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Dr. Kobus Jonker: God’s Detective

In South Africa, they are balls deep in sangomas, or healers. For the most part these sangomas are legit herbalists. There are however a number of bad sangomas, known as baloyi, which are more like dark wizards.

by Henk Lustig, Photos: Kevin Goss-Ross
02 April 2010, 12:00am

On the southern tip of the Dark Continent traditional healers have always been a part of black African culture. As a consequence we are balls deep in medicine men, or sangomas. For the most part these sangomas are legit herbalists who prepare their muti from herbs, roots and animal parts. There are however a number of bad sangomas, known as baloyi, which are more like dark wizards. The baloyi’s muti requires more bang; the kind of bang that only human flesh can provide. In addition to the baloyi chopping off penises and hands like Ed Gein on speed, there are a number of Satanic cults who are always on the lookout for virgins or cats or babies to sacrifice. Let’s face facts: South Africa needs a hero who can save our nation’s private parts"me from being ground up into health shakes, and our pets from being violated in the most grueseome manner imaginable.

Enter Dr. Kobus Jonker, a relatively short man with a 70s dad beard and a calm, friendly demeanor. His office is covered with collectibles, books and stuffed animals, calling to mind the office of Dr. Mureau. Dr. Jonker headed the South African Police Force’s ‘Occult-Related Crime Unit’ until 2001 when he retired from the force after suffering a heart attack. It would appear that busting the devil’s chops takes its toll eventually. The unit has since been disbanded. Dr. Jonker is certain that it will be reinstated soon due to the large number of occult crimes that occur on a daily basis in South Africa. He now practices homeopathy and acts as a consultant to the police force on all things demon-related. I went to speak with Dr. Jonker about some of the cases he has been involved with and some of the crazy shit he has seen in his battle against the dark forces of evil.

You delivered testimony at the trial of Morné Haarmse, a.k.a. the Samurai Sword Killer. Do you think Slipknot’s music influenced him to repeatedly hack at his fellow pupils and ground staff with a kitana? He was wearing one of those masks after all.
Dr. Kobus Jonker:
I assessed him. In part of my testimony I said that you can’t go and blame heavy metal when people go and chop other people’s heads off. You can’t blame music for that. I’ve also listened to heavy metal in the past. I’m still here and I’m not a Satanist. I don’t go and kill people if I listen to metal, it’s got to do with your own mental state and you choose to allow it. If you know it’s negative for you why don’t you leave it? Ninety-nine percent of people will listen to metal and not go out and kill.

Probably even more than ninety-nine percent.
It’s the same in South Africa with this band Fokofpolisiekar. You don’t listen to them and suddenly you want to go and kill every reverend. It doesn’t work like that. It’s a choice that you make and that’s where some people go wrong. A person would have to go very far to convince me that heavy metal played a role. In my testimony I said that you can’t go and blame Slipknot, even if you put their masks on. Of course it could have played a small role but you can’t put all the blame on them. I caught Morné out. He had a diary where he actually wrote things like, ‘today we must plan to do this’ and ‘on this date we must take the following things: swords, bombs…’ whatever. So he blamed it on a demon inside of him. He blamed the music and then he blamed the demonic side of things and that’s a nonsense story because demons don’t plan. Demons don’t work like that. If a demon takes you over you have no control over your own life.

Tell me a bit about your work that involved investigating cults.
Firstly, if I talk about cults, I’m not going to discuss pagans or wiccans because they’re not Satanists. There’s a huge difference between Satanism and esoteric religions. When conservative people see a guy in black clothes they just assume he’s a Satanist and that’s not true. I like black clothes myself; black is one of my favourite colours. If I wear black I don’t want people to call ma a Satanist. You know what I mean?

Hells yeah.
People jump on band wagons and see the devil behind every bush and that’s also wrong. It can be very dangerous, so I don’t do that. The Cult Unit was mainly for occult crimes which would involve cult leaders who are generally very charismatic. They run the Satanic sects and tell their followers that they must go desecrate graves and go kill people for sacrifices and that sort of thing.

What about the sangomas?
You get different types of sangomas, I know their whole system. Most of the sangomas are not evil, they’re not bad. But you get what they call the baloyi. These are guys that use human body parts to do their evil jobs. They are actually wizards who deal in black magic. They are very evil people. Ordinary sangomas sometimes get confused with baloyi, which is also wrong. People must draw a line between the two.

Dr. Jonker with an ichoba—a sangoma’s magic wand made from a cow’s tail.
So the baloyi that perform muti killings... what do they use penises for?
Why do they take a man’s penis? It’s only for one purpose: good luck at horse racing. It’s a good thing that the lotto doesn’t work on the same setup. If someone in South Africa says: “I’m playing the lotto now, and I am going to the sangoma to get some muti to help me win...” If that guy wins, then all South African males are going to have to start wearing chastity belts.

Thanks for the heads-up. Are you still involved with cult crime investigations?
I actually train the police who work with muti killings.

How do Satanists in South Africa differ from those abroad?
I lectured at Reading University in England a while back and I found that European and American Satanists differ completely from South African ones. South African Satanists concentrate more on committing crimes. That’s not the case with American and British sects. They are more concerned with LaVey’s teachings and the religious side of devil worship. You will rarely find them committing any of the horrible murders committed here in South Africa by the local sects.

