Police revive Bird Island cold case

The Lost Boys of Bird Island‚ a book by former policeman Mark Minnie and ex-journalist Chris Steyn
The Lost Boys of Bird Island‚ a book by former policeman Mark Minnie and ex-journalist Chris Steyn

Police are investigating the cold case of an alleged paedophile ring linked to apartheid-era politicians.

Tafelberg Publishers released a book on the allegations earlier this year.

“The police opened an investigation‚ led by the Western Cape head of the Family Violence Unit‚ Brigadier Sonja Harri. Several people with knowledge of the alleged paedophile ring have given valuable information to the police‚” the publishers said on Tuesday.

Tafelberg published The Lost Boys of Bird Island‚ co-authored by former policeman Mark Minnie and journalist Chris Steyn.

“A number of victims have come forward and have given written statements of alleged sexual abuse related to the allegations in the book‚” the publisher said.

The Lost Boys of Bird Island implicated high-ranking National Party cabinet ministers and a businessman in the abuse of young boys during the 1980s.

It alleged that members of former president PW Botha’s cabinet‚ including former defence minister Magnus Malan and former environmental affairs minister John Wiley‚ were involved in child sex orgies‚ along with former police reservist and businessman Dave Allen.

Tafelberg Publishers spoke to the police on September 6 about new information.

“The author (Steyn) has been obtaining permission from sources to share their identities with the police‚ and she has also been convincing people to make statements and give affidavits.”

Tafelberg claims Steyn has been intimidated several times.

“Despite this‚ Steyn has continued investigating and following up on leads. She has co‐operated fully with the police probe from the start.”

Brigadier Novela Potelwa on Wednesday confirmed that there was a police investigation.

“Out of respect for the process as well as the subjects of this probe‚ details at this stage cannot be divulged. An experienced detective in matters of this nature has been assigned to lead the investigation as this case is accorded the status that similar cases get.”

Tafelberg Publishers said the Foundation for Human Rights is also investigating allegations‚ including Minnie’s alleged suicide.

“The foundation briefed a forensic expert to examine Minnie’s body in order to determine the circumstances around his death. The finding of the forensic expert was inconclusive.”

Minnie‚ 58‚ was found dead on August 13 with a gunshot wound to the head on a smallholding in Port Elizabeth.

“Chrissy‚ don’t give up now‚” Minnie wrote to Steyn in what he called his “last piece of writing”. 

“The pitiful cries of the lost boys of Bird Island have haunted me for the past 31 years. At last their story is out. Chrissy‚ don’t give up now. You are almost home. No government officials preventing you from investigating this time round.”

Steyn said in September she believed Minnie had committed suicide.

“I accepted very quickly that he had pulled the trigger himself. He did shoot himself but Mark was anti-suicide.” 

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