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In the 1990s, deep-cover police agent RS536 took on the Durban underworld as part of a new organised crime intelligence unit. He rubbed shoulders with drug lords, smugglers and corrupt cops, and was instrumental in busting an international drug ring and foiling a bank heist, among many other dangerous engagements.
But then, as the country’s new democracy birthed a struggle between the old and the new guard in the South African Police Service, his identity and his life came under threat. In this action-packed account, Johann van Loggerenberg describes how, as a young policeman, he worked closely with the investigative team of the Goldstone Commission to uncover the ‘third force’ – apartheid security forces that supplied weapons to the Inkatha Freedom Party to destabilise the country.
He also delves into how and why, at the height of state capture at the South African Revenue Service in 2014, he was falsely accused of being an apartheid spy, a lie that persists up to today. Here, finally, is the truth behind deep-cover police agent RS536.
Nothing in life is certain, except death and taxes – or so the expression goes. And over the past two decades South African criminals and tax dodgers have come to realise this truth the hard way.
Tax sleuth Johann van Loggerenberg was at the centre of many of SARS’ high-profile cases during his time there. As far as SARS is concerned all forms of income are subjected to tax, even if by ill-gotten means. Whether you are a drug dealer from Durban, one of the hitmen who shot Brett Kebble or soccer boss Irvin Khoza, you have to pay your dues!
Van Loggerenberg relates the riveting inside stories of the investigations into businessmen like Dave King, Billy Rautenbach, Barry Tannenbaum and his ponzi scheme, and others. Over the years he got to know all the scams and dirty tricks in the book and he explains these in plain language.
In these investigations the tax authority worked closely with the police, the NPA and the Directorate of Special Operations. However, after a few years SARS became the victim of its own success. In telling the stories of how tax evaders were caught, Van Loggerenberg also shows how the power struggle between different state departments and the phenomenon of state capture in recent years started crippling SARS.
The story of a ‘rogue unit’ operating within the South African Revenue Service (SARS) became entrenched in the public mind following a succession of sensational reports published by the Sunday Times in 2014. The unit, the reports claimed, had carried out a series of illegal spook operations: they had spied on President Jacob Zuma, run a brothel, illegally bought spyware and entered into unlawful tax settlements.
In a plot of Machiavellian proportions, head of the elite crime-busting unit Johann van Loggerenberg and many of SARS’s top management were forced to resign. Van Loggerenberg’s select team of investigators, with their impeccable track record of busting high-level financial fraudsters and nailing tax criminals, lost not only their careers but also their reputations. Now, in this extraordinary account, they finally get to put the record straight and the rumours to rest: there was no ‘rogue unit’. The public had been deceived, seemingly by powers conspiring to capture SARS for their own ends.
Shooting down the allegations he has faced one by one, Van Loggerenberg tells the story of what really happened inside SARS, revealing details of some of the unit’s actual investigations.
"Warning. Smoking Kills!" It also corrupts law enforcement officials and eviscerates state institutions. It devours politicians, professionals, business people and ordinary workers in the chase for big bucks and the battle for a slice of an ever-shrinking cigarette market.
Join one of South Africa's former tax sleuths, Johann van Loggerenberg, in a wild ride through the double-dealing world of tobacco's colourful characters and ruthless corporates. Meet the femme fatales, mavericks, mercenaries and grandmasters, and learn how the crime-busting unit led by van Loggerenberg at SARS and its "Project Honey Badger" became a victim of war between industry players and a high-stakes political game driven by state capture.
This is the tale of a few good men and women who dared to try to hold to account a billion-dollar international industry rife with private spy networks, tax evasion, collusion and corruption - ultimately at great cost to themselves and South Africa.
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