The controversial death of crimefighter Benno Fourie. 25 November 2010 By Dolf Dreyer
KOSMOS - HARTBEESPOORT DAM - SOUTH AFRICA
In their valedictory, Benno Fourie’s brother and law and his sister only saw a public spirited do-gooder who concerned himself with the security of the Kosmos community.
Others saw a person who suddenly burst on the Kosmos scene earlier this year and allowed himself to be used in a leading role in dismantling the successful existing Kosmos Security Committee (KSC) to be replaced by a new committee, which saw crime return to Kosmos within a month.
It has only now been made public that Benno Fourie had been involved in a serious vehicle accident three years ago and that a plate inserted into his head caused such extreme pain to the extent that he mistook ant poison for medication and so took his own life. It is also well-known that accident or war victims who had plates inserted into their heads suffer both psychological and physical consequences and in that light there is now understanding for the “strange behaviour” Benno Fourie displayed at times.
But it is difficult to understand that his associates in the quest to dismantle the KSC did not grasp that when they used and manipulated him unscrupulously in the role he played to destroy a successful community organisation.
It should have been obvious he was easy to manipulate
Surely whoever wrote on behalf of the KRRA that Benno Fourie “died suddenly after a short illness” knew how he died as they should also have known from early in their acquaintance with him that he had psychological as well as physical problems. It should have been patently obvious he was easy to manipulate in order to attain nefarious ends, but to have done so, would have required unparalleled ruthlessness.
Benno Fourie was given a leading role in orchestrating accusations against Captain Hans van Manen and Mr. Daniel Mlambo, a police reservist, who operated an experimental Induna block watch in Kosmos under the auspices of the KSC and which brought crime in the village down to zero for four months.
A bulky report of an ‘investigation’ was concocted with the help of a CPF member and handed to the SAPS at Hartbeespoort. The quality of the investigation is such that in nearly six months since it was handed to the Station Commissioner it has come to nought, except that its primary aim was achieved; the destruction of the Induna block watch of the KSC. This was followed soon afterwards by the collapse of the KSC itself which was reconstituted by a new committee with hand-picked members.
Benno Fourie was employed by EC Security
Benno Fourie played a leading role in this investigation by coercing members of the Induna block watch and some other locals, who do not value their own veracity highly, to make false sworn statements against van Manen and Mlambo. He was also instrumental in introducing to the KSC, EC Security,
the company managing the guards at Kosmos gate, by whom he was apparently employed.Initially EC also employed Mr. Joseph Chikamhi, a security officer registered by PSIRA* since 1996, as gate supervisor. Chikamhi left after a month due to “work circumstances” but also because he had been persistently pressurised by Fourie and some other members of the new security committee to make sworn statements against Van Manen and Mlambo at Hartbeespoort Police Station as well as a meeting at Van Gaalen Cheese Farm where a meeting was held with the CPF member.
“I refused to make a sworn statement I knew was not true…”
Chikamhi told MadibengPulse: “I refused to make sworn statements that I knew was not true, because I had been in the SA Defence Force from 1980 to 1995 and a member of PSIRA since 1996 and I know the seriousness of the offence to swear to a statement that is untrue. Other members of the old Induna watch were also coerced into making false statement with promises of better jobs and which they subsequently regretted.
“All those people wanted to do was to take over Kosmos security because they thought money could be made out of it,” Chikamhi said, “there could have been no other reasons because the old security was running very well.”
According to Capt. Hans van Manen, the Induna Block Watch was started as an experiment, and if it worked it would have been formalised. “But before we
could do that, we had these false statements made against it about being procedurally illegal and also that the Indunas were acting as vigilantes.
“Benno Fourie volunteered to help organise the Indunas but we received complaints that he would have a drinking sessions with the Indunas before their shifts started and one night they went to a drinking place near Damdoryn because they ran out of beer. They only started working at three to four o’clock in the morning.
“Because of this, the chairman of KSC, Cees van Velze, and I asked him to leave. Since then, he had his knife in for me and for Daniel Mlambo who took over the supervision of the Indunas,” according to Hans van Manen.
One night, according to Joseph Chikamhi, Benno Fourie had a fight with Daniel Mlambo and afterwards he woke up the whole neighbourhood shouting and hooting as he and one of the gate staff drove down Simon Bekker Avenue in a golf cart to Mariners Village looking for Mlambo. When he did not find him there, he made a phone call to Capt. Hans van Manen saying: “Daniel must get out of Kosmos or he’ll be taken out.”
