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HomeEditors PicksWhy every South African must watch 'Steinheist' doccie: what critics say

Why every South African must watch ‘Steinheist’ doccie: what critics say

Steinheist, a true crime doccie about the biggest corporate scam centered around the now infamous Markus Jooste has just debuted on Showmax with new episodes every Thursday until October 6 (2022). Here is what critics have to say about the three-part docuseries and why this must be on a must-watch-list for every South African.

Steinheist is made by Idea Candy, the producers of Devilsdorp, the record-breaking Showmax Original that won Best Made for TV Documentary at the 2022 South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs). 

Once billed as “the Ikea of Africa,” Steinhoff employed over 130 000 people on over 40 brands across four continents. Steinhoff-owned companies every South African will know include giants like Ackermans, Incredible Connection, Morkels, Pennypinchers, PEP, Russells, Tekkie Town, and Timbercity. 

On December 5, 2017, CEO Markus Jooste resigned amid an investigation into accounting irregularities, and Steinhoff’s share price plunged by 90% in a week. This wiped over R200 billion off Johannesburg’s stock exchange, the JSE – and off ordinary South Africans’ pensions and investments.

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‘Steinheist’ now on Showmax: What critics say

Early reviews for Steinheist are glowing, one such is News24’s Pieter du Toit, author of The Stellenbosch Mafia, who had this to says in the first episode: “You don’t think that a company of that size and that repute can crash so quickly.”

Watch: Steinheist official trailer!

In his four star review, Rapport’s Leon van Nierop calls it “excellent” and “insightful”, while Business Day’s Tymon Smith hails it as “a damning indictment of the greed and narcissism of one man and its devastating effects on those involved – and ordinary South Africans.” 

TWFLD’s Thabiso Moloi describes it as “a fantastic, enthralling and frustrating watch; frustrating not in a bad way but in disbelief of what we (as a society) allow to happen… Paced brilliantly from start to end.” And CapeTalk’s Pippa Hudson praises Steinheist as “excellent storytelling that demystifies the Steinhoff collapse for the layman. Every South African needs to watch this, if only to amplify the chorus of voices asking the question: Why hasn’t Markus Jooste been arrested?” 

Steinheist releases on Showmax just over a month after the JSE disqualified Ben la Grange from holding the office of a director or officer of a listed company for 10 years, imposing two separate fines of R1m each on the man who was Jooste’s chief financial officer at Steinhoff. 

The JSE claimed la Grange had processed a “fictitious” handwritten invoice handed to him by Jooste for €23.5 million – which would have been around R376 million at the time. 

Government corruption has been widely publicised in South Africa, as well as explored in the likes of the Rehad Desai and Mark Kaplan’s SAFTA-winning How To Steal A Country documentary, which is also on Showmax. Steinheist changes the focus onto the impact of corruption in the private sector. 

Editor's Desk
Editor's Desk
Curated by editor-in-chief, Tankiso Komane, this special collection of articles from the Editor's Desk unpacks topics of the day, including commentary, in-depth analysis and partner content.
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