One who got away tells of her kidnap by Van Rooyen

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JOAN HOMAN (nee Booysen) 20 years after the ordeal.

THE only girl who escaped from notorious paedophile Gert van Rooyen almost 20 years ago says the second she looked into his eyes she saw “pure evil”. Two months away from the 20th anniversary of her escape, Joan Homan (nee Booysen) told about the day she was abducted and drugged by Van Rooyen and his lover and accomplice, Francina Johanna Hermina (Joey) Haarhoff.

Speaking at a luncheon in Uitenhage, Homan told the story of her abduction and escape.

The story of Van Rooyen and his six missing victims has baffled police and the public alike for two decades. Despite countless investigations, rumours, forensic testing and the finding of bones, the six girls have never been found.

The disappearances of Tracy-Lee Scott-Crossley, 14, Fiona Harvey, 12, Joan Horn, 12, Odette Boucher, 11, Anne-Mari Wapenaar, 12, and Yolanda Wessels, 13, have all been linked to Van Rooyen after they were abducted in Gauteng between 1988 and ’90.

Homan, then 16 and in Std 9 (Grade 11), was kidnapped for a few hours on January 11, 1990. It was Homan’s abduction and subsequent escape that gave police the evidence they needed to close in on Van Rooyen, who police suspected had been involved in the disappearances for quite some time.

Homan said she did not consider herself a hero, even after providing police with the information they needed to move in on Van Rooyen and Haarhoff.

Using Homan’s information and descriptions of the couple, police placed their Pretoria home under surveillance.

Van Rooyen shot himself and Haarhoff as police were giving chase, also killing all chances of ever finding the six missing girls.

Homan said she had missed her usual bus to school that morning, when a blonde woman approached her on Church Square, Pretoria, where she was waiting for the next available bus to take to school.

“People always warn you not to speak to strangers. I knew I should never speak to strange men but no one ever warns you never to speak to friendly old ladies. She was friendly and very kind. I never suspected a thing,” Homan said.

Haarhoff, in the now infamous blonde wig with which she disguised herself, approached Homan at the bus stop and offered her a job.

“I told her I was still at school, but we started talking. She said she could give me information which I could give to friends. She then asked me where I was going and I told her. She said she was going in that direction and offered me a lift. I did not suspect a thing,” Homan said.

On the way to school, Homan said, Haarhoff told her she needed to stop off at her home. After entering the Malherbe Street, Capital Park, house Haarhoff then said there was no one at home. They would have to wait. She offered Homan a cooldrink inside and she accepted.

“We walked through the house. She told me she worked at a nursery. As we walked past the main bedroom I saw a man behind me. It was Gert van Rooyen. He slapped me and I fell down. When I looked up I was staring into a revolver,” she said.

Haarhoff produced a handful of pills. Van Rooyen forced Homan to drink them at gunpoint.

“When I looked at him all I saw was evil. He had beady eyes. All I thought was that this man is the villain. They told me they would demand a ransom. They then locked me in a cupboard.” Homan said she said a quick prayer and then looked at how she could get out of the cupboard.

“There was a polystyrene cooler box in the cupboard. I used the lid to open the hook on the other side which was keeping both doors closed,” said Joan, who at the time was a big fan of the TV show MacGyver.

She made her way to the lounge and looked outside. Haarhoff was in the garden but there was no sign of Van Rooyen. She phoned her cousin, telling her what had happened and where the house was.

“I ran outside. There was a man driving down the street. I stopped him and told him I had been kidnapped. I got into the car and the man drove away. “I passed out in the car from the pills they gave me,” she said.

That evening the police placed Van Rooyen’s home under surveillance.

Homan said her heart went out to the mothers of the six girls who had never received closure on their daughters’ fate.

Now a manager in Centurion, Homan said she had moved on with her life. Although her children knew what she had live through, they hardly ever talked about it. She is very close to her sisters, Elsenette Cronje, now of Despatch, and Lizelle Booysen, of Durban.

source: The Weekend Post

Thieves mourn the Citi Golf

Thieves mourn the Citi Golf, It was number one on hijackers’ wanted list’.

Even car thieves have been left with lumps in their throat as the last Volkswagen Citi Golf to be produced goes into retirement at a museum at the manufacturer’s plant in the Eastern Cape town of Uitenhage.

quote I don’t know how many I stole, but the car is a legend quote


Volkswagen punted the Citi Golf as South Africa’s best-selling car, but didn’t mention that it occupied poll position on the “wanted” lists of criminal networks.

Some criminals said the Citi Golf ranked as one of the vehicles most likely to be taken away from its owner – either through theft or by force.

