The Unlikely Mr
A life with Ivan Pillay
It’s just Ivan Pillay’s luck to be married to investigative journalist Evelyn Groenink, bestselling author of Incorruptible: The Story of the Murders of Dulcie September, Anton Lubowski and Chris Hani. She tells the story of their lives apart and then together. From Evelyn’s time in the Dutch anti-apartheid movement to her move to Lusaka in 1990, and from the politicisation of a young Ivan Pillay in Merebank, KZN, who joins the ANC and goes into exile, to the crossing of their paths in Zambia and their falling in love.
Pillay was, during the Zuma years, a leader of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) when a smear campaign was conducted against him. The smear was that Pillay set up a ‘rogue unit’ of investigators at the tax agency. He speaks here for the first time, of the days of exile and working with Oliver Tambo; of Operation Vula; the return home; and most tellingly of his time at SARS and the insidious campaign against him and others in the top layers of what once was a world-class tax institution.
The story pulls back the curtains on a party and state which once held the moral high ground, but was debased. As broadcaster and author Redi Tlhabi says: ‘Weaving history and contemporary politics, from Natal to Russia, Lusaka to Amsterdam, this is the story of anti-apartheid stalwart Ivan – is that even his name? – Pillay. For the Unlikely Mr Rogue, who will defy friend and foe in the fight for principle and ethics, his vindication is simply the correct outcome.’