The more bizarre aspect of the fraud involving Maritime Risk Solutions is Retha and Herman van Niekerk being part of the Clan of Ysgithyrwyn, a coven of Witches whose founder, Damon Leff, has become the public voice for Pagans in South Africa.
Leff lives in Hoekwil, a forestry area just outside Knysna. His real first name is Gary. He used to call himself Aerial but now uses Damon. He’s both a leader in the South African Pagan Council (SAPC – a registered religious organisation) and the South African Pagan Rights Alliance (SAPRA – an unregistered NGO). He also has a blog called Penton, devoted to the same theme.
The background to those support criminals and the attempted discrediting of me is longer than the story itself but it’s necessary and, conveniently for the reader, more interesting.
PAGANS, WITCHES & VAMPIRES
Not all Pagans are Witches but many are. They’re in a tough position, the law stating the freedom of religion whilst also acting against it. It doesn’t help that democracy is a false image, most citizens, whether practising or not, identifying themselves as Christians and reacting according to their upbringing when faced with horror alleged to involve witchcraft, seeing everything that isn’t Christian as the Devil. Leff and his followers catchily refer to this as ‘Satanic panic’.
A big problem lies in the term “witches” which, in practice, blankets everything from Wiccans dancing around a tree in the worship of a Horned God or Mother Earth to tribal witchdoctors seeking human body parts for spells. The latter’s veering towards the killing of hated neighbours, mislabeled as witches for the sake of selfishness or stupidity, makes the overall topic difficult in this country.
Amplifying this difficulty, and even causing a split among Pagans, is Leff’s seeming acceptance of Vampires and Satanists into their house.
As some will be horrified into praying, so some will consider it ridiculous (even to those who loved Underworld, Twilight, Buffy and The Craft). In between, there are those who live this seriously. Even if vampirism may be psychosis, a mental disorder, or simply a desperate need to feel special, does it matter if someone voluntarily allows another to drink their blood?
There were Pagans who rebelled. After all, Satanists are divided into two groups; one based on, and rebelling against, Christianity; the other atheist with Satan only as a symbol of rebellion against society’s conflated rules. Either way, they’re in conflict with the Pagan who isn’t a Christian but believes in Gods and Goddesses, or Mother Nature being everything, including us. Vampires don’t seem to believe in much except themselves, essentially a parody of the Hollywood they despise.
Leff is seemingly disingenuous, stating that he doesn’t represent Satanists yet regularly deals with the topic – simply google “Damon Leff Satanism” for many return results e.g.
He also regained his power in the SAPC which now defines paganism as, “A person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.”
With regards Vampires (or ‘Vampyres), whose inclusion also generated a Pagan outcry, Leff’s been more straightforward, representing them as SAPRA.
Port Elizabeth resident Christina Engela a.k.a. Octarine Valur is the romantic partner of Wendy Keran Gloss who operates under two names, Darklady and Kay Valur Noctem. Gloss is another sanguine ‘blood-drinking’ vampire of the Port Elizabeth House of Veritas which Engela is head of. Ironically, as this article will show, the slogan of these vampires is “In verum ibi libertas” which is Latin for “In truth there is liberty”.
Despite some assistance from her girlfriend, Engela is so much the driving force of South African Vampires Alliance (SAVA) and related websites that they could all be considered to be her alter-ego.
- https://octarinevalur.wordpress.com [update: website deleted]
The relationship between Leff and Engela may have influenced her Vampire “Alliance” to be similar named as his Pagan “Alliance”. Blood must run thick because she’s a director for SAPRA, under him, and is linked to the SAPC too.
The Vampires are, like the witches, calling their groups “covens”. The incestuousness continues as Engela, the Regent (Head Vampire), also refers to herself as a non-theistic Witch. Darklady, her romantic partner and fellow vampire, is also a Wiccan witch as part of her Way of the Rede.
Engela’s a science fiction writer but also authors non-fiction such as ‘Satanism, The Acid Test’. She was Leff’s main public supporter during the battle of the witches for the identity of South Africa’s Pagans.
