‘Bird Is­land’ co-author wel­comes apartheid pae­dophile ring probe

Sunday Tribune - - METRO - BULELEWA PAYI bulelwa.payi@inl.co.za

IN­VES­TIGA­TIVE jour­nal­ist and coau­thor of the con­tro­ver­sial book The

Lost Boys of Bird Is­land Chris Steyn has wel­comed the top in­ves­ti­ga­tion an­nounced into the apartheid pae­dophile ring in­volv­ing Cab­i­net min­is­ters, say­ing 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 coloured boys by a ring, in­clud­ing for­mer South African de­fence min­is­ter Mag­nus Malan, en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs min­is­ter Mark Wi­ley and busi­ness­man Dave Allen.

The three are now dead, but an­other for­mer Cab­i­net min­is­ter who was al­legedly in­volved is still alive and his name, al­though men­tioned to the au­thors, was not in­cluded.

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 she co-au­thored with for­mer po­lice­men Mark Min­nie, as well as al­le­ga­tions made by peo­ple who had come for­ward with in­for­ma­tion since the book’s pub­li­ca­tion.

“I am so grate­ful the po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the case prop­erly for the first time… They 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.”

She said the in­quiry would also give other peo­ple courage to share their “painful or 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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