Jacques Pauw, the man who dished the dirt on South Africa’s current corrupt dealings, has had his say on the allegations contained in The Lost Boys of Bird Island, the controversial book co-authored by Chris Steyn and the now deceased Mark Minnie.
Having watched The President’s Keepers become the best-selling book in South African history (if its ebooks sales are counted), Pauw knows full well that taking aim at prominent and powerful South Africans comes with repercussions.
Despite being somewhat sympathetic towards Steyn (who recently came out swinging against allegations that she was lying by former police commissioner General Johan van der Merwe), Pauw didn’t hold back when talking about Minnie.
In his review for News24, published earlier today, he said that much of the book doesn’t make sense, and even accused the book of containing lies.
If you don’t have time to read the full News24 piece, which is hefty, the Citizen have a summary, in itself pretty lengthy:
…the allegation that boys had been flown to Bird Island in helicopters to be raped was, in the first place questionable because “there were simply too many eyes and it would have attracted too much attention”. He also said, based on a report by forensic scientist Dr David Klatzow, that Minnie’s death was more than likely a suicide and not a hit…
Pauw wrote: “I have serious problems with the integrity of especially Minnie. Judged on his account of his investigation, Minnie is no hero. He was a sloppy, negligent and careless policeman that botched his own investigation.” Pauw criticised Minnie for portraying himself as a fictional Benny Griessel-type (from Deon Meyer’s crime novels).
He accused him of having flouted numerous police rules in the way he’d allegedly taken testimony from an alleged young victim of Malan’s in the 1980s who was supposedly shot in the anus while being penetrated by a pistol.
He accused Minnie of having done nothing to protect the victim from further harm, as he would have been obligated to do as a policeman.
After further examples of areas and instances where he believes Minnie came up short, he turned his attention to Steyn:
He also slammed co-author Chris Steyn, whose assumptions about the workings of the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) apartheid death squad did not ring true for him. He criticised her for not declaring in the book that she had married a former CCB commander, Lieutenant Colonel Eeben Barlow, a man who had admitted to killing enemies of the apartheid state.
Pauw also questioned why Steyn apparently continued to protect the identity of the surgeon who had treated the wounded child Minnie claimed he saw in hospital.
“The lost boys deserved better but there is virtually no detail of the events that took place.”
He said he remained hopeful that at least some of the allegations in the book might prove to be true because of the involvement of journalist Marianne Thamm in its publishing. She has defended the contents.
He also acknowledged that the Human Rights Commission was investigating the allegations “and one can only hope that they come up with something more substantial than what Steyn and Minnie dished us”.
Given how strongly Steyn came out against former police commissioner General Johan van der Merwe, we should probably expect some form of rebuttal.
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