Former South African Revenue Service (Sars) executive Johann van Loggerenberg said on Tuesday his home was invaded in the early hours of the morning, less than a week after a similar incident at the home of fellow state-capture whistleblower Themba Maseko.
“My home and home office were invaded during the early hours of this morning by criminals,” Van Loggerenberg said in a statement issued through his attorneys.
Like Maseko, Van Loggerenberg said he had reason to suspect that the crime may be related to his testimony to the Zondo commission of inquiry and called on the government to take firm steps to protect whistleblowers without further delay.
“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 said.
“Four very distinct indicators of the house robbery suggest that it may not have been ordinary criminal conduct.”
Van Loggerenberg said he was deliberately not expanding on these so as not to compromise the police investigation into the robbery.
He noted that, as well as blowing the whistle on state capture as it played out at Sars and the state intelligence services, and testifying before the Zondo commission on this, he was also a complainant and state witness in cases 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 said that although he has consistently reported these threats to the authorities, neither the police, the revenue service nor the intelligence structures have responded to his requests for help.
“I have always had to address these risks at my own cost.”
He said it was a known fact that whistleblowers lived under severe and constant strain “on many levels with absolutely no support from the government” and that some had paid with their lives or fled the country for their 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 added.
“I wish to use this opportunity to call upon our government to please take decisive action to protect whistleblowers and not delay any longer. The continued inaction and tardiness of the government in dealing with the entire topic of whistleblowers spells disaster for our young and developing constitutional democracy.”
The first part of Acting Chief Justice Raymond Zondo’s report on state capture extensively cites the testimony of both Van Loggerrenberg and Maseko, a former cabinet spokesperson and director of the Government Communication and Information Systems.
It was formally released on 4 January, and also cites the testimony of Athol Williams, a former consultant at Bain & Co, who gave evidence on the global consultancy firm’s role in the destructive reorganisation of Sars while Tom Moyane served as tax commissioner,
Williams fled South Africa late last year.
The Zondo report concluded that there was a deliberate purge of competent staff at Sars under Moyane, with some 500 leaving within a year, to cripple the entity’s capacity to enforce tax compliance.
Van Loggerenberg oversaw the projects and evidence management and technical support division at the revenue service and left four months after Moyane was appointed.
He stressed on Tuesday that the invasion of his home would not deter him from giving testimony in ongoing cases under investigation.
In his report, Zondo urged that measures be taken to protect whistleblowers.