The best of South African literature
THE Blue Bulls rugby player who was the subject of a murder plot has finally admitted to having sex with 47-year-old Manda Reyneke, his girlfriend’s mother who then became so obsessed with him that she hired two hitmen to kill him.
Reyneke was arrested in November 2010 after the hitmen contacted rugby player Deon Helberg about the plot. The three, together with the police, than staged a scene to make it appear that Helberg had been shot.
Helberg has always maintained that Reyneke was obsessed with him and had made sexual advances towards him, but that they never had an affair.
But in a recent 15-minute segment on Australia’s 60 Minutes show, the Pretoria University student finally admitted that he did have sex with Reyneke – more than once – starting in August 2007.
He said on the show that Reyneke had asked him if he had ever had a fantasy about sleeping with an older woman. Asked by the interviewer if that was when the sex began, he replies: “Ja, pretty much.”
Also featured in the segment is the room at the Wishes and Dreams Lodge, outside Pretoria, where the two first had sex.
On the show, Reyneke describes it as romantic, adding: “I do not have bad memories of that night.”
But Helberg says that after the first sexual encounter he felt guilty, and tried to end it, saying he was “over it.” But he claims Reyneke told him she would tell her daughter Jalien if he did not continue the affair. Reyneke admits she did say this once, but adds: “Deon was never raped, he came to me willingly.”
Helberg counters: “I was too scared to say no.” But Reyneke says in the interview that she fell in love with Helberg, and was “addicted to Deon”.
Asked whether she loved him more than she loved her daughter, she replies: “At that stage, yes.”
She also claims that she never wanted to have Helberg killed, and had asked only that his knee be damaged so that he could no longer play rugby. “A dead person cannot get up every morning and feel the hurt that we were feeling,” she says.
Her daughter Jalien, who also appears on the show, has since patched up her relationship with her mother, who struck a deal with prosecutors and received a suspended sentence.
Jalien, an international model, found out about the affair after discovering a letter from Helberg to her mother, trying to end the affair, and reading her mother’s diary which was filled with the lurid details of their relationship.
She says on the show: “I really, really, really loved Deon.”