Why do think that is the case?
I think that our social structure is basically gone. That is the main concern. There are no norms for people to follow in South Africa. The parents don’t worry about the children anymore, you get the absent fathers that are never around. I call the children in primary schools die sleutelhouers (key holders) because they come home from school with a key for their homes around their necks. Moms not there, she’s working, Dad’s working, there is no-one at home and they can do what they like.

That was the situation with the Samurai Killer, right?
Ja, exactly—he held a key to his room and no-one was allowed in. It’s the same story with that guy in East London who chopped someone’s head off because he needed it for Halloween. It all starts with the father. These people had no relationships with their fathers and it causes problems in their hearts, it makes people do things they are not supposed to do.

Have you ever come into contact with someone that has been possessed?
Yes, many times. It’s a reality. If you talk about black witchcraft as well, in the sangoma aspect you find it a lot. The way black witchcraft works seems impossible to believe, for example: I was called out by a black pastor in Kwazulu Natal and there was an eleven year-old girl that had been left for a few weeks in the presence of a sangoma who was supposed to bring good luck to her family. So eventually this girl became possessed and the parents said: “There is something wrong here,” so they took the child to a black pastor for help who in turn called me. I flew down, very upset about the situation. When the pastor was praying, apart from hearing many different voices coming from her throat, blood was squirting from her breasts and I thought, I don’t believe what I’m seeing now. So eventually, after he had prayed, he spoke to one of her multiple personalities and suddenly ants started running out of her breasts.

Evidence confiscated from a Satanic ritual investigated by the Occult Unit.   This is the kind of thing Satanists do when they get together and pray to the Dark Lord.
Yes, ants. So that suddenly stopped. The pastor had a lot of other pastors and therapists there and they were watching all these events unfold. All of a sudden a small tortoise climbed out of the girl’s navel. A small tortoise! When they saw this happening they all ran off so that there were only three of us left in the room. Everyday people never see this kind of thing. If you told me this story I would say “don’t talk nonsense to me” because my thoughts are based on reality. If you see it for yourself it’s different. It was witchcraft and it is a reality; it does exist.

And you dealt with stuff like this on a regular basis?
Oh yes. I was sent to the farm of a very wealthy family in Venda about eight years ago where the so-called Tokoloshe (a short demon from African lore) was raping a girl there every night. I said: “I don’t believe this nonsense,” but the commissioner sent me out saying they’ve got real problems there. All of the windows of the farmhouse were broken. Outside the farmhouse were the remains of burnt clothes everywhere because every time the girl tried to put clothes on they would start burning. Rocks fell from the air onto our police vehicles. The farmer had called in several sangomas to try and get rid of the evil spirit but it didn’t work. What caught my attention was that there were no cattle, oxen, dogs or birds. There was nothing. It was like a graveyard. So I went in the house and asked the mother to remove all of the sangoma’s stuff and I said: “I’m coming to you in the name of the Christian God, Jesus Christ,” because I saw that it was going to be a spiritual battle. The girl was sitting on the bed in a lotus position eating an orange and the sap was running down her breasts. I asked her if she wanted to break free of this evil. She said yes, so I started to pray. After about twenty minutes the door slammed open next to me and a small man, like a dwarf, came running to me. He was an old black man and he was sweating profusely—it was actually a cold day, but he was sweating. I said: “What are you doing here? Can I help you?” and he replied in a gruff voice: “I want to help her.” I told him to leave because we were busy. He grunted and left. No-one on the farm knows who the short man was and no one has seen him since then.

And you think he may have been the Tokoloshe?
I think he was the so-called Tokoloshe. He matched the way that people describe Tokoloshe—it was a physical guy, not a ghost or spirit. After he ran out of the room he disappeared and from that day on all of the attacks suddenly ended; no more rapes at night time. A week later one of the cops from that area phoned me and said: “You wont believe it! There are cows, there are sheep, they’re all back, even the dogs are back.” It was very strange.

Returning to Satanism, what’s with the whole ‘torture and sacrifice cats’ thing?
We once arrested a guy who was one of Eugene Terre’Blanche’s body guards. He was a Satanist and Eugene didn’t even know. This guy sat in the back seat of my car, he had his hands behind his back, handcuffed. He is a tall, tough guy. We drove past a graveyard and a black cat runs across the road. We had to use force to keep him in the car. He nearly went whackers. I said: “What’s the matter with you?” and he said: “It’s a black cat. Have you ever tasted its blood? It tastes just like lead, it’s an animal we love a lot,” then he went on to describe what they do with the cats. They tie sticks between the legs so the cat can’t move, they put it on an altar, then everyone will come and rape the cat from behind. Once, In Port Elizabeth, more than sixty cats disappeared in one area. They like the black cats because they say the power of evil is black, they do it to acquire the cat’s power.

Thanks for the interview.
You’re welcome. You must let me know when it comes out. If you don’t I’m going to send the cops to your front door and at the back door you’ll see a sangoma with the ichoba—a kind of magic wand made out of a cows tail—if this guy is at your door with a spear in one hand and the ichoba in the other, you’re in big trouble.

I’ll try and remember that.