By shooting himself, Markus Jooste robbed us all for the last time


By shooting himself, Markus Jooste robbed us all for the last time

WILLEM KEMPEN would have preferred the former Steinhoff boss to still be alive, because then the chances would have been so much better that we would get answers to all the questions that remain.


WHEN it comes to Markus Jooste, the rule about not speaking ill of the dead need not apply quite so strictly.

He betrayed just about every single South African in some way, whether it was because a portion of our pension fund had been invested in Steinhoff, or because he made a mockery of the idea that our salvation lies in the virtues of entrepreneurship and private capital.

Like many other people, I was surprised to hear the news yesterday afternoon that Jooste had shot himself before he would have had to surrender to the Hawks today to be arrested. Nothing he has done in the seven years since Steinhoff's dramatic collapse in late 2017 made me think that he was going to pursue any strategy other than to deny, evade, cloud, lie, look for loopholes, abuse the shortcomings in our own and international criminal law to the last, and cling to all the privileges of his undisturbed rich man's existence in Hermanus.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

No sign of remorse or penance or apologising or even just explaining, much less trying to make up for everything he did or that he persuaded or ordered other people to do. On the contrary: There is a wealth of evidence that Steinhoff's story is not one of a fallible business leader who could not make his company survive against the onslaughts of the corporate world, but rather of a man who, over decades, time and time again took the calculated chance that he would not be caught out; that he was smarter and a bigger bully and could play the money game better than everyone around him.

The Reserve Bank has evidence that as early as 2009 – that is, eight years before everything hit rock bottom – Jooste had moved billions of rands in cash and other assets between Steinhoff's own and other accounts, contrary to exchange controls. With so much money involved, it is no wonder that yesterday many people refused to believe the official version of what happened. As with Gavin Watson and Brett Kebble, the conspiracy theories are going to be fed by the slightest sign that something else is happening than what Jooste (and perhaps many other people too) would like us to believe.

For all the authorities investigating Jooste and Steinhoff's cases in recent years, including in Germany, the temptation must be great to now apply their limited resources elsewhere. That would be a mistake; we dare not let this thing die with Jooste.

♦ VWB ♦

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION: Go to the bottom of this page to share your opinion. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speech Bubbles

To comment on this article, register (it's fast and free) or log in.

First read Vrye Weekblad's Comment Policy before commenting.