MORGAUSE FONTELEVE. Pagans and Members of the Council, what we are reading about in the press is beyond acceptance and for many a scary prospect. Do not be discouraged and do not go into hiding. Now is the time to stand together and make avail of the groundwork that was done in advance in the sad event that such times of “false accusations”, religious prejudice and persecution returned. Every voice is needed; in their books we might be an insignificant religious minority, but equal rights mean equal rights for ALL, even for minorities such as ourselves.
BRONWYN KATZKE. Satanists! The new boogeyman in a post-1994 South Africa. According to alleged ‘occult experts’ there are currently 80000 Satanists in South Africa; and these are not of the LaVeyan, Luciferanism or Theistic variety. No, the media and SAPS have been led to believe that there are tens of thousands of supposed ‘Satanists’ sacrificing women, children and babies every month while meditating to Judas Priest and blaspheming at every possible opportunity. What’s worse is they allow this belief to infect SAPS investigations and media reports.
MORGAUSE FONTELEVE. In the pages of Allan Paton’s “Cry the Beloved Country” I came face to face with the realization that there was such a thing as intense human injustice, the ugly face of a poverty so poor, a suffering so black, the inhumane treatment of the many so shocking and yet so invisible to the ruling class who ignored the trading of human lives and the crime that underlined living under the rule of racial and social injustice. Most importantly, I came across the noble ideal of political activism and the extent that people went to ensure that justice would one day prevail under a Constitution so beautiful and so fair, it would accord every human being equal rights like it had never been done before.
FRANCISCO FUMAROLA. This very convenient recent rise in cases of “Satanism” and “possible occult involvement” as constructed in the media, serves the purposes of the anti-occult ministries and cult-cops very well. They are still on their crusade to convince the country “the devil is on the loose” and we all need “to turn to God”. They want to convince all of us that we are in some kind of mythical war and our very souls are at stake. We should tread very carefully as the occult community; the media in general seems biased in favour of Christianity and the Christian myth of Satanism –which is nothing but a useful tool in fundamentalist Christianity.
CHRISTINA ENGELA. The SAPS can’t arrest a person on suspicion of suspicion. Well, actually they can – and often do, it seems – but they get sued for wrongful arrest and detention, and sometimes police brutality as well – as evidenced by the over 6000 such cases recently reported as being outstanding against the SAPS. No actual physical evidence of an actual crime amounts to wrongful arrest. If they do this, then it is grounds for wrongful arrest and/or intimidation charges and a law suit. Are they sure they want to go there on the basis of the furtherance of a purely discriminatory religious agenda?
ANNEBELL SANDER. In today’s society one would dare to hope for some level of acceptance and intelligence that I am sorry to say, doesn’t exist. Barberton, Mpumalanga is today, just as any other day a peaceful, beautiful little town with a rich history dating back many years. The community seems accepting and accommodating to most that visit or just pass through. This however changed drastically for a member of this community, due to suspicions, jealousy and plain ignorance.
DAMON LEFF. Occultists in South Africa, including Witches, Pagans and Satanists, are alarmed by news that the South African Police Services will be reconstituting ‘Occult-related crime’ units, and with good reason. The investigative mandate for the establishment of new provincial Occult-related Crime Units (ORC), in particular certain ‘categories of crime’ listed in a recently leaked SAPS Investigation support capacity memorandum, contradict internationally recognized jurisprudence in the identification and verification of demonstrable evidence. The law requires that evidence must not be based on opinion, belief or untested hearsay, but on provable facts alone.
BRONWYN KATZKE. According to Rt. Reverend Mynie Geldenhuys, President of the Pagan Federation of South Africa, “The previous Occult Unit under Kobus Jonker never proved a single case of Witchcraft related crime”. She explains that the cases investigated by the previous ORCU turned out to be crimes committed for mundane reasons that were tried under common law. For this reason Mynie believes that there is no reason for a ORCU. “In my opinion, all reported complaints and cases under investigation by SAP, be they perpetrated by people following an occult path or not, should be dealt with according to the criminal law. If deliberate harm is caused by one person to another, then it is a Criminal Act and has nothing to do with an individual’s belief system.”