As the curtain comes down on a made-in-South-Africa motoring legend, convicted car thieves shed some light on why Citi Golfs are in high demand by criminals.

“The demand for the Citi Golf is always there in the townships,” said a 35-year-old convicted car thief and hijacker, who asked not to be named, and who is now serving a 15-year term at Durban’s Westville prison.

“I don’t know how many I stole, but that car is a legend. You can customise and do anything you want with it; I think that is why people like it so much.”

His cellmate, a 37-year-old serving 20 years for the same crimes, said: “I stole many cars . BMW 325s, Jumbos [VW Golf mark 2] and VR6s [Golf mark 3]. But the Citi Golf was always the easiest to sell.”

Both men claim that they never shot their hijacking victims.

The 37-year-old said they would go to various Durban suburbs or to the inner city looking for a specific car to steal, but would hijack a driver only if they couldn’t find one parked.

“Hijacking is a more serious crime than theft,” said the 37-year-old.

When hot, a new Citi Golf would be sold for between R6,000 and R8,000.

“Hot” refers to the period shortly after the car was stolen or hijacked and before its identity was changed, he said.

Once the car “cooled down,” thanks to an expert who removed and re-stamped vehicle identity tags and engine numbers – and in some cases re-sprayed it – its value would increase.

“When it had been completely done, we would sell a new Citi Golf for between R10,000 and R15,000, depending on the condition and skill of the person doing it. If you trust that person, and he has worked on cars before that never had problems with the police, then you could charge a good price,” said the 37-year-old.

New Citi owners were outraged in 2007 when a major insurance company refused to insure Citi Golfs assembled between 2004 and 2006 because of the rate at which they were being stolen.

The move affected about 2000 policyholders though the insurance company, Hollard, has since changed its stance and now provides cover for the car.

But not even the threat of parting with the vehicle unceremoniously would deter those who loved the Citi from buying it.

Bank employee Sibusiso Goba, a confessed VW fan, who bought his VeloCiti in 2005, said: “My philosophy is that I will never deprive myself of something that I love because of another person.”

First introduced as the VW Golf mark 1 in 1978, the car was later given a face-lift and re-introduced as the Citi Golf in 1984.

Volkswagen intended to produce it for only five years – but ended up making it for the next 25.

In 1984, available in yellow, blue and red – thanks to some creative input from fashion designer Jenni Button – it proved a hit.

And for decades South Africans were sold on its stylish looks, reliability and economy. Some have even confessed to having had some hanky-panky in a Citi. More than 600,000 of them were sold in South Africa, despite their lack of safety features. But some have wondered what the fuss is all about.

Jeanne Fochessati, owner of a black Citi Rox, said on the car’s farewell website : “True what they say – if you’ve never owned one, you’ll never understand.”

source: Time Live

Online war by fans in bid to have last Citi

DIE-HARD Citi Golf fans are at war over who will win the bid for the last available VW Citi – rated as a highly collectible piece of history.

The website bidding on the iconic car started on November 3 at just R1, but by yesterday had reached R160100.

The bidorbuy website offering has received about 7000 visits, and managing director Andy Higgs said the bidding had gone much higher than expected.

The Citi’s market price is R113500.

“There are passionate fans out there – and whoever wins it will own a highly collectible piece of history,” Higgs said of the “puzzling” mathematics.

He said the bidding war was between 24 individuals, who are anonymous and can only be identified by the public by their user names. “They can use an automatic bid (to up their offer) depending on their limit.”

What made this particular car so special, said Higgs, was that it was the third-last to roll off the production line. The last two Citis produced, numbered 001 and 002, would be preserved for posterity in the Autostadt museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, and at the AutoPavilion museum in Uitenhage.

This car is one of the 1000 numbered limited-edition models. “The closing date is November 23 at 9pm. We don’t think (the bidding) will get much higher – but we might be surprised,” Higgs said.

source: The Weekend Post

Redhouse dump also an eyesore

background) and the rubbish dumped on the ground is causing concern for Redhouse residents, who say the municipality doesn’t listen to their appeals for the area to be cleaned up.

IN The Herald on Thursday I saw the municipal dumpsite eyesore in Rosedale (“Separate Uitenhage from Mandela Bay!”), so I took some pictures of the Redhouse dumpsite which has the same problem. The Redhouse residents also blame the municipality for poor service delivery.

Phoning them does not help. Hopefully they will see this in The Herald and clear all the rubbish. – D Robertson, Redhouse, Port Elizabeth

source: The Weekend Post