Writer lauds po­lice probe

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - BULELWA PAYI

THE jour­nal­ist and co-au­thor of the con­tro­ver­sial book, The Lost Boys of Bird Is­land, has wel­comed an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the apartheid pae­dophile ring in­volv­ing cabi­net min­is­ters.

Chris Steyn said she hoped it would give peo­ple courage to share painful and guilty se­crets for the first time in decades.

The book con­tains de­tails of al­leged sex­ual as­saults of mostly coloured boys by the top brass of for­mer Na­tional Party, in­clud­ing for­mer South African De­fence Force head Mag­nus Malan, for­mer en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs min­is­ter John Wi­ley and busi­ness­man Dave Allen.

The three are now dead, but an­other for­mer cabi­net min­is­ter who was al­legedly in­volved is still alive.

Co-au­thor and for­mer po­lice­man Mike Min­nie, who knew the names of the al­leged per­pe­tra­tors, was found dead two weeks af­ter the 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 al­le­ga­tion con­tained in the book, as well as al­le­ga­tions made by peo­ple who had come for­ward with in­for­ma­tion since the book’s 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 said the in­quiry could also give other peo­ple the courage to share their “painful and guilty se­crets” for the first time in decades.

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

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

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

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