She also stood up for him when Mynie Geldenhys banned Leff from the Pagan Federation of South Africa (PFSA) Facebook group – www.facebook.com/groups/20371871072.
Consequently, it’s no surprise that Engela joined Leff in making disparaging remarks about me for presenting the crimes of Herman and Retha van Niekerk (who are witches in Leff’s coven). I responded with ‘South African Witches & Vampires Supporting Fraud’.
Another supporter is Morgause Fonteleve who initially, according to SAVA, proposed that the Vampires be incorporated into the SAPC. Fonteleve and Leff then received an award from Engela (Valur) as SAVA at a function held by Engela’s protege and Durban’s Coven d’Eir founder, Lunah Valur Eir (also a friend of Leff but whose real name I withhold as she hasn’t supported the crimes in this story). Fonteleve is/was, like Leff, a council member of both the SACP and SAPRA.
Several of these people are together contributors to Engela’s Alternate Religions Forum. In the second screenshot, as a return to an earlier topic. the ‘forum’ states that it’s a joint project by Pagans, Satanists and Vampires that seeks to eradicate misunderstandings about Satanism.
In turn, Leff’s Penton blog has interviewed Engela (as Octarine Valur, SAPRA & SAVA Council), Mja Principe (SAPC Council) and Morgause Fonteléve (SACP and SAPRA Council).
- 2011.06.13 Octarine Valur on Penton regrading Vampires
- 2013.03.16 Penton interviews SAPRA CEO and SAPC convener Morgause Fonteléve
- 2016.02.08 Penton interview Mja Principe founding member SACP
Engela has supported Leff’s criticism of the SAPS Occult Unit:
Making Pagans/Vampyre even more like a few patting each other’s back were awards to many whose names have already been mentioned in this article.
“Prestigious Token Of Appreciation To SA Vampyre Community Leadership: Our very own Octarine Valur received a very prestigious dedication on 19 March 2016 from the South African Pagan Council (SAPC)…. Yes, real Witches exist, and they are nothing like the demented criminals who commit atrocities against the elderly, young and disempowered members of our communities. Remember their names. Remember that accusation is not proof of guilt. Remember too, that if one is not equal, none are equal, where equal rights are involved.
Every bouquet has a ribbon and this year’s ribbon is dedicated to: Damon Leff, Adriaan Roos, Retha Van Niekerk, Christina Engela, Francisco Fumarola, Gitta Seyfert, Lisa Toft, Nicki Lunawolf Young, Ryan Fallon Young and Octarine Valur (as stated. this is Engela).”
South Africa’s Pagans and Vampires are represented by what appears to be a small crowd of self-affirming friends pretending to be bigger than they are, allowed to do so by a silent majority wanting acceptance by greater society.
THE VAN NIEKERK WITCHES IN THE CLAN OF YSGITHYRWYN
The Van Niekerks belong to The Clan of Ysgithyrwyn, the Hoekwil coven of witches that Damon Leff (real name, Gary Leff) founded.
(Marga)Retha van Niekerk is the Marriage Registrar for SAPRA which is headed by Leff. SAVA, as already said, stated in their newsletter that Retha van Niekerk was one of the witches who received an award from the SAPC.
Herman posted on his blog the Wiccan Warrior’s Admonition. It would appear that he skipped the more noble aspects of the creed to focus on: “I am a Wiccan Warrior. I help myself. I create my own reality.”
He also posted, “A Real Man man doesn’t immediately look to sue someone when he does something stupid and hurts himself. We understand that sometimes in the process of doing things we get hurt and we just DEAL WITH IT!” It’s then ironic that his coven is taking me to court after his wrongdoings that he has failed to accept responsibility for.
Their family is further linked to Ysgithyrwyn through a Wiccan handfasting – their daughter/stepdaughter having been married to an employee of their company’s (Maritime Risk Solutions).
Whose friends with who on Facebook is in no way indicative of collaboration (it’s certain that some will have been shocked at my articles) but it’s notable that Leff is Herman van Wyk’s top FB friend.
