The ‘smallanyana’ skeletons Jooste is leaving behind

Former Steinhoff CEO and fraudster Markus Jooste, who allegedly took his life on Thursday, has left a trail of unanswered questions and civil cases.

Jooste was outed as the mastermind behind South Africa’s biggest white-collar crime in history when Steinhoff collapsed on the back of accounting fraud committed by him and his lackeys.

More than R200-billion of Steinhoff’s value has been lost since 2017 when the fraud became public knowledge.

In essence, Jooste and his cabal inflated Steinhoff’s profits and assets over many years, while hiding losses from shareholders.

His conduct, and the fallout from the collapse of Steinhoff, which knocked Christo Wiese off his perch as South Africa’s richest man when he lost more than R50-billion in the saga, saw Jooste face numerous civil lawsuits, culminating in criminal charges that were going to be preferred against him, a day before he allegedly turned a gun on himself.

Sunday World in this article looks at the major legal wrangles Jooste was involved in over the past six years, running into hundreds of millions of rands.

SA Reserve Bank

The Western Cape High Court in 2022 gave the central bank the green light to seize more than R1-billion in assets belonging to Jooste and his associates.

The opulent assets included five top of the range vehicles, jewellery, cash and the five-star Lanzerac wine farm – which he had bought from Wiese.

The asset seizure came after the Reserve Bank accused Jooste of breaching the country’s exchange control regulations.

 Lanzerac wine estate

Wiese made great strides last year to get Lanzerac back from Jooste. The retail billionaire took on Jooste in 2021, trying to get back the exclusive property in Stellenbosch.

His argument has been that Jooste dribbled him into selling the sprawling property in 2011.

Jooste pretended, according to Wiese, to be representing a consortium of investors looking to buy the property. However, this was a falsehood as Jooste ended up taking ownership of the property himself.

The matter is still before the courts, with Jooste’s death likely to make its resolution all the more difficult.

Wiese sold the property to the “consortium” for 10-million Steinhoff shares. At the time those shares were valued at R220-million.


A day before his demise, Jooste was slapped with a R475-million bill by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) over his pronounced role in the collapse of Steinhoff.

An FSCA probe had found that Jooste and Dirk Schreiber “made or published false, misleading, or deceptive statements about Steinhoff”. Jooste was expected to pay up by mid-April.

The FSCA said on Friday that it would continue to pursue claims against Jooste despite his death.

“As the penalty on the late Mr Jooste in his personal capacity was already imposed at the time of his death, his passing does not impact on the penalty.

The FSCA is legally entitled to recover the penalty from the estate of the late Mr Jooste. Whether the authority will claim against the estate will be decided at the appropriate time, taking into account all the relevant circumstances.”

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