Directorate of Public Prosecutions
Office of the Senior Public Prosecutor
To whom it may concern,
1. My name is Val Melis and I am a Senior Public Prosecutor in Durban and ran the Durban Child Abuse Specialist Prosecution Section for more than 10 years.
2. I met Marc Hardwick in 1997 when he started in the Child Protection Unit of the South African Police Services. He worked as a specialist detective investigating crimes against children. His talent in this field was quickly identified and within 2 years he was handling some of the most high profile cases within the Durban area. These cases included paedophile cases and crimes which involved high profile people. Within the next year or so he was seconded to a Provincial Task Team to manage project investigations of crimes against children that included cases such as syndicate paedophiles and trafficking of children.
3. In my experience Marc is extraordinarily passionate and dedicated to working in the field of Child Abuse and I was very disappointed when he left the police in 2002 due to financial constraints.
4. Approximately a year ago Marc approached me to discuss his desire to start a new business venture. Knowing that he had been out of the police for a few years we met to catch up and I was very interested to hear what it was that he was considering. On hearing the concept I was very impressed with the model that he spoke about and was even more impressed that he had created a model that wouldn’t necessarily be dependent on permanent funding. Another thing that struck me in that meeting was the fact that even after the 5 or 6 years that he had been out of the field of child abuse he was still so driven to make a difference in the lives of children and their caregivers.
5. I have over the last 6 months or so spoken to Marc regularly about the progress of the business and I believe that this business is not only sustainable but, some of the proactive policies and products that this organization is implementing could grow it to where it could potentially make a major difference to child abuse statistics in South Africa and ultimately to the safety of children.
6. As a person Marc has always come across as a very sensible individual who is driven and dedicated to his work in this field. It is a difficult field in which to work and many good investigators burn out. Marc on the other hand seems to have a need to genuinely make a difference and his passion in this field seems to be getting stronger. I have also found over the years that Marc has an extraordinary talent in interviewing or simply talking with children of all ages. This is of immeasurable benefit in the work he does, as it plays a major role in minimising the secondary victimization of children.
7. I am pleased to have been able to provide this recommendation on his behalf and hope that you will hope you may be able to assist him in any way.
8. Please contact me on the number below if you require any additional information.
V J MELIS
SENIOR PUBLIC PROSECUTOR
Point Community Court