As has been shown below, the witches of Ysgithyrwn don’t respect, “We are mindful of the laws of the land in which we live and proud to be South African.”
‘More Evidence Knysna Fraud #1: Van Niekerks & Maritime Risk Solutions‘ went into great detail proving that the qualifications of the Van Niekerks are fake. Retha is not a doctor of Psychology or a Trauma Counsellor. Herman does not have an MBA in business administration. Their company is illegal, not registered with PSIRA (security regulations board), CIPC (company registrations) or SARS (tax man). Yet they put well-armed men on board ships and in harbours, claiming to be able to train them at their training ground (which doesn’t exist).
The Van Niekerks used their fake qualifications to give credibility to their company.
SAPRA did so so too, putting Retha’s fake Dr title on their pages and also falsely calling her as a trauma counsellor.
My error was in thinking that Leff and the Pagans had been conned but despite all the evidence provided, Leff went on the attack against me and has pinned a post to the top of SAPRA’s Facebook page that titles her as Dr Retha van Niekerk.
BLOWBACK AGAINST ME (TRUTH IS HATED)
When I publish a controversial story, it’s common for friends/colleagues/business partners to stand up for the person or persons being questioned.
Their response towards me ranges from rude to nasty, some so much so that they make me question whether they are involved too. For others, it’s denial (after the shock, rarely followed by an apology, and never publicly). Sometimes the goal is collective, to try to discredit me whilst posting repetitive denials or false statements that aim for false truth i.e. propaganda. No matter how much evidence I publish, they never present opposing evidence.
No theme is free of shadow. If I question a bad person pretending to be a Christian, church groups close ranks and get angry with me as if I was questioning their religion instead of the crook embarrassing them. Immoral reactions by white people are especially true for crime stories involving the Democratic Alliance.
No matter how many times I’ve stood up for human rights, from women and children to black people and homosexuals, I’ve been accused of being a chauvinist, paedophile, racist and homophobe.
No matter how hard I work for our town, no matter how much I love our town through difficult action, I’m attacked. The simple truth is that people choose to be in gangs of convenience wherein truth is inconvenient and, thus, hated.
Outside of deliberate, nefarious action, there’s seldom logic.
For example, the heart of this story was the fact that Margaretha van Niekerk (Retha) isn’t a mental specialist of any sort and that her psychology qualifications are fake. Common sense is for her friends, colleagues and clients to ask her to show them her qualifications. After one cup of coffee, they’d know where they stand and who she is. The same applies to her husband’s qualifications.
Instead, people get dirty or, most of all, practice avoidance of the topic.
In a good community, neighbours would stand against those who do us wrong but, in our reality, are more likely to make their decisions according to cowardice or what they can get from someone (who they are more important than what they do). Both are selfish. Especially silence.
In this case, my earlier posts gained all sorts. For example, Jaco van der Wath, who is both SANParks staff (mentioned because another SANParks member is a director of the swimming club where Retha volunteered) and friend of Herman van Niekerk, said: “What a bunch of hogwash by a common blogger and a very unstable “whistleblower”!”
It’s surely no coincidence that another friend of the Van Niekerk’s alleged that the ‘whistleblower’ has mental problems i.e. “unstable, psychopath, insane, mental problems”. The second, like Herman, alleges a vendetta. Logically, the source of defamation is likely the only common factor – the Van Niekerks.
The insults don’t explain the copious information I’ve supplied (which is available online for any who bother to look).
None provide proof of the Van Niekerk’s innocence. None mention the bodyguards that were hired. Their goal is only to protect the Van Niekerks by attempting to discredit the whistleblower and me.
However, the majority of moonlight must shine on the shadows of their friends who are witches…
WITCHES VERSUS ME
On July 24 2017, I sent Damon Leff an email that included:
“Hi, Damon. as you’ve been a FB supporter for the past two years, you know what I do. That makes my sending of this email ironic and awkward. Nevertheless, I go where the story goes…. Note that I’m providing you with the opportunity to get ahead of this story which I will publish on Tuesday. My goal is to investigate fraud, not damage your organisation. Please cooperate with these things in mind. I don’t wish to pursue SAPRA or the SAPC.”
