natal midlands and then on to Cape Town where we are due to arrive in roughly two months time.

So until Friday when we visit the Standerton area, I will say goodbye and of course keep all children safe.

Caring regards from
Buddy and Me (Steve Heath)
steve@buddyandme.co.za

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