Barend du Plessis’ first encounter with the dire consequences of the book of
“The Lost Boys of Bird Island” was on Sunday 5 August 2018 when Media24’s Sunday
newspaper “Rapport” published on its front page an article labelling former Ministers
Gen. Magnus Malan and Mr. John Wiley, as well as a “Third Minister”, whose name had
been withheld on “legal advice”, as paedophiles. Seven months later, Rapport apologised
unconditionally for the article.
With the consent of Media24’s attorney, Willem de Klerk, the book described the
“Third Minister” as follows: He was still alive, had a holiday home on the Eastern
Cape coastline, had visited Bird Island in 1987 (on a fishing trip together with
his two deceased colleagues and other guests) and was in the final run when a
successor to President PW Botha was elected.
That “Third Minister” could only have been Barend du Plessis and none other. On
that Sunday and thereafter, he received hundreds of messages from people who
immediately had recognised him from the article, expressing complete disbelief
and disgust with the article.
In an interview with Rapport of the following Sunday, 12 August 2018, Barend du
Plessis confirmed that he was the only person that could fit the description of
“The Third Minister” and rejected with contempt, any suggestion that he was a paedophile.
Successive variations of the draft manuscripts of the book reveal how Mark Minnie
and Chris Steyn, the authors of “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”, lavishly and
opportunistically embellished the text by fabricating fictitious “events”, to serve their storyline.
They were allowed these fictions of their imagination by Media24’s Publishing Editor,
Maryna Lamprecht, undoubtedly with the consent of her immediate superior(s) and her
advisor, Marianne Thamm, from the Daily Maverick.
Barend du Plessis forthrightly asserts that to him, paedophilia was the single most
repulsive and despicable crime imaginable and wholeheartedly shared society’s unqualified
condemnation of that criminal aberration.
Barend du Plessis’ obvious and immediate consideration was suing the authors and
Directors of Media24 and Naspers for defamation.
He consulted Dr Koos van der Merwe, a senior and experienced practicing attorney and together,
they consulted senior counsel. The outcome was that du Plessis simply did not have the money
or resources to take a colossus like Naspers or any of its subsidiaries to court for defamation,
regardless of the merits of his case.
The Media24 and Naspers Directors simply would have instructed their counsel to obstruct and
delay the course of the trial up to the depletion of du Plessis’ material and physical resources.
On 13 August 2018, only days after the launching of the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”,
Mark Minnie was found shot dead on his friend’s farm near Port Elizabeth.
His co-author Chris Steyn, immediately proclaimed, as she still does, that Minnie had been
assassinated, either by a certain individual himself, or by a person instructed by him to do so,
in order to prevent further imminent revelations by Minnie, of paedophilia evidence against
certain individuals. Shortly afterwards, this false pronouncement was officially proven as
yet another of her fabrications.
Steyn also opportunistically immediately tried to grab the centre stage on all available
media, by claiming that Minnie had bought a rope, not as a possible means of suicide, but
on that Monday morning to return to Tsitsikamma, where he had been with Media24’s
Maygene de Wee on a visit to Witelsbos,
to burgle a house and look for evidence of paedophilia activities. Yet another of her fabrications!
The Foundation for Human Rights immediately briefed and appointed the internationally
renowned Forensic Scientist Dr David Klatzow to determine how Minnie had died and also
to establish the truth about the false allegations in the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”,
that the three ministers mentioned had been part of a paedophile ring in Port Elizabeth.
Like Dr Klatzow had done before when investigating events with potentially criminal
implications, he again invited Wouter de Swardt, well-known Cape Town-based
Private Forensic Investigator, to assist him. The Foundation of Human Rights duly
appointed Wouter de Swardt to do the investigations into Minnie’s death and
the alleged paedophile ring.
After the State Pathologist had completed his prescribed procedures, Dr Klatzow
could carry out his investigation, with de Swardt assisting him.
Both the State Pathologist and Dr Klatzow found that Minnie had died from a
self-inflicted handgun wound to his forehead.
Dr Klatzow returned to Cape Town and filed his report from there. De Swardt
stayed behind for eleven days, carrying out his forensic investigations into
Minnie’s death and the alleged paedophile ring.
In his Investigative Report to the Foundation,
de Swardt concluded that there was no evidence at all that any of the three former Ministers mentioned
in the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”, had been involved in a paedophile
ring and that he had unearthed forensic proof that Minnie had planned his own suicide.
It is of telling interest that after more than 30 years since the alleged crimes
and nearly two years since the book was published, NOT A SINGLE WITNESS OR VICTIM
HAS COME FORWARD to testify. After nearly two years of investigation by the SAPS
Special Child Protection unit led by high-ranking officers, they too have not
found a single piece of evidence or witness or victim.