I believe in freedom of religion and democracy so my argument was never meant to be with Witches and Vampires. However, they and Damon went on the offensive rather than responding in kind to my gentle email:
“I caution you to confer with an attorney before you proceed with libel against the Alliance, based on nothing but your opinion.”
He would then go on to state on Facebook (Love Knysna, SAPRA and various of my subscriber’s pages) that he/SAPRA was suing me.
It may be evil but it’s also incredibly stupid of SAPRA to attempt to turn an expose of crime by their members into a human rights issue/defamation case on behalf of witches. All that they’re doing is standing with fraudsters against a whistleblower and me, a citizen journalist and activist. No matter the result of unpredictable court cases, Leff and his supporters, with emphasis on those who’ve chosen silence, are severely damaging the credibility they’ve long sought for their organisations.
Here are some of the comments made by witches on Facebook. Their commonality is ignoring all hard evidence whilst aiming to discredit me:
Adre Burger: “Mike doesn’t have an idea. How many times was he in jail? Get pills at the clinic, dude. Urbanol or something.”
Christina Engela (SAVA, SAPRA):
“…not even remotely a journalist… without providing actual proof, ignores any evidence that contradicts his conspiracy theory o the tall tales told by his sources, doesn’t have any evidence to back up his claims so much as a legal leg to stand on… unethical tabloid without source, substantiation or verification… who is the real fraud here? … It’s downright criminal behaviour. May you get to deep throat the spoon you used to stir the shit pot with real soon.” And against me to another commentator, “You’re taking the word of a fraud.”
Engela’s comments were supported by her fellow council members, Franscisco Fumarola (SAPRA), Gitta Seyfert (SAPC, SAPRA & Coven of the Celtic Tree Spirit) and Damon Leff (SAPC, SAPRA & Clan of Ysgithyrwyn).
Leff made a bunch of negative remarks about me on the Love Knysna Facebook.
He went onto the pages of people who’d shared my article, claiming legal action against me and that the State Prosecutor, SAPRA’s lawyer and the Van Niekerk’s lawyer were in possession of my evidence proving my allegations untrue. It’s laughable that they’d go to so much effort against me instead of simply sending me the evidence. But legal actions are no joke. When the instigators are in the wrong, that’s INTIMIDATION, as are the attempts to discredit me online.
On SAPRA’s Facebook page, as Director of the organisation, Leff posts that ISPA takedown notices have been issued against me and that legal action has been instituted. This is shared by the familiar faces of Engela (personal page and as South African Vampire Community) and her vampire girlfriend Wendy Keran Gloss (personal page and as Darklady). Leff shares it to the SAPA Facebook group (different to page) which gets Fumarola’s like again.
In between, there were opportunist commentators. No matter what my article is about, they go against evidence and against me because they have a grudge. In this instance, there were the repeat offenders Michelle Leigh Ryan (ex-Ubuntu Party) and Mark Allan (DA propagandist). Just before the local elections, I condemned the Ubuntu Party as harshly as I could because I believed their national leader a con man and their promise of free electricity to be a dangerously false election promise. They failed dismally in the election and then imploded as a political group yet some still bear grudge against me. Mark Allan has continuously and falsely associated me with a missing child, his propaganda beneficial to the Democratic Alliance (who worked with him to try to discredit me). He has often worked under false names but now cowardly acts under his real name from the safety of Thailand.
I believe that Bruce Bartie joined the mess (here and in another comment section) because I sent him accountability questions regarding the donations the Heavenly Haven and Knysna Fire 7 June (KF7J) charities received after the Great Knysna Fire (article delayed by the witches but on its way).
Leff, SAPRA, SAVA and the SAPC have continued to avoid the simplest of tasks such as providing proof that the qualifications of Retha van Niekerk and Herman Van Niekerk Snr are real. The only applicable logic is that he cannot because they’re fake.
