To make sure they got their pictures of the house in time and perhaps in the process unearth even further revelations, Media24 send Maygene de Wee, their leading reporter on “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” saga, as well as an experienced photographer from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. They would pick up Mark Minnie in Port Elizabeth to travel with them to Witelsbos on Friday, 10 August 2018, where Du Plessis allegedly had owned or rented a house which Minnie in detail described in “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” as a crime scene.

Mark Minnie offers William Hart aka Tommy Case R1,000.00

In a sworn affidavit by William Heart, Mark Minnie on Thursday 9 August 2018 offered him one thousand Rand if the next day, Friday 10 August 2018, Heart would go with him to Witelsbos to show him the house where, as falsely alleged in “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”, he and other boys purportedly had been sexually abused by Dave Allen and “other uncles”. Heart refused, saying that he would not be able to find the house and that only he and David Allen were there anyway. Minnie would not accept this. (see paragraphs 19 and 20 in affidavit of Thomas Case aka William Hart)

The lost boys of bird island - Maygene De Wee

Maygene de Wee

In an article on News24 by Maygene de Wee, titled “My 8 hours with Mark Minnie, 3 Days Before his Death”, she reported that she, Mark Minnie and photographer Lulama Zenzile left Port Elizabeth on Friday 10 August 2020, for the “Tsitsikamma region”, to photograph the house of “The Third Minister”.

Their enquiries were about the Barend du Plessis house, not that of “The Third Minister”, in violation of Legal Adviser Willem de Klerk’s prohibition against Media24/Naspers Group revealing that he was Barend du Plessis, for fear of Court action. They were supposed to have waited until “other” sources had revealed the identity of “The Third Minister” first.

They spent an hour or two in the Witelsbos area, searching in vain for the the “Barend du Plessis” house. They did not find it because he never had owned or rented a house in Witelsbos. Inevitably, Maygene de Wee and her passenger, Mark Minnie, simply had no chance ever finding the imaginary house in Witelsbos, that he so vividly described in his and Chris Steyn’s fraudulent book, “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”.

The De Wee party then turned back to PE. Some fifteen kilometres further, they stopped at a farm stall and asked about Barend du Plessis and because, Du Plessis was known there, they obtained directions to the area where his holiday home actually is.

Minnie stayed behind on the farm stall veranda. After further driving around on farm roads, eventually, De Wee and the photographer found the correct track to the small, private group of holiday homes on the coast where Barend du Plessis’ house was. When approaching the caretaker’s home and electric security gate, in full view of the caretaker and other employees standing around, she slipped into the property, unlawfully tailgating an owner’s family member’s vehicle through the security gate and down the hill to the houses. (Affidavit)

Trespassing Barend du Plessis’ holiday home property illegally.

Arriving among the houses, arranged in quite close proximity to one another and sharing a large open common area to the coastline, De Wee approached the person whom she tailgated. She said she was from the media and asked him to indicate Barend du Plessis’ house to her, because she had to take pictures of it. He replied that strangers were not allowed on the property or to take pictures of the houses and asked her to leave.

Back on the hill, at the caretaker’s house, she interrogated him about helicopters picking up Du Plessis to go to an island to abuse “our Coloured People’s” boys as described in “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”. (Affidavit)

He replied that no helicopter had ever landed there in his more than twenty years of working there and refused to let her take photographs of the houses from above. He requested her to leave the premises, which she did, but she nevertheless had had a very good look around.

Minnie was picked up at the farm stall and they returned to Port Elizabeth. At some time, De Wee had to break the news to Minnie, that Barend du Plessis’ real house, not at all resembled what he and Chris Steyn had described in “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” as a secluded place in Witelsbos where “behind walls” the alleged atrocities had taken place.

Barend du Plessis’ house was at least twenty-five kilometres away from Witelsbos, and Witelsbos some seventy-five kilometres away from Jeffrey’s Bay. Mark Minnie had employed a mass of fabrications and falsehoods in moving the focus of the book away from Bird Island to “the house of Barend du Plessis in Witelsbos”, via a fictitious “house friend” of Du Plessis’ in Jeffrey’s Bay. Minnie all along had known that his description of the house and its location in Witelsbos had been figments of his imagination. During this deceptive trip with De Wee, he obviously nevertheless had hoped that Du Plessis indeed once had owned or rented a house in Witelsbos and that he could get away with “finding” a house more or less answering to the one he had described in “The Lost Boys of Bird Island”. Clearly, his lies began catching up with him.

Mark Minnie committed suicide three days after the trip to Witelsbos.

Following the trip to Witelsbos and brief visit to the location of Barend du Plessis’ holiday home, Maygene de Wee for long persisted with her aggressive and vicious reporting on the News24 and Netwerk24 platforms against Barend du Plessis and the late Magnus Malan and John Wiley. It seemed that Mark Minnie and Chris Steyn’s fraud, fabrications and lies so dramatically revealed by her and Minnie’s trip to Witelsbos, had made no impression at all on her judgement and conscience as a journalist, or as a person.