‘Lost Boys’ co-au­thor wel­comes probe

The Sunday Independent - - FRONT PAGE - BULELWA PAYI bulelwa.payi@inl.co.za

IN­VES­TIGA­TIVE jour­nal­ist and coau­thor of The Lost Boys of Bird Is­land,

Chris Steyn, has wel­comed the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the apartheid-era pae­dophile ring al­legedly in­volv­ing for­mer cabi­net min­is­ters.

Steyn said she hoped it would give peo­ple courage to share painful and guilty se­crets.

The book con­tains de­tails of al­leged sex­ual as­saults of mostly coloured boys by the top brass of the Na­tional Party, in­clud­ing for­mer De­fence Force head Mag­nus Malan, en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs min­is­ter Mark Wi­ley, and busi­ness­man Dave Allen. The three are now dead, but an­other for­mer min­is­ter who was al­legedly in­volved is still alive.

Co-au­thor and for­mer po­lice­man Mike Min­nie, who knew the per­pe­tra­tors, was found dead two weeks af­ter the ex­plo­sive al­le­ga­tions were made.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the al­leged in­ci­dents, dat­ing back to the 1980s, is be­ing headed by Bri­gadier Sonja Harri, the head of the Western Cape Fam­ily Vi­o­lence, Child Pro­tec­tion and Sex­ual Of­fences Unit.

Harri has more than 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence and has helped solve many high-pro­file cases.

“I know that she is work­ing very hard on this case. Peo­ple who have had deal­ings with her trust her and re­gard her as some­body with in­tegrity,” Steyn said.

The Foun­da­tion for Hu­man Rights is also in­volved in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Steyn said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion cov­ered all the al­le­ga­tions con­tained in the book, as well as those made by peo­ple who had come for­ward since its pub­li­ca­tion.

“I am so grate­ful that the po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case prop­erly for the first time… I think the po­lice should be given time and space to do their work – re­gard­less of how long it takes. Be­cause of the sen­si­tiv­ity of this in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the historic na­ture of the al­leged crimes, I think it could take some time,” Steyn added.

She said the in­quiry would also give other peo­ple courage to share their “painful and guilty se­crets”.

“I have al­ready started re­ceiv­ing very im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion on a cou­ple of other un­solved cases. I am busy fol­low­ing up those leads.”

She also ap­pealed to peo­ple with knowl­edge of any historic case in­volv­ing al­le­ga­tions of pae­dophile rings or child traf­fick­ing to share in­for­ma­tion at birdis­land2018@gmail.com

“Don’t pro­tect pae­dophiles with your si­lence,” she urged.

Chris Steyn

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