Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
28 May 2007

Is Grindrod prostitute really Juan Uys/Neil Watson?

Patricia de Lille was rather upset when she read the Blog of an alleged prostitute who claimed that Simon Grindrod and other minor celebrities had paid him to have sex with them. Because the Blog was written anonymously, she said it would be very difficult if not impossible to track down the person who wrote the Blog.

But I think it may not be too difficult to identify the man who has written the offending Blog entries. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that Patricia is really looking for a man who calls himself Juan Duval Uys or David Baxter and more recently Neil Watson.

“Neil Watson” was the founder of the Crime Expo South Africa (Cesa) website, which was heavily criticised for its negative portrayal of South Africa and its efforts to discourage tourism and investment. He was exposed by The Citizen newspaper as a charlatan and most possible a fraudster. The article also strongly hinted that Watson and Uys was the same person.

Uys became notorious in the gay community after founding the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GLA) in 1999. In fact, there was never really an alliance – merely a publicity hungry man with a fax machine.

Mr. Uys made further headlines when he claimed that his organisation had recruited more than 100 gay men to donate blood to the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) without disclosing their sexual history – and that at least one of the men had Aids.

The press ombudsman criticised The Saturday Star for publishing these claims without checking the facts, stating that it was essential for a newspaper to question the credentials of informants and the validity of claims they make. It was clear that Mr Uys’ claims could not be substantiated.

It was therefore no surprise when The Citizen exposed Uys/Watson. Money quote:

Watson claims in the e-mail that “the Uys guy who is supporting us a lot” would be willing to cash cheques from the UK via his account at Standard Bank. In the e-mail Watson states: “Let them make the cheques to JD Uys.”

And the founder of eblockwatch, a neighbourhood networking system, circulated an e-mail to his members asking for the real Neil Watson to identify himself. The letter by eblockwatch’s Andr‚ Snyman was met with a scathing article on the Cesa website, accusing Snyman of sexual impropriety. Snyman laughed off the accusations, telling The Citizen he had previously indicated he wanted to work with Cesa to find solutions to the country’s crime problems. Snyman said despite requests to meet Watson in person, Watson had refused.

Uys, leader of the GLA, was arrested in Pretoria in 1999 for possession of child pornography and prostituting under-aged boys. This after he registered as a candidate in the local elections. Uys failed to pay the election registration fee, claiming his house had burned down, allegedly with the deposit money. In a remarkable similarity, Watson has told numerous people his house burnt down several years ago while he was living in Johannesburg.

Newspaper reports stated that the police was on the brink of arresting him for the crime website fraud, but this never happened. Of course, most relevant for the present is the fact that Simon Grindrod had laid a charge against Uys/Watson with the Commercial Crimes Unit because of allegations that the money from the crime website went into Mr Uys’ pockets. That would explain the post from the male prostitute about Grindrod. The websites’ sensational claims that new posts will appear within 24 hours, is also a classic Uys tactic.

It would be interesting to see whether the new website is hosted by the same company as the crime website.

Newspapers had also previously reported that Uys was involved in the running of a gay massage parlour. He also claimed after the Sizzlers massacre in which nine sex workers were killed, that the GLA had alerted the city council that the owner of Sizzlers did not have a licence.

Maybe I am wrong and these are not all the same person. Maybe Father Christmas lives in the North Pole and Elvis lives. Who knows?

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