Bird Island, near Port Elizabeth, in 1980s was the scene of “fishing excursions” by apartheid government officials. The men were always accompanied by young boys, and a book coming out today reveals why: the boys were given food and booze just before they would be abused in sex orgies.
The boys were flown out on helicopters belonging to the then SA Defence Force (SADF), and the connection becomes clear once one understands that one of the men implicated in this elite ring of paedophiles was the minister of defence, a man who was at the time one of the powerful men in the country, possibly second only to then president PW Botha.
Former defence minister General Magnus Malan died of a heart attack in 2011, aged 81, about 17 years before the allegations against him would surface. The delay in this exposé is thanks to efforts by allied government officials who ensured that this information would not leak out into the public.
But after 30 years of relentless investigations in the face of frustrated efforts, former narcotics branch policeman Mark Minnie and investigative journalist Chris Steyn will see their explosive book hit the shelves today.
The book, The Lost Boys of Bird Island, tells of “fishing excursions” organised by former minister Malan, wealthy businessman and police reservist Dave Allen – who died by “suicide” at the age of 37 – and National Party environmental affairs minister John Wiley – who also died at 80 by “suicide” weeks after Allen was found dead with similar gunshot wounds to the head.
According to the book, the boys were mostly coloured and the rest white, and they were in their early teens. In one gruesome incident, a coloured boy was critically injured when Malan, according to sources, stuck a pistol up the boy’s anus and fired a shot. The child was secretly taken to the white side of a government hospital, guarded by men in suits. Family members and hospital staff were paid to keep quiet.
Bird Island was not the only location where these orgies took place, as other locations include Allen’s house in Schoenmakerskop near Port Elizabeth and a beach house in Witelsbos in the Tsitsikamma forest.
Steyn’s sources include a retired cop and two army personnel.
Minnie says his information came straight from Allen. The former policeman was fed information by a young white boy who had been hospitalised with injuries in his lower limbs, and after arresting Allen, the wealthy businessman confessed to the sexual abuse and gave the names of his associates.
Allen was due to appear in court the following day when his body was found on the beach in Schoenmakerskop. Wiley was also found dead in his home in Cape Town a few weeks later. The strange deaths were ruled suicides, but the book’s authors point to contradictions and conflicting evidence as clues that the “suicides” may have been hits, allegedly paid for by Malan and carried out by members of a security branch.