Rogue, a book review

One of the criteria I use for determining overall intelligence in an individual is a reasonable knowledge and understanding of current affairs, both in the world, and more particularly, here at home.  I often fall short of my own exacting standards in regard.  The whole saga of the scandal surrounding the SARS elite crime-busting unit is a case in point.  I, like everyone else who is  not completely deaf, dumb or daft, know that it is being used as a stick to try and beat Pravin Gordhan into line, but more than that has been a bit of a mystery to me. If you have been following more closely, and paid more attention to the unfolding story then you won’t find much new in the book.  It is all drawn from what is in the public domain (because of the confidential nature of the work of SARS).

Rogue, The Inside Story of SARS’s Elite Crime-busting Unit, tells the story of  the state capture of the once-inconspicuous unit in the SA Revenue Service (SARS) by the people discredited as being responsible for the Rogue status of the unit.  Johann van Loggerenberg, former head of investigations at Sars, and Adrian Lackay, the tax authority’s former spokesman are setting the record straight.

The book reads like a political thriller, and one has to shake one’s head every so often as one realises that this is probably fact, not fiction. I say “probably” because both Van Loggerenberg and Lackay lost what had once been successful careers because of claims that they ran a brothel, spied on our dear President, the “honourable” Jacob Zuma, and conducted various illegal covert investigations.

The Sunday Times coined the term “rogue unit” and published 35 articles over two years about it.  Subsequently the newspaper has retracted many of the claims it made in these articles.  However, the damage to the reputations and careers of many people has been done.

Many, if most, people who follow current affairs have been convinced that finance minister Pravin Gordhan is completely innocent of any wrongdoing, and that the threat of arrest, on some trumped up charges are an indication of corruption (state capture) higher up the line.

The foreword is by former constitutional court judge, the head of the IEC at the time of our first democratic elections. He says “What lies behind these events, I don’t know.  What I do know is that the full story should be told.  Our Consitution demands and guarantees a system of democratic government to ensure accountability, responsiveness and openness. It is for the people of South Africa to decide for themselves whee the truth lies:  they’re entitled to no less”.

The book left me better informed, but with an unsatisfied curiosity.  It also left me feeling outraged by the crookery it uncovered, the many things which have not been completely resolved, and the thuggery which goes into destroying inconvenient people.  I feel betrayed.  Who should I trust?


  • Title: Rogue
  • Sub-title: The Inside Story of Sars’s Elite Crime-busting Unit
  • Authors:Johann van Loggerenberg, with Adrian Lackay
  • Publisher: Jonathan Ball
  • Year: 2016
  • ISBN  979-1-86842-740-6



About moirads

Clergy person, theatre and music lover, avid reader, foodie. Basically, I write about what I do, where I go and things I love (or hate).
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