The Unlikely Mr Rogue is the story of the quiet man behind the so-called ‘rogue unit’ at SARS, who has become a lightning rod for so many in politics today.
It takes the reader on a journey – Ivan’s growing up in Merebank, KZN, his politicisation, his friendship with Pravin Gordhan and his running of Operation Vula from Lusaka, reporting to Oliver Tambo. In some ways, the setting up of SARS was Operation Vula revisited. Many of the same operatives were now working for a higher purpose. And this higher purpose, of providing the money to reduce inequality in the state, was a daily mantra for Gordhan, Pillay and others. They really believed in it.
Groenink tells of the early 1990s in Lusaka, of their falling in love, of the insecurity in coming back to the country, and the times when Ivan was in charge of stationery in the bowels of Shell House. This is the story of a good man, an unlikely man, a quiet man, determined to use SARS to fund the post-liberation nation-building, and his downfall at the hands of his enemies and a scurrilous Sunday Times.