Chris Steyn talks about her book "Lost Boys of Bird Island" Picture:Zanele Zulu/African News Agency(ANA)
Durban - WHEN Chris Steyn, co-author of the controversial book The Lost Boys of Bird Island walked into a room for a lie detector test, she felt her life would depend on the outcome.

“Nobody will take a recipe from me if I am the kind of person who makes up a book.”

The result of the test, conducted by Raymond Nelson, past president of the American Polygraph Association, worked out in her favour.

Steyn, who was in Durban yesterday to participate in the Articulate Africa Book and Art Fair, said her detractors, like former top cop General Johan van der Merwe, who had been the first to recommend she take such a test, did not believe she would take a lie detector test.

She, herself, did not believe she would either.

“My publisher said it was not necessary. People close to me said so too.

“He obviously thought it was a valid way to test my credibility,” she said of Van der Merwe, the former head of the Security Branch and later Commissioner of Police who was “outraged” by the book.

Referring to general criticism she had received about the validity of poly- graphs - not directly from Van der Merwe - she asked: “Are the goalposts being moved?

“What would they like me to undergo now? Old-style interrogation?”

One Facebook post read that poly- graphing was not a way to establish the credibility of the book.

“Firstly, it’s an extremely questionable way of establishing if someone is telling the truth (arguably, pseudoscientific, and its results shouldn’t be admissible in court); and, secondly, show the evidence to support the claims in the book, not whether or not the authors believe they have the evidence.”

Speaking to The Independent on Saturday, Steyn stressed that she did not pretend to have evidence that former defence minister Magnus Malan, former environment minister John Wylie and businessman Dave Allen were involved in a paedophile ring.

“I don’t pretend to have evidence, we call for it,” she said.

“There is not a single claim or accusation. I just reported allegations, a simple job of journalism.”

She further pointed out that three people involved - Wylie, Allen and co-author Mike Minnie - had all died unnatural deaths.

“The cop who arrested Allen, Wylie who was implicated and Wylie himself. All three are dead, unnaturally.

“You don’t just die (unnaturally) for nothing.”

Steyn added that since the book had been published, she had continued to receive leads she passes on to police.

“I have identified and located two potential victims. They have come to me post-publication.”

She also stressed that her reason for not having more evidence was that the case docket had gone missing from the office of her co-author Minnie when he was the policeman on the case.

“A police colonel said in an interview (with Rapport) that (former President) PW (Botha) wanted the docket on his desk. He wasn’t a source of ours prior to the investigation. I wish we had that information If we could have done the book better, with more information, we would have.”

Steyn said the last thing Minnie had said to her before he died - believed to be by suicide eight days after the book was published - was that she should continue the investigation.

Quoting her late co-author on the last page, she said: “To the Lost Boys, I am sorry. I am sorry that you were failed by society and that you were failed by society and the system. We can never be forgiven.

“Nor can we allow these adults, these men who abuse children, to carry on living without fear of being found out and convicted.”

Steyn sat on a panel at the fair alongside fellow authors Terry Bell (Unfinished Business - South Africa, Apartheid and the Truth), Mojalefa Dipholo (The Other Side of Freedom) and former Constitutional Court judge Albie Sachs who delved into atrocities committed before 1994.

Independent On Saturday