Residents want Gert van Rooyen, Joey Haarhoff’s ’house of horrors’ to be house of hope
Share this article:
Pretoria - Residents of the Moot want what came to be known as the “House of Horrors” in the 1980s to be turned into a house of hope in order to eradicate the dark history associated with it.
The house in Malherbe Street, Capital Park, gained notoriety when couple Cornelius Gerhardus van Rooyen – also known as Gert van Rooyen – and alleged accomplice Joey Haarhoff allegedly killed at least six girls between 1988 and 1989 and trafficked others.
Van Rooyen shot Haarhoff and then himself in his car to end a police chase in Van der Hoff Road, west of Pretoria, and before it could be established what happened to the girls.
The house was demolished and all that remains now is long grass and weeds.
The couple were accused of being involved in a spree of child kidnappings and possible killings after they were thought to have abducted and murdered at least six young girls.
According to evidence given by Van Rooyen’s son Flippie after their death, the girls had been killed as part of satanic rituals and their bodies burnt with acid.
He also said they had been taken to the Middle East, alleging too that three then National Party ministers had been involved in a child smuggling network with his father, which involved selling girls for cash.
However, no grounds were found for these claims.
During the height of investigations a private investigator said he had found witnesses who spotted the man prowling the streets of Pietermaritzburg and Durban, where some of the teenagers disappeared.
In 1979 Van Rooyen had also been accused of abducting two girls aged 10 and 13 from Durban and forcing them to perform sexual acts before releasing them in Pretoria.
He was arrested shortly thereafter and convicted on charges of abduction, sexual assault and common assault of the girls, to serve three years of his four-year sentence.
No closure was ever given to the families of the six, and recently a woman who now lives in England came forward after being silent for 39 years, to tell how she escaped the clutches of the notorious paedophile and murderer Van Rooyen.
At the time of the incident, the now 51-year-old said she was living in Redhill, Durban north, and was almost taken by the man.
Residents of Capital Park at the weekend claimed that for the past 30 years police had been promising to turn the house into a centre for children and women who were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence and abuse. However, this had not happened.
Capital Park Residents and Ratepayers Association chairperson Mike Burt said they initiated a process to turn the home around before lockdown, but everything then came to a standstill.
He added that as a community they had been trying to turn the house into a crisis centre, but the state had not assisted them.
“We emailed records to Parliament and applied for the property to be transferred to us (as residents) so that we can start with the arrangements,” Burt said.
Another concerned resident, who asked not to be named, said a proper, forensic investigation needed to be done on the property so that the case could be solved.
“It has been many years and parents need to know what happened to their children. Using the right technology, maybe the police can even find the remains of these children should it be that maybe Gert killed and buried them in his yard,” he said. The SAPS had not reponded by late yesterday.