The Lost Boys of Bird Island co-author Chris Steyn asked fresh questions surrounding the death of Mark Minnie, which is believed to be a suicide, at the Open Book Festival held in Cape Town on Sunday morning.
While Steyn did believe Minnie himself pulled the trigger, she didn’t think it was a standard suicide, saying “there was something that made him do it”.
Steyn’s theory was that Minnie’s children were threatened. She said that Minnie was anti-suicide and spoke out against his ex-partner’s attempt on her own life, which angered him because of how it would have affected the children.
Steyn, therefore, concluded that Minnie would not have killed himself unless coerced into it in some way. “He may have received an ultimatum,” she said, saying that Minnie was terrified of losing his children.
Journalist Maygene de Wee, also a guest on the panel at the book festival, said Minnie wanted the book out, echoing Steyn’s assertion that this was no straight-forward suicide.
“He was a man who looked forward to the day,” Steyn said. “He was happy to be alive. There must be more to his death. He was worried for his daughters.”
Minnie and Steyn’s book, The Lost Boys of Bird Island, exposes an alleged paedophile ring, implicating two powerful apartheid officials and a businessman.
Since its release, some of former minister Magnus Malan’s former colleagues as well as a former newspaper editor have rejected the book’s claims of the apartheid politicians’ involvement in the sexual abuse.
The book tells of “fishing excursions” organised by Malan, wealthy businessman and police reservist Dave Allen – who died in an apparent suicide at the age of 37 – and National Party environmental affairs minister John Wiley – who also died at 80 by alleged suicide weeks after Allen was found dead with similar gunshot wounds to the head.
On these “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 sexually abused.
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 most powerful men in the country, possibly second only to then president PW Botha.
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.
While last week investigative journalist and author Jacques Pauw published a scathing review calling the facts in the expose into question, Steyn was quick to respond, saying that Pauw had not read the book carefully enough.
She concluded: “Believe me, for the sake of those boys, I have always wished it were not true.”