Magnus Malan, one of those implicated in Chris Steyn and Mark Minnie's book The Lost Boys of Bird Island, which lifts the lid on an alleged paedophile ring of apartheid ministers. Picture: Michael Walker

Johannesburg - A top-level police investigation into allegations of a paedophile ring involving senior members of the National Party government is underway, Tafelberg Publishers has said. 

The allegations are contained in the book The Lost Boys of Bird Island, written by former police officer Mark Minnie and journalist Chris Steyn.

Tafelberg Publishers, publishers of the book, said the probe comes after several people with knowledge of the alleged paedophile ring provided "valuable information" to the police.

"A number of victims have come forward and have given written statements of alleged sexual abuse related to the allegations in the book.

"Tafelberg approached the South African Police Service (SAPS) on September 6 with new information which had come to light after the publication of the book. 

The police then opened an investigation, led by the Western Cape head of the Family Violence Unit Brigadier Sonja Harri. 

Tafelberg added that The Foundation for Human Rights is also investigating the matter and have briefed a forensic expert to examine Minnie’s body to determine the circumstances around his death. 

"The finding of the forensic expert was inconclusive. The initial report of the investigator commissioned by the Foundation to trace witnesses mentioned in the book has been handed to the SAPS Child Protection Unit," Tafelberg said.

The publishers explained that news of the police investigation had been kept quiet until now to provide investigators space to do their work. 

"During this time Tafelberg and Steyn did not release any new information to the media so as not to compromise the work of the police.

"Both the publisher and author are grateful to the police for being prepared to devote scarce resources to a cold case of over 30 years.The investigation is ongoing," Tafelberg added.

The Lost Boys of Bird Island contains chilling accounts of alleged sexual abuse of coloured teenagers by a ring including late, ex-South African Defence Force head, Magnus Malan, late businessman Dave Allen and late environmental affairs minister Mark Wiley.

It claims that the boys were flown to Bird Island, outside Port Elizabeth, by military helicopters where they were allegedly sexually assaulted.

In August, the book's co-author Minnie was found dead on a small holding, outside Port Elizabeth early with a gun shot to his head.

Since then, Tafelberg says Steyn has been subjected to repeated attempts at intimidation. 

"Despite this, Steyn has continued investigating and following up on leads. She has co‐operated fully with the police probe from the start.

"The author has been obtaining permission from sources to share their identities with the police, and she has also been convincing people to make statements and give affidavits."

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