Prevalence of paedophilia on Garden Route under spotlight.
The arrest of a Garden Route computer engineer for alleged horrific sex crimes against children and babies has again exposed the dark underbelly of a picturesque region wracked by a litany of paedophile violence and abuse over the past decade.
While police and children’s rights campaigners admit there appears to be a prevalence of sex crimes against children in the region, there is little to indicate an exact cause.
In the latest incident, a 37-yearold Plettenberg Bay man was arrested last week Tuesday during a sting operation by South African and Belgian police.
This arrest comes after investigators discovered a “rape and kill” file on an obscure online meeting place for paedophiles whose fetishes are the rape, torture and murder of newborns and babies.
The man, who on social network platforms described himself as “laid-back and happy” went to school in George.
He is currently out on R10 000 bail with his case postponed to April. Lieutenant Colonel Heila Niemand said strict bail conditions will apply. He may not access any computer or frequent the Plett business where he works. He may also not leave town and has to report to the local police station every Tuesday and Friday.
This just a month after a George father was arrested for allegedly drugging his 12-year-old daughter and six of her friends during sleepovers, raping them and taking photographs.
The 40-year-old man, who cannot be named until he pleads, appeared in the George Magistrate’s Court on Monday and his case continues.
Two weeks before this, local dentist Ian Venter was convicted and sentenced for performing sexual acts on a friend’s 15-yearold son during a sleepover at his luxury Victoria Bay home.
Southern Cape police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie said over the past decade there had been many high-profile cases along the Garden Route.
“It is very difficult to establish the reason,” Pojie said.
Renowned women and children’s rights activist Lesley Ann Forster said although she had noticed the prevalence of sex crimes against children along the Garden Route, it was difficult to establish the reason.
Forster said power and control was one of the biggest contributors. “In many cases it is professionals like doctors and teachers who are the perpetrators.”
Several authority figures in the Garden Route – including teachers – have been arrested in recent months for alleged sex crimes against children.
On April 16 a 64-year-old former Wittedrift High School teacher will appear in the Knysna Magistrate’s Court on charges relating to the alleged sexual assault of his six-year-old granddaughter in August 2012.
Another Garden Route teacher, 52, appeared in court on Monday after allegedly sexually assaulting a 12-year-old pupil at the Fraaisig Primary School in 2013. He denies the charges. Several paedophiles were brought to book in 2012 including a Sedgefield father sentenced to life imprisonment for raping his daughter. The man was 36 years old at the time, his daughter 14.
In Mossel Bay the same year, Samuel Ndzongwana was sentenced to 15 years for raping his 13-year-old stepdaughter.
In 2011 Knysna paedophile Rory McKenna was sentenced to two years’ correctional supervision for the statutory rape of a 15-year-old girl.
The same year former Plettenberg Bay resident Stephen Wooding was sentenced in the Chelmsford Crown Court in the UK to six years’ imprisonment after admitting to more than 30 sexual offences against children.
In 2009 supermarket manager Geoffrey Wolhuter was convicted for indecently assaulting street children in exchange for food and gifts in Plettenberg Bay. He was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment, but was paroled after just 13 months. Wolhuter was stabbed to death in May 2011.
The Plettenberg Bay community is still haunted by the molestation and murder of six-year-old Steven Siebert over Christmas in 2005. Theunis Olivier was convicted of the murder, kidnapping and sexual assault of the boy who was on holiday with his parents from Randburg.
Steven was playing outside two days before Christmas when Olivier lured him to his home and sodomised him. Olivier strangled him with a telephone cord and hid the little boy’s body in a cupboard before dumping his body in a bushy area near his home.
Olivier was sentenced to life imprisonment in August 2007.
– Yolande Stander