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Open letter to police commissioner

09 November 2012, 10:00

Dear News24

I refer to your article "Serial killer of gay men real - police" of 8 Nov. 2012.

The LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex) community has been begging for help for a few years now. To us, it was as clear as daylight that a serial killer was on the loose.

The following letter I wrote at the beginning of the year (See the name of the then Police Commissioner in the heading) already. Nothing came of it.


From Coenie Kukkuk

There are now seven. Remember these names – because they will be coming back to haunt us. And you.

Manolis Veloudos
Jim Cathels
Oscar O’Hara
Siphiwe Selby Nhlapo
A 47-year old unnamed landlord
Barney van Heerden (a friend of the writer)
Jason Wessenaar

And now, a possible eigth - Thebe Mogamisi who has been reported as missing as from 31 December 2011. He travelled to Johannesburg from his hometown of Bloemfontein to meet a “Sipho” – whom he has met online. Not to be heard from again.

These men were from all walks of life, and from mostly all population groups. They really had only three things in common – they were gay, they were active on gay online dating sites and it seems that they were friendly to or knew their attacker.

Oh, there is another thing the first six (and most probably the 7th, Thebe) have in common.

They are dead. Murdered.

Now I have been in the law for two decades. I have been involved in many true-life horror cases – like the notorious “Kaalvoet Thysie”-case of the nineties, in which that murder accused was also alleged to have assassinated Prof. Johan Heyns. I followed many cases through the years in the newspapers and on the internet. I have studied many murder cases – and serial murders as well.

I know in my gut when I smell a rat. And I smell a big one. A big, dead, rotting carcass – and it has a name: POLICE INEPTITUDE.

In ANY police force anywhere in the world that can call itself something resembling “effective” alarm bells would have been ringing. Loudly so.

But not in South Africa. No, here it is dismissed with an obnoxious “it is not related”. My god! HOW do you know? How do you know if a proper task team has not been appointed? When proper forensic investigations were not done? When a case with so many similarities to another six unsolved murders is buried amongst thousands of other “missing persons” reports in Bloemfontein? When the six different investigating officers have not even met once? When a seventh, in Thebe’s case, has probably not even been appointed yet? When we have to hear about it from the media – who, like the commendable The Star, is doing the investigation work?

The facts are screaming at you – YOU Commissioner and YOU Ministers!


I am angry yes. I am upset. I feel like screaming it from the rooftops. I feel like busting your security and your motor cavalcades and shove their photos in your faces.

But I will not. It will not solve anything.

I will try to calm down and ask the commissioner and the ministers again: act.



It has now been admitted by the SAPS that only one investigating officer is working on the case. Family of one of my friends Barney van Heerden, murdered by this man, have even gone so far as to appoint private investigators. Did police consult with them? Did the SAPS call for a community briefing? Did the SAPS ask people through the many LGBTI media - online and print - to contact this lone Captain dealing with the case if they know something? No to all of the above. We don't even know his name.

If it wasn't for the questions of the DA in parliament, this would not even have hit the mainstream press because too many straight folk still view LGBTIs as second-rate citizens.

Well, we have news for them. We are not second-rate citizens. We are lawyers, teachers, engineers, doctors, truck drivers, mine labourers - you name it. We even have our unemployed and our hobos. We are the same as you. In every sphere of society and in every race, age group or class LGBTI are represented. And the Constitution of this country guarantees our rights - whatever certain people's feelings towards us are.

We are being assaulted and murdered - not only by this serial killer, but black lesbians in the townships and elsewhere, effeminate - and even butch - gay men; and transsexuals and intersex people. Hate crimes abound. We have horror stories to tell.

Do something. We are also South Africans.

We bleed the same red blood as you.

- Coenie Kukkuk
Director Africa & Middle East: Mr Gay World; Director Legal & Media Mr. Gay South Africa; Pink Loerie Organising Commitee member.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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