Chapter 19 – Stay or Go
Lieutenant Pieter Erasmus looked at the screen of his private mobile phone device, but there were no messages there. Then something made him reach into the left side pocket of his jeans and pull out his police sim card. He gently placed it in the slot of his mobile phone and closed the back panel.
Moments later, it sounded like the Lieutenant had wont the National Lottery. His phone began to make alert noises to inform that that text and other social media messages, as well as emails, were landing on his device.
Of course, most of the messages were from Colonel Jaap Cornelius and his police colleagues who were on the lookout for him. Did they really care about his wellbeing or were they more worried that he may be up to know-good?
It was not long before Pieter’s phone did ring, and he immediately recognised the number on the screen of the device.
Should he answer Jaap Cornelius’ call? If he did answer, would the cops track him down? Eventually, Pieter decided to take the call.
“Jaap, wat is jou storie (Jaap, what is your story)?” asked Pieter in more rhetoric fashion than anything else.
“Fok it, Erasmus, die hele wereld soek jou (fuck it, Erasmus, the whole world is looking for you),” replied Jaap.
“Luister, kry my by my skoonseun se woonstel op Garsfontein so ses uur vanaand. Ek het werk vir jou (listen, meet me at my son-in-law’s apartment in Garsfontein at about six o’clock this evening. I have some work for you).”
“Jaap, jy gaan my nie oorhandig nie gaan jy (Jaap, you are not going to hand me over, are you)?” asked the Lieutenant.
“Vertrou my, Erasmus (trust me, Erasmus), snapped Jaap and the call went dead.
Pieter knew exactly where’s Jaap’s son-in-law’s apartment was, but the question was how far could he trust his mentor or more to the point, was Jaap still his mentor? Or was a trap being set to take the Lieutenant down?
He immediately turned off his mobile phone and headed into a small hamburger shop where he found a table and ordered a cheeseburger and soft drink from the waitress. His gutfeel was telling him that Jaap Cornelius was playing fair. Surely, if the cops had wanted to track him down, they would not wait until 18h00 this evening?
Pieter and Jaap had often chatted about getting out of the police life and forming their own security firm.
There were big bucks to be made on this front. However, it was not quite as simple as it seemed. One needed to know the who is who of the business world. Then like most industries, along with the job came a sense of jealousy. Why would the big wigs contract Jaap and Pieter and not give the job to a black firm?
Since 1994, many black firms were formed as either fronts for white owners, or simply to cash in on lucrative deals. Delivering the service was often the challenge. Often the cheapest of bricks and cement would be used on buildings. The contractors knew that the structure would not last too long and they would be recalled soon to redo the job, receiving another good payday in the process.
Jaap and Pieter were old school in this regard. They believe that they were only as good as their last game and cherished their reputations in the workplace. They understood that the best form of advertising was via word-of-mouth.
Seated furthest from the door of the small shop, Pieter kept his eyes peeled on the entrance. What was he going to do if several cops walked through the door in search of him? He was not one to shy away from a fistfight. Still in prime condition, he fancied his chances of victory if it came to a slugging showdown.
Pieter’s pain threshold was very high, as was demonstrated when the intelligence unit tried to drown him and force him to reveal details of the plot on what he knew about the future South Africa (as detailed in Eric Blue’s debut novel, The Mandela Effect).
The waitress delivered the cheeseburger and soft-drink, and Pieter nodded in a way to say thank you, however his mind was elsewhere.
Deep down inside, he was still seething over the second disappearance of Lindiwe Buthelezi Jnr. Was he getting too old to be a cop? How could he let Lindiwe Jnr disappear from his grasp, not only once, but twice?
Why was Lindiwe Jnr so keen to ignore him? She must have heard his shouts when she was crossing the busy street. What about those two women who had been chatting to her? Suddenly those two claimed that they did not know who the black girl was.
Pieter felt like he was a part of a game of rugby. The only problem was that he was not playing but was the rugby ball. He was being kicked from one touchline to the next and was not enjoying it one bit.
Was Pieter losing his mind? Was the black girl really Lindiwe Jnr or someone who looked a lot like her? Pieter went through the various options in his mind as he took in a bite of his cheeseburger. Nothing was making any sense.
He had been absent without leave from his post at the police for two days now. Perhaps that was the reason why the cops were so keen to get hold of him? Was he blowing the Lindiwe Jnr drama out of proportion? Surely the South African Police Service had better things to do than to try and track down a crackpot Lieutenant whose girlfriend had disappeared into thin air in a blast in a pub?
Pieter glanced at the time on his mobile phone. It was 11h40 and there was still much time before he had to head off to meet up with Jaap Cornelius.
For a moment, Pieter took his eyes off the doorway and gazed up at a television screen in the top left corner of the shop above the cashier area. A news bulletin was being broadcast and although he could not hear the sound from where he was seated, he could make out a story being aired on the scene that had happened near the coffeeshop earlier.
He could clearly see the Afrikaner man’s face and how he had been manhandled by the blacks. The footage did not show the earlier part of how the altercation started or the white man’s firing of a pistol and throwing of a hand grenade.
If Pieter did not know any better, the story would have seemed to be bias, similar as to how the Apartheid regime controlled the news content in the Old South Africa.
Again, Pieter realised that the scene that had played out could so easily have involved him if he had carried out his hit on black people from the apartment overlooking the Lillian Ngcoyi Square in Pretoria. He was becoming more and more convinced that a force from above had jammed the chamber of the shot gun which had stopped him from assassinating black people on the square and pavement area below.
The television insert ended, and another white minority story was grabbing the headlines. He watched on as a clip was played about the two Boeremag members who had escaped from the grasp of the police and security force members in the Limpopo province.