Wouter de Swardt submitted his report to the Foundation on 18 September 2018.
Wouter de Swardt is known for his decades’ long highly successful career as a
professional forensic investigator, dedicated to establishing facts that determine
the truth in many varieties of criminal matters. He did so in his in-depth
investigation and report into the death of Mark Minnie and the accusations
against the three former Ministers in the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”,
Barend du Plessis and the late Magnus Malan and John Wiley.
Towards the end of November 2018, Barend du Plessis heard rumours that a copy of de Swardt’s
report had been leaked to the media. He then obtained a copy of it. By early April 2019,
media started reporting on the report, rendering it public information.
On 19 April 2019, Jacques Pauw – renowned and respected reporter and author – wrote an authoritative article in
‘’Die Vrye Weekblad” about his own findings and opinion of the book.
The article categorically dismissed the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” and its contents as rubbish and lies.
On 14 January 2019, Barend du Plessis and Dr Koos van der Merwe decided to approach and invite
Wouter de Swardt, whom neither of them had met before, to meet them in Pretoria to discuss
the report and his findings. De Swardt accepted the invitation and arrived in Pretoria on 17 January 2019.
Wouter de Swardt described the accusations of paedophilia against the three former Ministers
in the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” as a vicious injustice to them and their heritage.
He committed himself to doing everything in his power towards setting the record straight
and bringing the perpetrators of the fraudulent publication to book.
Wouter de Swardt suggested that the matter regarding the book, “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”,
be pursued further in Cape Town, where Media24 and its book-publishing entity are based and
that a well-known to him, outstanding, dynamic and out-of-the-box thinking
attorney in Cape Town, Johan Victor, be approached to lead the charge.
Johan Victor had an impressive record of success on behalf of victims against the arrogance of
large corporations and their belligerent attitude towards any opposition
from persons adversely affected by their actions.
Johan Victor’s reaction when approached in January 2019 to represent Barend du Plessis, was
enthusiastically in the affirmative. He said that from the beginning of the saga regarding the book
“The Lost Boys of Bird Island” he had been outraged by the repulsive contents of the book as reported
in the media and the objectionable treatment that befell Barend du Plessis and his two deceased former
colleagues at the hands of the publishers.
After requests by the Malan and Wiley families, Johan Victor extended his
representation to also include them.
Johan Victor’s correspondence and actions against the Directors of Media24
and Naspers are contained in the highly informative The Legal Content Tab.
It provides testimony to his unique, brilliant and innovative way of
dealing with injustices committed to vulnerable people.
On 11 March 2020, Johan Victor made his revealing findings and submissions
public in an “Open Letter
to Koos Bekker” and his co-Directors of Media24
and Naspers, challenging their unjust and clumsy handling of the consequences
of the fraudulent fabrications in their book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”.
Significantly, without resorting to court action, Johan Victor succeeded in
getting Media24 / Naspers to withdraw the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”
from all its platforms on (date) and to apologise to the three former Ministers.
Since January 2019 Wouter de Swardt succeeded in locating crucial witnesses
from the following persons mentioned in the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”
and obtained sworn affidavits, completely dismissing references to them and
conversations with them, as reflected in the book, as fabricated fiction and untrue:
Adv Johan Scott former Senior State Prosecutor in Port Elizabeth who, according to Minnie’s
allegation in the book instructed him to stop investigating the docket against the ministers.
Adv Scott’s affidavit
confirmed that neither a docket nor an investigation into a “paedophile ring”
ever existed. Clearly another Minnie-fabrication.
William Hart AKA Tommy Case,
closely associated with late David Allen, who committed suicide a
day after his arrest by co-author Mark Minnie for possession of pornography, NOT paedophilia as the book claimed;
Dr Andy Hillock
, former surgeon at a hospital in Port Elizabeth who, according to Minnie and
Steyn’s allegations in the book performed surgery on a coloured boy who allegedly had been shot in
the anus during an orgy with paedophiles. Yet another fabrication.
In addition, Wouter De Swardt was instrumental in obtaining another four crucially important affidavits
referred to in The Witnesses tab.
Altogether, these sworn statements and related information conclusively invalidated
all of the key fabrications, lies, falsehoods and “events” as well as the slanderous
allegations in the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”.
These documents irrefutably prove that with malicious intent, the co-authors and
publisher had not only defamed Barend du Plessis, but grossly infringed his
constitutionally enshrined human rights of dignity and privacy.
Johan Victor and his team insisted that Media24 rewind Barend du Plessis’ life and
the heritages of his two former deceased colleagues, to its status before the launching
of their repugnantly fraudulent book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”.