Only ten weeks prior to this photo being taken, the teen’s parents enrolled him at the Echo Wild Game Rangers training course in South Africa in perfect health.
When he was admitted to hospital, Buys was severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were burns and wounds all over his body. He stayed in intensive care for four weeks until he died.
Camp leader, Alex De Koker, 49, and employee Michael Erasmus, 20, are on trial for charges of murder, child abuse and neglect, along with two cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in relation to Buys’ death.
‘I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future,’ Buys’ mother said. ‘I trusted Alex De Koker with his life.’
She said that her son started the course on 12 January 2011. Over the next two months she spoke to Mr Buys just three times and was told by Mr de Koker that he was self-harming.
‘Raymond was only allowed to speak to me on speakerphone,’ she said. ‘When I asked him why he was hurting himself, he told me ‘Mum, I’m not doing it to myself”
19-year-old Gerhard Oostuizen shared a tent with Buys and told the court Buys was chained to his bed every night, was denied access to a toilet and on occasion was forced to eat his own excrement. He also said he would be beaten with planks, hosepipes and sticks when he failed to carry out manual labour tasks.
Oostuizen also testified that De Koker tied Buys to a chair, naked, with his head covered in a pillowcase, and would electrocute him with a stun gun. ‘He screamed … I was scared and ran away,’ he said.
Four years prior to this case, Eric Calitz, 18, and Nicolaas Van Der Walt, 19, both died after being enrolled at the Echo Wild Game Rangers camp.
When Calitz requested to leave, De Koker reportedly told him he ‘wasn’t a moffie [gay] and he would make a man out of him’.