Read of the Week

Cop Under Cover

Johann van Loggerenberg

Jonathan Ball

Review: Lindiwe Mlandu

Former SA Revenue Service (SARS) executive Johann van Loggerenberg, who was implicated in the so-called Sars Rogue Unit report, which was later set aside, has written a book about his time as an undercover cop.

Johann joined the police in 1987 to avoid serving in the army which was mandatory for white men under apartheid.

In 1989, he was stationed at the South African Narcotics Bureau where he was investigating drug syndicates. He was soon introduced to undercover policing. He had a knack for it so he became deep-cover police agent RS536.

On the streets, he was known as Jay. He mingled with drug lords, robbers and smugglers while pretending to be one of them. He had to cut ties with his family.

The book details the good that can be achieved when spying for the public good.

However, things changed post 1994 as some dirty apartheid police officers remained in the system.

Johann traces the drug smuggling business from its infancy to the enormous challenge that it has become. He gave up his 20s to fight it.

There were many successes along the way. But things became murky when greedy and disgraced police officers started working with the underworld.

In this book, Johann, who was accused of being an apartheid spy long after he had left the police, tells his side of the story.

He opens up about the mental toll it took on him and the price he had to pay for being RS536.

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