Like Pieter, the two Boeremag members were trying to stay clear of the cops. The difference was that to the best of Pieter’s knowledge, he had not committed a crime, well not yet anyway.
Pieter felt his heart start to pump faster. It was a common reaction when he thought about what he hoped to achieve for the sake of the white people in the country. He continued to chew on his cheeseburger as he watched the rest of the insert on the Boeremag.
The hamburger shop had about ten people seated in it and the political mix was half black and half white. Just as the percentage was, there seemed to be some support and jeering for the Boeremag story.
The black staff working behind the counter felt that the Boeremag persons should be apprehended and locked away for life without parole, as they were a threat to all South Africans of colour.
Pieter overheard two white customers talking about the Boeremag and hoping that the men would carry out what several other whites only talked about, and never actioned.
“Jaag hulle see toe want hulle kan nie swem nie (chase them to the sea because they can’t swim),” said an Afrikaner woman to her husband, at the table nearest to the television.
A black man behind the counter glared at the woman, who clearly believed that black people would not understand the Afrikaans language.
Little did the woman know, but the ideology of chasing the blacks into the sea was a part of the Boeremag’s strategy, before several of their leaders were arrested and their ammunition got seized.
The plan that had been drafted seemed to be a ‘pie in the sky’ one. Little thought had been given as to how the military of the day would react. All had been put in place based on no defensive reaction from the South African police and army.
Another Afrikaner man, who was waiting for his takeaway hamburger meal, remarked: “Hardloop, Boeremag, hardloop (run Boeremag, run).”
It reminded Pieter of the Stander Gang bank robbers of the 1980s, when the public cheered them on to evade the cops.
The problem that the new South African military was facing in terms of right-wing groups such as the Boeremag, was that many of their members had been a part of the South African military prior to 1994. These people, who were largely Afrikaners, knew how to shoot weapons. Many had killed black people along the way and had never been held accountable for their deeds by the ANC government. Like the former National Party leaders in the Apartheid government, many of their troops had got off scot-free and life went on, while some black families had to live without loved ones or breadwinners.
Sharing had not been a part of the white South African’s life under Apartheid. Why should four million whites share ‘their’ country with 40-odd million blacks. Since the demise of Apartheid, the number of blacks living in South Africa had significantly increased. So too, had the crime rate, levels of unemployment and other aspects which has made the country make news headlines for all the wrong reasons.
To many conservative-minded white South Africans, African men were born with darker skin for them to survive the son when they worked the land. That was just it, according to many stubborn whites, the Africans were meant to work the land, not own it!
Of course, the ANC and other political parties who stood for the upliftment of the African lifestyle, would see it differently.
Nelson Mandela had been a lawyer, so why could other blacks not be lawyers too? It was clear that with South Africa having walked quite a distance down the road of democracy, a lot of learning still needed to happen for many members of the white minority to understand that they were actually members of a black country, not a white one.
Just like P.W Botha had struggled to envisage a black man sitting in the presidential seat the Union Buildings, many white people too, refused to believe that they were equal to the blacks. Equality meant sharing and that was simply not on, to many who have lived privileged lives under white minority rule.
Pieter’s mind went into scheming mode. He needed to stand up for his white brothers and sisters and make the blacks realise that the whites still had a major role to play in South Africa. Without the whites, thought Pieter, the country was destined to be a disaster sooner rather than later.
He did not need to think too hard to come up with just how he would action his masterplan. What he needed was the right opportunity at the right time. He needed to pass through a doorway that would take him to his destiny.
Who knows, perhaps tonight’s meeting with Jaap will give him that opportunity. The Lieutenant could not stop wondering about what the evening meeting would be about. Was Jaap a secret Boeremag member and set to recruit Pieter? Anything was possible now.
One of the main reasons why Pieter was keen on working alone on his plot, was because he found many of his white brothers to be untrustworthy. The raid on the farm where the Boeremag had been hiding in the Limpopo province was an example of this. How did the cops know that the Boeremag were in hiding there? Simple, some white people spoke out when they should not have.
Pieter realised that he needed to tread cautiously and be careful what he said, even when it came to speaking to Jaap.
He was fully aware that many walls had ears and eyes, and nobody could be trusted.
Many of the whites did not mind selling out their brothers if it meant that they could live peacefully. Then Pieter had a shocking thought. If black and white people had moved so far apart in the New South Africa, was this the reason why Lindiwe Buthelezi Jnr had ignored him at the traffic light? Was there now a fence between black and white like it had been in the Apartheid days?
Was Apartheid being reinvented and reinstalled either officially by the ANC government through its Black Economic Empowerment policies or by other forces that were playing smaller roles on the political terrain?
Pieter scratched his head. Everything had been so good with Lindiwe Jnr up until recently, what had now changed?
After all these thoughts, he hoped that Jaap had not converted his mind to the New South Africa too. The last thing that Pieter wanted was to spend his evening with a table of blacks who would promise him the world and deliver little.
Surely Jaap would not sell his soul to the devil, even if he was on the brink of retirement? Jaap’s parents had been right wing Afrikaner Broerderbond people. The Broerderbond was an elitist group for Nationalist-mind Afrikaner businessmen).
Then again, Pieter was fully aware how some New National Party people like Marthinus van Schalkwyk had changed to the ruling party with effortless ease.
Other Nationalists had stood firm true to the pulse of their upbringing and had been swiftly swept aside from South African politics into early retirement as the new regime asserted itself.
No, he was sure that Jaap was a conservative-minded cop to the core. Then again, every man had his price!
Lieutenant Pieter Erasmus had no price tag on his soul. He was a man on a mission to safeguard the future of the white minority and if he perished in the process, then so be it. He was sure that his God would smile on Him when he got to the foot of the White Throne of Judgement one day!