Roebuck youths reassured

2011-11-15 00:00

PETER Roebuck’s Pietermaritzburg “family” said yesterday they are uncertain about their future following the cricket analyst’s weekend suicide, but a friend of his said they will be looked after.

Sixteen young men live in Roebuck’s “blue house” in Scottsville while attending university, supported by the writer.

Roebuck (55) jumped to his death from his hotel room in Cape Town as police prepared to question him on Saturday evening, apparently about allegations of sexual assault.

A family friend who asked not to be named said the young men’s number one worry is what will happen to them. “The funeral arrangements will come a bit later.”

She said she felt pretty sure that Roebuck would have provided for the men through his Learning for a Better World Trust.

“A couple of the young men are employed so they have some income.”

In Cape Town Roebuck’s friend Nicholas Kock said he is in contact with the young men.

“I’ve assured them that they will be taken care of.

“They have nothing to worry about and I let them know that their future will not be affected by the incident,” said Kock.

He would not be drawn into the allegations of a sexual assault investigation. “I won’t get into that, sorry,” was all he said.

No funeral arrangements have yet been made.

Kock said he is communicating with Roebuck’s family in England and that things will be done according to their wishes.

A grief-stricken Dennis Chadya, one of the 16 protegés, said they are still trying to come to terms with the death.

“We don’t know about the house, but we will stay here until we know what to do. He used to make plans for us.” He said he believes the group will have more clarity about their future in the house in six months’ time.

Chadya said Roebuck’s body is still in Cape Town and that they are in contact with the family and other friends to make arrangements for the funeral.

The British high commission’s head of communication, Gary Benham, said, “UK laws prohibit us from talking about the case”, but that they are in communication with Roebuck’s family in the UK.

Police spokesperson Vish Naidoo would not discuss what police were investigating Roebuck for.

Foreign media have reported that Roebuck allegedly made advances to a young man he had recently met, and that the man laid a charge of indecent assault against Roebuck.

“The purpose of this investigation is to officially determine the circumstances as well his cause of death. Also I can confirm that no evidence has been found at the scene to suspect foul play in respect of his death,” said Naidoo.

Independent Complaints Directorate spokesperson Moses Dlamini declined to say whether a statement has been taken from Jim Maxwell, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation commentator who was with Roebuck moments before he plunged to his death.

“Investigations started on Saturday and we won’t be able to discuss it with the media,” said Dlamini.

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