The Unlikely Mr Rogue

A life with Ivan Pillay

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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.’


Mr Rogue in the news

About The Unlikely Mr Rogue

Gutsy. The punches come straight from the shoulder, leaving a lot of blood on the floor.Mac Maharaj Pillay’s roller coaster journey from the trenches in exile to heading SARS to becoming Mr Rogue…captivating, unmissable and a prescribed read.Jacques Pauw Sympathetic, frank, with a keen eye and sharp pen, Comrade Groenink

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The Unlikely Mr Rogue

Synopsis The story of Ivan Pillay, who went from an enemy of the apartheid state to enemy of the State Capture brigade under Jacob Zuma, is told by his partner, Evelyn Groenink, whom he met in October 1990, in Lusaka, Zambia. Pillay, coordinator of Operation Vula, was then still a

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Fighting corruption and rebuilding institutions (part II)

In Part I, we argued that the most effective way to combat corruption is not to implement a separate anti-corruption plan, but to integrate anti-corruption measures into making our institutions functional and perform far better than they are now. Read Part II by Ivan Pillay, Sridharan Kesavan and Yolisa Pikie

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Blog: behind the scenes

A road behind us and one ahead

In the midst of a pandemic, who wants to read about a life of the past?I regularly wonder if it’s still relevant, my story of the seventeen-year-old boy who desperately wanted to find freedom and the ANC; who walked over

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15 May 2018. Trying to write about the first time I spent time with Ivan, on a visit to Lusaka at the end of 1990, I keep coming back to Operation Vula.  Which is not very romantic, and therefore slightly

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How did you meet?

11 May 2018. Never mind the previous post. Doing his biography is still problematic.  He doesn’t want this or that in it, why am I not interested in so- and -so, why don’t I do a bit more research into

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Writing as a wife

29 April 2018 Can one write a biography about one’s significant other?  The journalistic answer would be no, since one is obviously too biased and personally involved. On the other hand many, including myself, would love to read what the

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