“From the start I could see that he was ‘strange’ and probably mentally disturbed but they took advantage of him,” Joseph Chikamhi said. “When the Indunas stopped, which is what they wanted, and I started my own block watch business, Benno started targeting me.
“In September he phoned me and said he wanted to talk to me about something and I arranged to meet him at the Damdoryn Post Office. There he said he had heard I had started a new security company and demanded to see my PSIRA certificate.
“He said I couldn’t do the job because I wasn’t registered,” Joseph told MadibengPulse. “I told him that my papers had nothing to do with him, only with my clients, and that while I have the necessary papers, he was the one who
was doing security work without being registered - exactly the offence he accused the Indunas of.
“He controlled the EC staff and placed security staff at residents’ homes while he was not registered to do so. He phoned someone and handed the phone to me saying ‘the chairman wants to speak to you’ referring to the chairman of the Sector 3 CPF, and I told him I didn’t have anything to say to the man, and he’d better get his own papers in order or I’ll report him to PSIRA. “He then told me to get out of security in Kosmos or… and he drew his finger across his throat,” Chikamhi said.
“But listening to what the people were saying was that he drinks and dances on weekends with criminals in an Orange Farm shebeen and then turns on them and starts arresting them. He can’t arrest anybody, they said, he’s not a policeman.
It could have been an ugly situation for Kosmos people if the police did not turn up in time,” Chikamhi said.
On another occasion the son of a wheelchair bound octogenarian warned Fourie to stay away from her, because he befriended her, plied her with liquor and then rummaged through her private documents.
He answered the accusation from a resident that he endangered everybody’s security by plying the Indunas with alcohol before they go on duty, by saying that he gave them alcohol so that he could pump them for information.
“I had not heard from him for some time until he phoned me out of the blue on Saturday 12th November at about eleven thirty in the evening. He had a
friendly and a slightly drunk tone and I was surprised because the only time he had phoned me before was to threaten me.
“He asked me if I wanted to make a quick R2 000 which he would give me if I could supply him with an illegal gun. I told him I am not the sort of person to be in possession of an illegal firearm. I didn’t even have a legal firearm. “I asked him what he wanted the gun for and he said I shouldn’t ask because it was a private matter,” Chikamhi said.
“At the time I suspected that he was setting a trap for me to get me into trouble, but when I later heard what had happened, I realised he wanted to commit suicide with the gun.”
There were other complaints by residents about Benno Fourie’s behaviour. A few weeks after the closure of the Induna block watch, crime started in Kosmos again and in one week there were several incidents.
A house was broken into in Paul Kruger Street and it was reported to the police. Benno Fourie called on the owners and the wife told him that is what they got from destroying the block watch which brought the crime rate down to zero. Then Fourie started sending the victim sms’s saying they’re causing trouble because it was just a minor incident. “I received four messages from him on one day and I felt very intimidated. We made up our minds to go to the police if the sms’s continued and then I received a message the next day apologising saying he won’t sms me again.”
Joseph Chikamhi substantiated his contention that Benno Fourie had been manipulated by members of the security committee who took over from the KSC because on several occasion when he was pressurised to make false statements certain members of the new security members were present and joined in intimidating him.
Chikamhi said: “On one occasion there was a procession of cars ‘to go and speak to the head of detectives’ at the police station and Benno Fourie all but forced me into one of the cars to join them. But I stuck to my guns saying I cannot make statements about things which I know to be untrue.
“They called me the rubber stamp of Capt. Van Manen, which was also untrue because apart from the fact that I didn’t want to make false statements about him, I had nothing to do with him.
There would be no point in posthumously maligning such a pathetic character if his involvement in the security of Kosmos wasn’t considered to be menacing to residents as well. In one respect it’s a pity that the bulky report on the Van Eck investigation went no further because that would have provided the opportunity for showing Benno Fourie’s co-conspirators up for that they really are.
There is no doubt in Joseph Chikamhi’s mind that Benno Fourie had one mission, however misguided; to promote the security of Kosmos as a business for himself and his associates. While Chikamhi was still working for EC Security at the gate Fourie told him: “You can see how I am working now, I’m in the committee and also in EC and they have to look after me otherwise I’ll close everything down.”
