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Author of 'Mr Rogue' book on SA democracy and being married to Ivan Pillay

17 December 2020 8:50 PM
Tags:
Jacob Zuma
ANC
SARS
Ivan Pillay
The Money Show
Sunday Times
Bruce Whitfield
Rogue unit
smear campaign
Sars rogue unit
The Unlikely Mr Rogue
Evelyn Groenink

Pillay was the focus of a smear campaign alleging he'd set up a Sars ‘rogue unit’. He doesn't hold a grudge - Evelyn Groenink.

"The Unlikely Mr Rogue is the story of the quiet man behind the so-called 'rogue unit' at SARS, who has become a lightning rod for so many in politics today."

That's the outline of the latest book by investigative journalist and author Evelyn Groenink.

"Mr Rogue" is Ivan Pillay, who headed the South African Revenue Service during the Zuma years.

Ivan Pillay. Picture: EWN

Pillay was subjected to the now infamous smear campaign alleging he'd set up a ‘rogue unit’ of investigators at Sars.

ALSO READ: Pillay's early exit root of Gordhan's fraud charges

ALSO READ: High Court sets aside Mkhwebane's report on Gordhan, debunked SARS 'rogue unit'

It’s "just Pillay’s luck" to be married to Groenink, who penned the bestselling Incorruptible: The Story of the Murders of Dulcie September, Anton Lubowski and Chris Hani.

Groenink joins Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show to talk about writing the very personal "Mr Rogue" book.

Whitfield himself has found facing Pillay rather intimidating, he admits.

In everyday life, is her husband also someone not to be crossed? he asks Groenink.

It's all about 'Are you here to do the right thing or are you just faffing about!'.

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

If you're there to do the right thing, then everything's fine! And (chuckling) I've been trying to do the right thing for the past 30 years!

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

Groenink weighs in on how Pillay's mindset has been affected in the years since he was removed from Sars, the "rogue unit" report and its subsequent discrediting.

He doesn't hold a grievance, she says.

His mindset doesn't change that much... that you have to do something about building a tax organisation in South Africa that some people who don't want, to pay tax and then to use that money for the betterment of all South Africans...

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

It is that basic higher purpose as that team he was fired from used to call it.

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

As far as I know him, he just wants to contribute wherever he can, always.

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

She also talks about how it felt as the partner of someone who was unfairly discredited.

It was really double. On the one hand you're the life partner of somebody who is being maligned and loses his job, so that's bad. On the other hand, as a journalist, I found it all enormously interesting!

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

When it comes to us personally we didn't suffer as much as for instance members of the unit that was actually doing the fighting against organised crime. Some of those people were robbed, assaulted, suffered burglaries. Their relationships were under huge stress.

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

We were not in the firing line to that extent.

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

I've reported on Nicaragua and other countries where bands of freedom fighters with high hopes came to power and then greedy politicians also took over. To me this was like a déjà vu.

Evelyn Groenink, Investigative journalist and author

Listen to the fascinating interview with Evelyn Groenink on The Money Show:




17 December 2020 8:50 PM
Tags:
Jacob Zuma
ANC
SARS
Ivan Pillay
The Money Show
Sunday Times
Bruce Whitfield
Rogue unit
smear campaign
Sars rogue unit
The Unlikely Mr Rogue
Evelyn Groenink

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