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In the country’s biggest corporate scandal, an investigation carried out by PwC found that South African retailer Steinhoff had recorded fictitious or irregular transactions totalling 6.5 billion euros ($7.4 billion) between 2009 and 2017. The Steinhoff crash wiped billions off the JSE and dented the pension funds of ordinary South Africans. When the firm was exposed, shock waves spread around the world as tales of fast living, racehorses, a mistress and the Stellenbosch mafia hit the headlines. Now Showmax has made a 3-part documentary series titled Steinheist, due in September, about the largest accounting scam in the country’s history. Click below to watch the riveting trailer. – Sandra Laurence
Steinheist, the new Showmax Original from the creators of Devilsdorp
Showmax has just dropped the trailer for Steinheist, a three-part documentary series about the biggest corporate scam in South African history.
On 6 December 2017, after CEO Markus Jooste resigned amid an investigation into accounting irregularities, Steinhoff’s share price plunged by 90% in a week, wiping over R200 billion off Johannesburg’s stock exchange, JSE – and off ordinary South Africans’ pensions and investments. As Financial Mail editor Rob Rose says in the trailer, “That’s South Africa’s Enron.”
Steinheist is made by Idea Candy, the producers of Devilsdorp, the record-breaking Showmax Original that is now the most nominated documentary going into the South African Film and Television Awards this weekend.
“A hundred-billion-rand lie”
“Before the Steinhoff crash, the furniture giant was billed as ‘the Ikea of Africa’, employing over 130 000 people on over 40 brands across four continents,” says director Richard Finn Gregory, whose Patagonia-set feature documentary on Showmax, The Boers At The End of The World, won three SAFTAs in 2016. “Steinheist is the story of Markus Jooste and a hundred-billion-rand lie that everyone bought – a lie that was built across over two decades. How did this happen? How did no one see it coming? And how is Marcus Jooste not in jail?”.
The trailer gives the first glimpses of the richest cast in Showmax history, including Jooste; former Steinhoff chairman Christo Wiese, who remains a billionaire despite reportedly losing the bulk of his wealth in the Steinhoff crash; Bruno Steinhoff, founder of Steinhoff International; Louis du Preez, the current Steinhoff CEO, who’s been a driving force behind the company’s remarkable recovery; and Coronation co-founder Thys du Toit.
The gripping documentary also includes exclusive interviews with Rose, who wrote the book of the same name that Steinheist is adapted from, and Pieter du Toit, author of The Stellenbosch Mafia. BizNews editor Alec Hogg, Moneyweb managing editor Ryk van Niekerk, and award-winning financial journalist Fifi Peters also feature.
Also including footage of Jooste’s 2018 testimony before parliament, Steinheist provides a fascinating, insider glimpse into what Wiese describes in the trailer as “the Jooste black magic” and into a complex man who is described variously as “one of the best accountants ever in this country” (van Niekerk); as someone who was only interested in his business and in horse racing (Hogg); as someone who “got addicted to the lifestyle, the money, the fame” (Thys du Toit); and as a “very clever, slick, and a very slippery operator” (Pieter du Toit).
So how did a company put blinkers on a country? Steinheist will premiere on Showmax on 22 September 2022, with new episodes every Thursday until 6 October 2022.
- Rob Rose: Pushing corporate SA into more transparency, starting with Steinhoff
- Action against Ben la Grange must be the norm, not the exception
- Life after Jooste, Christo Wiese opens up
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