So, even while the KRRA and the new security committee divided the community, they themselves seem to be divided. In a recent newsletter which they diligently try to keep away from MadibengPulse,a sanctimonious headline read: “The KRRA is not divided.” Perhaps of all their statements that at least is true because it is the community that is divided – and will be so for a long time to come.
Benno Fourie was the arch typical Shakespearean character whose circumstances deserve pity, except that as the instrument of secret machinations, the mischief he helped create lives on. That is what the community should remain aware of.
Controversial Kosmos Resident Benno Fourie Dies After Poisoning Lands Him In Hospital ...
enno Fourie (41), involved with the Kosmos security since February this year, died in the Brits Medi Clinic last Monday night from cardiac arrest following a collapse of his lungs. He was discovered at home with breathing problems by a business associate and rushed to hospital. His brother in law, Mr Bertus Steenkamp, wrote a tribute to Benno as well as describing the sequence of events leading to the unexpected death of the father of two young children. Steenkamp prefaced his tribute with the following advisory when we requested the facts surrounding his brother- in- law’s death:
“I have done exactly what you requested. I gave you the facts 100%. I therefore EXPECT a 100% factual publication. If not, please discard this effort in totality and do your own scoop. “If you wonder about Benno’s real character, and if your paper is REALLY interested about the heart of this ‘scoop’ then I invite you to attend the service at Doxa Church (Xanadu) at 11 o’ clock this morning (Friday 19). People that knew him for 20 to 30 years will attend and perhaps share a last memory/honour to him.
“This lad caused much irritation ….”
“Benno was involved since February 2010 in Kosmos Village regarding security issues and informal investigations. This was apart from his business interest on the East Rand. He leaves his companion Charlene and two children, Devone, 11, and Daveyn, four, behind. It is with sadness that we won’t see his dark Audi TT anymore patrolling the streets of Kosmos at night. “This lad caused much irritation in the lives of a number of people in Kosmos….but in the same breath he became an entrusted ‘workhorse’ and friend to MANY others. Always available, ready to sort out yet another security hassle.
”His work came first regardless of the claim it placed on his family or social life. Never afraid to interfere, intervene or penetrate the surrounding area, in search of a criminal spotted by his ‘guards.’ His character will surely be missed by MANY. It won’t take long before we realize that we are all alone and on our own again. So few people know that he caught criminals which have been on the search list for months. Got an investigation going on child abuse in our Village. Got security fencing donated – now a number of illegal domestic/garden workers whom were involved with house breaks. Yes, this is what Kosmos
Village lost. One of a few residents who actually cared about other people. His efforts and mannerisms were not always ‘fine China’ but I yet to see a gentleman of stature, in his field of expertise.
Plate in his skull after accident
“About three years ago Benno was involve in a major accident on the N4. he drove into the back of a stationary truck on the left hand side of the highway late at night. After major surgery, a plate was placed in his skull to keep certain plates together. Now, three years later, the plate started shifting. This caused him immense pain. Doctors refused to operate, due to the sensitivity of such an operation. The result: extremely “heavy” pills to relieve the pain. He used to take them and then go straight to bed. They “knocked” him unconscious.” “On Monday last week (8 November) Benno was suffering from an irritating cough/lung effect for some time. His medicines, together with pool chemicals and ant poison was placed on the same rack in his study which is part of his bedroom. We speculate that he must have taken his heavy pain pill and later realised that he had to take the cough medicine as well. The bottle of ant poison was found next to his bed together with the cough mixture and spoon.
Discovered with breathing difficulties
“A business associate Gilbert had a meeting with him scheduled for mid afternoon on Monday. He arrived and enquired from the maid about Benno. She referred him to the main bedroom. Gilbert immediately sensed something being wrong. Benno was suffering to breathe. He called an ambulance who took Benno to a Brits clinic. His stomach was pumped. He was kept on a ventilator since Monday late afternoon. Only taken off five days later. On Monday 15 November his sister and I still visited him. He laughed a few times about some silly remarks we made. We were so excited about his condition and had such high hopes for his full recovery. “On Monday at 18:40 he suffered a collapse of the lungs and soon after a cardiac arrest. The hospital tried to bring him round from his coma but his system was too weak and he was declared dead at 19:20.”