Thursday, January 23, 2003

Last farewell to sex boss

CAPE TOWN — Family members and close friends were among about 100 people who attended an emotional funeral service for murdered Sizzlers boss Aubrey Eric Otgaar outside Cape Town on Thursday.

Ottgar (56) was one of eight men shot dead execution-style at the gay massage parlour in Graham Road, Sea Point, on Monday morning. Most of them had their hands tied behind their backs and their throats slit.

Two other men who suffered similar injuries were still being treated in Cape Town's Groote Schuur Hospital on Thursday.

One man is in a critical condition in the hospital's intensive care unit while the other was reported to be stable in a general ward.

They are both under police guard.

Among the mourners at Ottgar's funeral at St Anthony's Catholic Church in Belmont Park, Kraaifontein, were his parents, and his brother and sister-in-law, Tony and Carmen.

The service was led by Father Christopher Clohessey who prayed that God would "show mercy for Aubrey".

Clohessey asked whether the eight murdered men were fulfilled in their lives. "Does their work really tell us who they were like as people?"

"I am sorry that we are living in a country in which crime and violence is endemic. All is not well," Clohessey said.

Clohessey said the victims of the massacre were trapped in a lifestyle that brought abuse, not love. He said it did not matter if people chose the wrong paths. Anyone could start over again.

Delivering a eulogy at the end of the 60-minute service, Tony Ottgar thanked everyone for their support.

He said he and Aubrey had attended boarding school together.

"I was the younger brother and he was always there for me. He had a great sense of humour."


Ottgar described an incident that took place when he and his brother were living with their grandmother. Aubrey would delight in buying stinkbombs and he would hide them in the house. When their grandmother stepped on them she would blame the dog.

Ottgar said his brother had been active in politics with the now defunct Progressive Party.

"He was vocal in his criticism of the government when they failed in the area of corruption and the safety of its citizens and (he) was also critical of the government's Aids policy.

"He was transparent and as a family we differed on the nature of his work. But we remained a close-knit family."

Ottgar said that while the Sea Point massacre was outrageous, people were murdered every week in the townships yet these incidents were never fully reported by the media.

"Their grief is the same that we feel.

"Unless we do something, this country will be overtaken by crime. We must get off our backsides and do something about it," Ottgar said.

The coffin draped in a purple cover with a bunch of white roses was wheeled out of the church and put into a hearse to be taken to the Maitland crematorium.


An 18-year-old youth who came to pay his respects, Abe Bush of Melkbos, said he had worked at Sizzlers for about three months last year but had left as he felt "something was going to happen" at the massage parlour.

He described Aubrey as "a nice boss".

He said Aubrey sorted out any fights that erupted between the employees and took a strong stance against clients who brought drugs onto the premises.

Bush said Sizzlers was a good place to make money.

"The people are very nice and some of them helped me with personal problems."

Bush said police investigators had visited him on Wednesday and had shown him photographs of the crime scene.

Names released

Police on Thursday afternoon identified six of the victims.

A Cape newspaper, however, named three of those killed on Monday as Travis Reade (20), Marius Meyer (21) and Sergio de Castro (22).

Two other men who suffered similar wounds were being treated in Groote Schuur Hospital. One of them was linked to a life support system, while the other one was in stable condition. Their names had not yet been released.

Memorial service

On Saturday, sex workers and members of gay and lesbian organisations will attend a memorial service for all of the victims.

The service is being organised by the Sea Point branch of the African National Congress together with the Anglican church, the Equality Project, the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (Sweat) and the Triangle Project.

Sea Point ANC chair Clayton Wakeford said the organisers were still awaiting confirmation that either Cape Town mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo,or a Western Cape MEC would attend the service.

Wakeford said the memorial service would be a "dignified marker" of the extreme and tragic events in Graham Road on Monday.

The sermon would be delivered by Rowan Smith, Dean of St George's Cathedral, with brief addresses by each of the hosts.

Police are expected to give an update on their investigations at the service.

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Created: April 12, 2003
Last modified: April 12, 2003
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