Raymond Buys, shortly before he died
The Vereeniging Regional Court has heard shocking testimony about the death of a teenager at a ranger training camp that sought to turn him into a “real man” and also sought to remove feminine traits from young men so that they would not be gay.
Volksblad reported that camp owner Alex de Koker (49) and employee Michael Erasmus (20) are facing charges of murder, child abuse, neglect and assault with intent to cause serious physical injury.
They have been accused of the murder of Raymond Buys (15) in 2011 at the camp, located to the south of Johannesburg.
On Tuesday, Gerhard Oosthuizen (19), who shared a tent with the dead teenager at the camp, gave disturbing testimony about the abuse that Buys suffered.
He told the court that the teen, who was very weak, was forced to do manual labour and that he was beaten with planks, pipes, sticks, a shovel and a hose when he didn’t do his work correctly.
When he was caught defecating in a field, he was allegedly forced to eat his own faeces. He was also alleged to have been forced to eat washing powder, causing him to vomit and be ill for weeks.
Oosthuizen claimed that Buys was chained to his bed and was not allowed to go to the toilet.
He also testified that he had seen a naked Buys, who was tied to a chair with his head covered with a pillowcase, being shocked with a taser by Erasmus and de Koker.
“He screamed … I was scared and ran away,” said Oosthuizen.
An emaciated and dehydrated Buys was eventually admitted into hospital with brain damage, a broken arm, bruises and cigarette burns on his body. He died two weeks later.
Buys’ mother has said that she had sent him to the three month camp, which cost R22,000, to make him “a better man”. The camp had claimed that it could “make men” of its young wards.
Shockingly, it’s been reported by the Rapport newspaper that two other young men had previously died at the hands of De Koker.
In 2007, Erich Calitz (18) died from brain injuries suffered at the camp while Nicholas van der Walt (19) died at the same camp held in the Northwest province.
Calitz’s sister, Mathilda Groenwald, told the Star newspaper that when her brother tried to leave the camp after being beaten, De Koker “told him that he wasn’t a moffie [gay] and he would make a man out of him”.
De Koker was given a suspended sentence in 2009 over Calitz’s death and was never charged for Van der Walt’s death.
The trial is set to continue next week.