Why are Leff and these organisations more interested in damning me than they are about sorting out the fraudsters in their midst (and their many contraventions of the laws of our country)?
Is it because the Clan of Ysgithyrwyn comes first, or is witches over us non-witches?
Their behaviour is very much like the Satanic rule of “Do what you want” rather than the Wiccan “Do what you want so long as it doesn’t harm anyone”.
HETZNER HOSTING SUCKS
By the ISPA takedown notice, Leff is referring to Hetzner, the massive German company that hosts websites in South Africa. By takedown, he means that he’s trying to make the ISPA and Hetzner command me to remove my web pages. What he fails to mention is that the law is for:
Hetzner: “Hetzner is obliged to act upon all take-down requests. Once Hetzner receives a take-down request from ISPA, we check whether the take-down request is valid i.e. that the content referred to in the notification does appear on the website and that the website is hosted on our network. As a hosting company, Hetzner does not adjudicate whether the content is offensive or not. Our role is simply to enforce the take-down request.”
One points the finger at the other.
It’s problematic that neither bothers to have any/or proper communication with the person receiving the complaint. Worse still, Hetzner falsely believes that it doesn’t have to use common sense, only obey an ISPA notice for a takedown. That’s also a perfect contradiction to the responsibility the ISPA has bestowed upon them.
There’s an absurdity to this. Leff’s complaint was only: “Personality rights infringed – defamation and libel against Mr Herman Potgieter and Mrs Retha van Niekerk.”
Just imagine if everyone who never liked any news item could request it’s removal without having to provide justification e.g. a person who supports President Jacob Zuma could request that all negative internet postings about him being removed. The validity of the articles wouldn’t matter, only the request. In this case, absurdity stretched for extra depth because Leff is a third party complaining about defamation of his friends.
Of course, that isn’t how it’s supposed to work but the system is broken by lazy people who unprofessionally don’t do their job. There’s real danger because if the recipient of the takedown notice doesn’t comply, his/her website gets removed… and if it isn’t removed, then all of the websites of the hoster are taken down by the ISPA.
If this is the precedent then Hetzner has begun the death of all online journalism accessible by South Africa and from whatever other countries they operate from.
There’s a severe Constitutional issue at stake but before that can be laboriously dealt with in Court, there was the more immediate problem that the initial takedown notice arrived with a 2 days deadline whereas, to date, 19 days later, Hetzner hasn’t responded directly to the content in my emails.
I also realised that once a loophole is found, bad people would abuse it. My main concern was the politicians who always attack me but whilst I was moving my website to another country (files now in Italy whilst support is in Bulgaria), Leff had already filed another two takedown notices (Hetzner again failing to appropriately respond).
I chose not to be bullied and stand up for Constitutional rights and the public interest. I moved my website to a country that’s hopefully First World enough to assess complaints and dismiss those with crooked agenda.
Leff, for his agenda and false victory, chose to lie that Hetzner had booted my site.
MY COMPLAINTS IGNORED
The SAPC seems more like a private club because after Leff’s faction won the Pagan war, the organisation amended its constitution to give power to a few:
“7.1 Composition and Permanent Positions:
The SAPC Administrative Body is comprised of several permanent positions namely the Convenor-Registrar, the remaining founding Executive Members (Clan Ysgithyrwyn – Damon Leff, the Grove, Lunaguardia – Morgause Fonteleve, Correllian Nativist Tradition) the Public Relations Officer and the Scribe.”
Download the full version.
Mja Principe is the Convenor-Registrar of the SAPC. Van Niekerk its Marriage Registrar.
SAPRA seems as biased as the SAPC. From Leff’s Ysgithyrwyn coven, Nidhi Chaitow is the Treasurer. His friend, Gitta Seyfert (Coven of the Celtic Tree Spirit ) is its General Secretary.
In retrospect, my complaints to the SAPC and SAPRA were doomed to fail no matter how positive my intention:
“This complaint must be responded to separately by the South African Pagan Council (SAPC) and the South African Pagan Rights Association (SAPRA).
