“The South African Police Services special unit tasked with combating crime linked to occult activities was never disbanded. It merely went underground because the glare of publicity sometimes hindered investigations.”
This statement is one that some in the occult and Pagan communities have long suspected, but aside from questionable information on SAPS’ website (circa 2006), never had proof of; up until now that is.
According to a report on Christian news portal, gatewaynews.co.za, Commander of the SAPS Occult-related Crime Unit, Attie Lamprecht, confirmed that previous media reports stating the disbanding of the ORCU in 1997 were false. This would mean that despite pressure and petitioning from various human rights groups at the time, SAPS, instead of adhering to the SA Constitution, chose to keep the ORCU operable while lying to the public and media, and using the taxpayer’s money to fund the religiously-motivated crusade of a few.
Further investigation into Lamprecht’s claims proved this to be true as a recent query posed to the SAPS yielded the following response:
“The Occult Crimes investigation capacity was never disbanded. It was removed from the public eye allowing investigators to focus on the investigations.”
Now despite offering nuggets of insight into the rationale of current ORCU commader, Attie Lamprecht, and self-proclaimed ‘occult expert’ Kobus Jonker, gatewaynews.co.za’s article also carries the distinct tone of prejudice against Pagans, Satanists and occultists.
Touching on recent developments regarding the Department of Education and their widely reported ‘Memorandum of Understanding’, Gateway News’ article entitled SAPS Occult Unit was never disbanded — just went underground shows the author’s bias:
“SAPRA director Daman (sic) Leff told media that pagans fear that their children may be victimised as a result of the proposed “harmful practices” policy. He said the religion of Satanism does not encourage violence but that children who commit heinous crimes may use Satanism or the devil as an excuse for their criminal behaviour.”
The author draws on statements made by SAPRA’s director, Damon Leff, which first identify Pagan concerns, and then immediately follows with the Alliance’s statements on Satanism. A deliberate combination that attempts to instill the thought in the reader that Paganism is synonymous with Satanism; a falsehood, but one that is beloved of Christian SRA supporters and conspiracy theorists alike.
Jumping back to the matter of the ORCU, the article then claims:
“The fact that the Occult-Unit has been operating since 1981 indicates that police do take occult-related crime seriously. A recent internal memo to station commanders in a cluster in KwaZulu-Natal warns of planned satanic rituals with the possibility of children being sacrificed. Current unit commander, Lamprecht, himself has been quoted as saying that although Satanism is not a crime, it is a belief system that leads to crime.”
The ORCU has been operating since 1992, but that inaccuracy aside this statement only goes to show the depth of ignorance and prejudice evident within the SA Police Service. The SAPS, instead of upholding the law and apprehending criminals, chooses to believe in classic ‘Satanic Panic’ hysteria that is not rooted in reality. There is also the large concern that Lamprecht still holds to those same false Satanic Panic notions of Satanism being synonymous with crime.
If SAPS officers are going to make the assertion that one’s beliefs are relevant to a criminal investigation, then the adherents of every other religion in SA will have to be submitted to the same scrutiny. SAPS would have to set up Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish crime units- how fair would that be?
The article would naturally be incomplete without commentary from self-styled ‘occult expert’ and ex-ORCU head, Kobus Jonker:
“In an interview Jonker dismissed claims by paganists that Satanism does not involve violence. He said crime statistics prove otherwise, and “right now there is a case in court involving a crime and Satanism”. He said that Satanists are mostly adults and school children involved are mostly ‘dabblers’.”
The correct terminology is ‘Pagan’ in reference to adherents of modern Paganism- just as it is ‘Christian’ and not Christianist. Semantics aside, Jonker’s claims of “crime statistics” as proof of a rise in Satanism are based on fantasy. In a report by the US entitled International Religious Freedom Report (2006) it states that in South Africa:
“There were no reports of killings linked to the practice of Satanism. The government does not keep records on cases of reported witchcraft and satanic killings. These cases are investigated and prosecuted as homicide by law enforcement officials.”
In addition, the case Jonker refers to is the Kirsty Theologo case currently in court. This case revolves around the murder of Kirsty Theologo by a group of young men who, having admitted in court to having no knowledge on actual, legitimate Satanic practices and beliefs, relied on sensationalist and false media descriptions of ‘Satanic Panic’ myths to attempt to practice Satanism. The Kirsty Theologo case is a case of murder and is not in any way related to actual Satanism.
Jonker then goes on to claim the reason why children and teenagers are dabbling in what he claims to be Satanism (but in truth are Christian invented myths on Satanism born of the Satanic Panic era) is a lack of Christianity in the lives of their fathers.
“He said that one of the main reasons behind increased occult and satanic involvement in schools, is that the “hearts of the father’s in society today are far from God”.”
This is a sentiment that Angus Buchan would undoubtedly approve of, but an assumption that is far removed from reality. Instead of considering tangible factors such as psychological, home environment, drug and alcohol abuse, and socio-economic factors, Jonker instead claims that converting to the Christian faith is the only answer. In addition, despite his claims of being an ‘occult expert’, it becomes evident that Jonker’s knowledge on ‘the occult’ is skewed, along with any grasp on the SA constitution which enshrines religious freedom for all South Africans.
‘Occult’ is a term that encompasses a wide range of beliefs and practices ranging from divination and magic, to Paganism and Satanism. Why should the possibility of anyone executing their constitutional right to freedom of religion, and exploring legitimate and benign religions be of concern to anyone, let alone Jonker?
However, Jonker is not the only one to target concern at ‘Satanism’. Dr Aldo Krige claimed that, “covens are very isolated, but children are delving into the occult.” Again, there is the concern of the youth deviating away from Christianity and exploring alternative religions. However, there is also evidence of Krige’s lack of knowledge on ‘Satanism’. The only groups that are organized into covens are Wiccans who fall under the Pagan religion- this is further proof of Satanic Panic myths being rehashed and falsely presented as truth.
Krige then goes on to blame “the spirit of anarchy” evident in society, and of course this is what brings ‘Satanism’ into schools according to Krige, who further blames Satanists for disrupting families. The teenage years of a child’s development are marked by the child trying to establish themselves as an individual outside of their family unit. When this natural phase of development is met with resistance by parents, it turns into rebellion. If ‘Satanism’ is presented as the great taboo, as it is within such conservative Christian families, then it becomes obvious what a rebellious teenager will attempt to experiment with for shock value- the very myths regarding Satanism they learnt from parents, pastors and teachers.
Even traditional healers are not safe from Krige’s biased eye as he claims that, “people who go to witch doctors are opening doors to Satanism, as witch doctors are actually practicing Satanism whether they believe it or not.” This only shows the purely Christian bias that sees ‘the devil’ in every other spiritual or religious practice outside of Christianity.
However, as with almost every other Christian article, the big sell is always saved for last.
“After almost 30 years in the field he [Krige] has found that the only way that people are set free from Satanism, anarchy and drugs is by a decision for Jesus Christ and then undergoing discipleship first before rehabilitation.”
The entire point of this article is to instill fear and prejudice in the Christian heart by employing the commentary of authority figures. However in the process of attempting to reign in the flock, the author perpetuates lies regarding Satanism and underhandedly attempts to paint Paganism as synonymous with the mythical Satanism of their creation. Such tactics and blatant lies are not to be taken lightly as they pave the way for greater way-siding and discrimination against minority religions not just by Christian news sites, but by government institutions that are in place to uphold the law, not turn a blind eye to it.