Investigating crime is what the police does. It is their mandate and their duty. There are a number of specialised units within the police to deal with specific types of crime. One of these units is the Occult Crime Unit.
According to the SAPS website (since removed, but subsequently published in the SAPS community magazine SERVAMUS as of 2013), occult related crime is defined thus:
“Occult-related crime means any human conduct that constitutes any legally recognized crime, the modus operandi of which relates to or emanates primarily from any belief or seeming belief in the occult, witchcraft, satanism, mysticism, magic, esotericism and the like. Included in the scope of occult-related crime are ritual muti/medicine murders, witch purging, witchcraft-related violence and sect-related practices that pose a threat to the safety and security of the Republic of South Africa and/or its inhabitants.”
So far, so good. ANY religiously-motivated crime should be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law, especially where killing is involved. The problem comes in when one looks a little bit deeper into the origins of the unit, its criteria for membership, and the published warning signs the unit asks the public to be on the look-out for.
Let’s start with its origins.
The unit was established in 1992 by a born-again Christian called Kobus Jonker. This unit operated during the height of the so-called “Satanic Panic”. Even after 1994, this unit continued almost unchanged in spite of the new constitution which should have at the very least updated the unit and its practices. Kobus Jonker continued to head the unit until 2000, and published several books such as “Youth and Satanism exposed”, “Satanism exposed” and “Satanism in South Africa”. In spite of attempts by senior police to have the unit disbanded on constitutional grounds, it still operates pretty much unchanged.
One of the prerequisites of serving in this unit is a belief in Jesus Christ. Quoting once more from a Special community edition of SERVAMUS from 2000 (Article entitled “Warriors against evil”):
“SAPS members who want to serve in this Unit must acknowledge the supernatural world. They must strongly believe in Jesus Christ, because Satanism's main enemy is Jesus Christ. It is not just a job, it's a lifelong mission, involving the body, soul and spirit.”
The current leader of the unit is one Attie Lamprecht. In an article published on iol (http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/sin-sedition-and-satanism-in-south-africa-1.417775) he had the following to say:
“There has always been an interest in Satanism among the youth, but due to the massive influx of films, books and music, more and more youngsters find Satanism fascinating. They become so-called free stylists who start practising white magic. This does not let them cause harm to others, but in time, they turn to black magic. There are some of the Satanic Rules that will get you in trouble sooner or later. Satan represents all of the sins, and young people apply them to their lives. One of these rules entails that a Satanist not complain about his or her problems to anyone. The person then holds all of this emotional hurt inside of him or herself. One day this becomes too much and the person snaps. In the United Kingdom, there are what we call Satanic Purists. This has predominantly to do with self-worship. But Satanism in South Africa is characteristically against Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is against all that is good. Satanism among our country's youth is multi-layered, where violent music, together with drugs and various other factors, combine, making the child prone to committing a crime. Satanists are making use of blogs, MXit and SMSs to send threatening and intimidating messages to their peers. The Satanism of today has taken up the form of psychological abuse. As a religion it also rebels against conformity. This leads youngsters to become rebellious against school rules, and ultimately, against the laws of the country. This gives them meaning as they see themselves rising above the system.”
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. From the mouths of many fundamentalist Christians who view anything non-christian as evil and satanic.
It gets worse when you look at the list of warning signs that the SAPS encourages communities to look out for (here’s a selection. A link containing the full list will appear at the end):
· Child experiences sudden gender confusion
· Child views a disproportionate number of videotapes/DVDs of horror movies/ heavy metal music
· Child plays love fantasy games. (Fantasy games have no rules or guidelines. They inspire creativity lacking boundaries. The player is allowed to lose the boundary between reality and fantasy).
· Child has an interest in computer.
· Child is fearful of things that bring happiness to other people like watching a beautiful sunset. He/she is openly hateful of Christians who are happy.
· Rejection of parental values.
· Child carries the Book of Shadows. This is their most important book of poetry, prose, spells, incantations, meeting places, important dates.
· Child starts to wear pale make-up and or dyes hair black.
· Draping hair across the left eye.
· Child displays a pre-occupation with black clothing.
Some of you may remember the article I posted a while back regarding Paganism in which I highlighted some of the misinformation Christianity likes to spread about paganism. (http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Pagans-satans-left-hand-women-20131129)
Here’s the full list of things to look out for:
I’m sure you’ll see the similarities between Christian propaganda and what the SAPS are asking people to look out for, not to mention how they equate various subcultures such as goth and emo to Satanism. Apparently, everything not lily-white Christian is automatically satanic.
Now, here is the scope of “crimes” that may be investigated by the unit. Read it and weep:
- Witchcraft-related offences, including black magic, witch finding and witch purging
- Traditional healers involved in criminal activities rooted in the occult
- Curses intended to cause harm
- The practice of voodoo intended to cause harm
- Vampirism and joint infringement of the Human Tissues Act
- Harmful cult behaviour that infringes on the rights of members of the movement
- Spiritual intimidation, including astral coercion
- Vandalism/graffiti leaving evidence that the motive is occult related
- Suicide leaving evidence of occult involvement
- Ritualistic abuse in a cult setting
- Allegations of rape by a tokoloshe spirit
- Animal mutilation and sacrifice leaving evidence of occult involvement
- Murder/human sacrifice leaving evidence of occult involvement
- Interpretation of occult "signatures" and paraphernalia at a crime scene
- Poltergeist phenomena (unexplained activities by paranormal disruptive entities)
Now I ask you, what can a bunch of born-again Christians objectively tell anyone about “poltergeist activity”, “the tokoloshe spirit”, or “interpretations of occult signatures” when they can’t even tell the difference between LaVeyan Satanism, paganism and the goth subculture? And all this done from a strictly Christian point of view. I might point out the obvious that most of those “signs” are hardly isolated to any kind of “occultism”.
And what is the media doing reporting a completely one-sided story fed to them by this unit without so much as questioning it? A unit that by its very nature is unconstitutional by in effect being a religious-based unit charged with investigating strictly non-christian practices…practices that aren’t even related to Satanism in any way? Clearly, the media is just as sadly deficient in solid information at the one-sided “experts on the occult” employed by this unit.