I have no fight with yours or any belief system. In fact, in the past, I’ve clearly used my online presence to stand up for minorities. In my experience, there’s good and bad in all. My stand is against those who damage our town or threaten me. That is what has occurred with my expose of fraud by Retha van Niekerk who is a leader in both the SAPC and SAPRA (like several of you).
These links provide the background to my complaint. The first is of a fraud involving Van Niekerk. As you’ll read, I was particularly (and deliberately light on the paganism aspect, that emphasised by my original emails to Damon Leff (which can be downloaded from the second article). However, that changed when Leff and other members of your organisations became negatively involved…”
Download full complaint.
I was more direct several days later, to Pagan leaders across South Africa. Again, no response,
Additionally, Gita Seyfert and Francisco Fumarola never responded to my Facebook comments on their pages.
8 days after the constitution amendment to the SAPC, Adrian Roos registered the website for them and became their spokesperson. On February 10 2017, he posted that all complaints must be sent to him, mentioning disappointment in fights within the SACP.
Roos’ position and silence make a mockery of his Facebook message to me 13 days ago, after I posted my first article about Damon Leff, SAPRA and the SACP.
The silence of the greater Pagan community is as damning as the negative actions of the few. Following Leff so blindly threatens to make their varied heathen religions into one big cult.
Leff is a UNISA law student who has repeatedly complained in the media or to the Press Ombudsman that media, in his opinion, is incorrectly using the words “Witch” and “Satanism”. He may have a point despite his failures but, in my opinion, and as an example of who he is, went to extreme lengths when objecting against this fantastic advert:
“Something fun for a Friday! This radio ad by M&C Saatchi Abel Cape Town calls on the coven of Gwadana Forest to advertise MWEB’s affordable Internet package. About the ad:
isiXhosa speakers inhabit two worlds at the same time – the traditional and modern. Modern technology such as the Internet comfortably co-exists with the notion of witchcraft being real.
To make isiXhosa-speaking consumers (the 2nd largest language group in South Africa) aware of their affordable Internet package, MWEB tapped into Xhosa folklore. Gwadana Forest is an area in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, that is prevalent in Xhosa folklore as being a gathering place for witches. They are rumoured to travel there in the dead of night on iiketshi (witch transportation devices). If these witches had access to MWEB Internet, what would they use it for?
The ad uses this idea of witchcraft in a contemporary setting in a tongue-in-cheek manner, allowing the MWEB Internet offer to be presented using cultural capital that resonates with potential consumers.”
AFRICAN HUMAN RIGHTS COALITION
I’ve yet to look into the African Human Rights Coalition which is run by vampire Christina Engela and Executive Director Melanie Nathan – www.africanhrc.org.
However, wanting more information after Engela never responded to my queries, and imagining that the organisation would want to be aware of possible embarrassment, I contacted Melanie Nathan with:
“I exposed a large fraud in our town – www.knysnakeep.org/fraud-the-psychologist-men-with-guns. After your colleague Christina Engela wrote out-of-place disparaging remarks about me, protecting one of the fraudsters, I wrote a very different sequel – www.knysnakeep.org/south-african-witches-vampires-supporting-fraud-sapra-sapc-sava. It would appear that Engela has a dark side you may want to be made aware of. As she hasn’t responded to me, I’m hoping that you will question her regards her blood-drinking and support for a fraudster.”
Her response was like a queue from Leff or Engela, and extremely unlike what would be expected from an organisation called African Human Rights Coalition:
“Grow up and don’t waste my time again. Ms. Engela is a good person who does extremely good work for community. Your assertions are out of line and are none of my business. My advice to you is to lay off her and stop defaming her and the others who you so childishly seek to discredit. Your letter tries to defame her and you were stupid enough to put your admissions as to your intent and motive in writing to me. Writing a revenge article as you admit in your email is indicative of motive toad intent to defame. I will certainly forward your e-mail to her and offer it up as evidence of your ill will. Unless of course you choose to apologize to me for wasting my time and to her and the others whom you defame.”
