Former South African Revenue Service (Sars) whistleblower Johann van Loggerenberg’s house was burgled in the early hours of Tuesday (January 18), just days after Themba Maseko, former CEO of the Government Communications and Information Systems (GCIS), was burgled while he and his wife were sleeping.
The burglary at Van Loggerenberg’s house was confirmed on Tuesday afternoon by his attorneys, Werksmans.
In a statement released by Werksmans, Van Loggerenberg says the break-in at his house on Tuesday morning may be a crime of a general nature, given the poor state of SA’s criminal justice system and the country’s high crime levels.
“However, entry was attempted with some sophistication via various entry points at my home in a very suspicious manner. I have reason to suspect that there is a possibility that it was no ordinary crime,” he points out.
“Four very distinct indicators of the house robbery suggest that it may not have been ordinary criminal conduct. I am deliberately not explaining these as it may be of value to the police that are investigating the matter,” he adds.
Van Loggerenberg becoming the second state capture whistleblower within a week to be hit by a house break-in raises red flags as it comes just weeks after the release of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry into State Capture Report (aka the Zondo Report).
In Maseko’s case, there was no evidence of forced entry and the burglars – who scattered when he fired warning shots into the air – appear not to have triggered any alarms, creating suspicion that this was a highly organised break-in. Maseko was a whistleblower removed by former president Jacob Zuma from GCIS in 2011 for obstructing the Gupta family’s capture of the state.
Van Loggerenberg became a key whistleblower when Sars was targeted as part of state capture.
“I record that I am a whistleblower of State Capture events at the Sars and the Criminal Justice System and State Intelligence Agencies as from 2014 onwards. I was a witness at the so-called Zondo Commission on matters pertaining to the South African Revenue Service and our State Intelligence Services,” his statement on Tuesday notes.
“I am also a complainant and state witness in matters under investigation by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and the Independent Directorate of the National Prosecuting Authority. This is public knowledge.
“Those I have implicated are aware of the nature of the evidence against them. I have had to live with receiving various threats and warnings against my safety for many years, from as far as 2014 and onwards,” Van Loggerenberg adds.
“I have always reported these to the relevant authorities. At no stage has the Sars, State Intelligence Agencies, police [or] any other relevant authority responded to my requests for assistance in dealing with the threats against me to date in any manner or form.
“I have always had to address these risks at my own cost,” he says.
Van Loggerenberg’s statement laments the lack of concern shown by authorities for whistleblower safety.
“We only have to refer to well publicised cases where whistleblowers and state witnesses had been assaulted, threatened, surveilled, murdered, or had to leave the country for their own safety.
“Many of us have been victims of suspicious house invasions, theft and threats. I am not the only State Capture witness who has been a victim of a break-in in the last week.”
He goes on to call on government to take decisive action to protect whistleblowers.
To those who perpetrated the break-in at his house, Van Loggerenberg says they are sadly mistaken if they believe they deprived him of evidence. What they managed to steal were mere copies of the actual evidence [of state capture and criminal activity] and the proper records are kept elsewhere.
“I call upon all South Africans to join all efforts to ensure that the government takes the safety of whistle-blowers and state witnesses seriously. We can no longer afford the existing lip-service and no action,” he says.
Maseko wrote a book about his ordeal at GCIS, entitled ‘For My Country: Why I Blew The Whistle on Zuma and the Guptas’.
Van Loggerenberg is likewise the author of several books detailing his investigatory work at Sars, including Tobacco Wars, and Death and Taxes.