She went further by appearing in support in the comment section of SAPRA’s post against me.
The South African Pagan Council’s (SACP) Code of Principles states:
“Honour is a sacred virtue. Let our actions be upright, causing harm to none. We should at all costs, avoid deceit, exploitation of others, fraud, violence, theft, abusive behavior, substance abuse and any form of action deemed illegal and detrimental to society. We should be honest with others and let them know that we expect nothing less from them. Our word should be our bond. Pagans should strive to obey the just laws of the land and its government.”
Considering the crimes by their leaders and the consequent attack on me, the SAPC’s belief system is a massive lie. It, like SAPRA, is an organisation only pretending to be kind and full of human rights when instead, in this case, it’s Witches, Satanists and Vampires served first, everyone else last. By their actions, these “Pagans” are arrogant, willingly wiping their dirty hooves on the Constitution so as to protect their cult.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
It could be said that the definitions of good and evil are in the eye of the religious practitioner. The non-religious could think that all religions are superstitions, their opinion made hypocritical by the gods of the old religions becoming the devils of new religions.
No matter what you believe, ask yourself if democracy, which exists with many benefits to you, can exist without freedom of religion?
What anyone believes without interfering with, or harming another, is best accepted. That’s a practical requirement for our society of human animals to continue functioning as OUR broken umbrella of togetherness. Practicality is key. One’s faith isn’t necessary to fix a car or feed the poor. That’s decided by ability and inclination.
This long introduction is necessary as my investigation into the crimes of the Van Niekerks and their Maritime Risk Solutions has been deliberately undermined online by the false accusation that I’m attacking non-Christian religions.
To be clear, this writer believes in freedom of religion, and tolerance for it but without it becoming an excuse for arrogance or motivation for doing what common sense would label as wrong. I made that very clear with my articles on burkhas and bikinis, and when I stood against the hypocrisy of corrupt Democratic Alliance Mayor Eleanor Spies publicly claiming she’s a Christian. I also criticised churches benefiting from the image of corrupt politicians in their churches, something i consider to be more business than religion.
Consequently, I’m not a hypocrite attacking minority religions. My opinion is unfettered, without allegiance, based on common right and wrong. I don’t believe in a religion benefiting from a crime or making cronyistic acceptance of it. And when groups close ranks instead of addressing a problem, the group becomes the bigger problem,.
Damon Leff and his fellow council members of the SAPC and SAPRA have chosen to not only ignore the fraudsters in their midst but he and SAPRA have chosen to attack me and freedom of righteous speech in the public interest.
TOLERANCE VS BECOMING PART OF THE CRIME
As a younger adult, i and my friends would intellectually tear into anything we considered stupid, smug in our arrogance. The older I get, the more centrist/moderate many of my views become, especially accepting that my opinion will never stop anyone from believing, for example, that a holy man walked on water and that luscious virgins await dead heroes.
Tolerance and acceptance of everyone’s faith is key to a healthy society and, as such, a democratic right that must be defended.
But if Damon Leff, Christina Engela, Herman van Niekerk, Retha van Niekerk, SAPRA, SAPC and SAVA are what represents South Africa’s pagans, witches and vampires, then my tolerance weakens.
If those minority groups refuse to speak against wrongdoing within their ranks, especially by those representing them the loudest, then they deserve to be painted with the same brush of blackness.
Seeking to damage someone such as myself who’s trying to help our community (no matter their faith) tells me that what they profess to believe is dangerous, better punished than accepted. I don’t like that they’ve planted that thought in me.
I will be tolerant, where possible… as much as I’ll be vigorous in opposing those who hurt Knysna. Those enemies include all the authorities who’ve failed us, from the SACP and SAPRA to the HPCSA, PSIRA, Hawks and SAPS.
Although figurative, this feels like the age-old war with the Devil, good versus evil.
Free in the Public Interest. Download the first book about Democratic Alliance corruption: