MANDY WIENER’s name is associated with beverages, be they of the chilled or hot variety, on two occasions.
The first instance was whilst interning at Talk Radio 702’s traffic desk where, according to former colleague, John Robbie – she served tea and coffee to staffers.
A latter opportunity is recorded in her latest offering, Ministry of Crime, whilst at a restaurant with erstwhile National Prosecuting Authority’s Glynnis Breytenbach – conversing regarding the unscrupulous nature of fellow humans, over chilled glasses of Sauvignon Blanc.
The mere mention of Wiener and beverages appear to be in good nick, seeing as the venue where a sizable audience was gathered around her person – happened to offer, you guessed it precise, chilled and hot beverages!
This was at the Hyde Park Corner branch of information and knowledge space, Exclusive Books and the reason for the rendezvous was the launch of the multi award-winning reporter’s fourth book: Ministry of Crime.
And amidst shelves laden with thousands of books and an overlay of the basic features of cuisine of wine, cheese and bread – the gathering also numbered a duo of renown, O’Sullivanses, radio host, David and intrepid forensic investigator, Paul.
Conspicuously present too was a posse of security personnel strategically position around the ambience-filled bookstore.
Kaya FM host, David O’Sullivan was there to facilitate the conversation with the writer and Paul O’Sullivan was probably there as a guest.
But the star feature of the midweek evening encounters, the book’s contents – made for a worthwhile detour for the working class en-route home.
Ministry of Crime is as imputable down, as it is spellbinding, intriguing and even risible at places. It chronicles skulduggery and the consequences of what happens when human beings fall from grace. Protracted segments delve into numerous thugs masquerading as law enforcers. A tale of politics colluding with crime unfolds at astonishing patterns and the overarching theme at the pit of occupants of the otherworldly existence is: greed for money!
The text locomotive to random stations of denialism, lies [and yet more lies to the extent where facts are blurred to the point of confusion], betrayal, revenge, alpha male egos, ruined careers [as in the case of a skilled but dubious cop who got given a golden handshake and later became a sangoma] – and endless body-count tolls!
It is chilling [more than the vine juice could ever bear] and the stuff of Tinseltown plot conjurers and men’s lives are conducted and ultimately expunged as though there was reincarnation or resurrection any time sooner!
Familiar names and related deeds and implications etched in infamy such as Richard Mdluli and the shelved docket regarding the Oupa Ramokgibe murder, and Riah Phiyega and the Marikana Massacre – come to the surface.
Organograms with principals such as then-president Jacob Zuma branch toward other names implicated in an intricate circus which at its base is all at once devoid of any modicum of mores. Wiener’s is a sordid tale of a realm whence legal practitioners such as Nomcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi rather compromise their oath in order to shield political masters.
“It’s just a few hour, what could possibly happen?” Wiener reasoned in justifying momentarily switching off her phone on the occasion of her wedding day on Human Rights Day back in 2011. Hereat, the reader would opine that even an-always-on-her-toes newshound such as her understandably deserved some respite, given the calibre of the day.
Rare letting down of her news scooping guard – it turned out to be. Evidently, in the world of tit-for-tat, the Grim Reaper allowed for no respite, for, when the bride switched on her phone later in the course of her special day – messages and missed calls exploded announcing that yet another player in the underworld had been taken out of the game. It was news on Cape Town security boss, Cyril Beeka’s demise, having been shot in Bellville by hitmen on a motorbike.
Such sources-supplied information is par for course for the Killing Kebble author yet she also pointed out to an incident which she claimed she never in her wildest dreams could have imagined could transpire.
Wiener alluded to, either a staged or assassination attempt on Czech fugitive, Radovan Krejcir in Bedfordview at the end of July 2013. Describing details forwarded to her as stuff straight out of James Bond flicks – according to Krejcir, a modified vehicle with back licence plate which blew off to reveal a dozen gun barrels aimed directly at where he parked his car, began firing in his direction no sooner had he alighted.
Krejcir claimed that the guns affixed to the car, which had no occupant, may have been remote-controlled by someone lurking in the vicinity.
Beeka’s death and Krejcir’s ‘apparent’ attempted hit are just but two occurrences not uncommon in the life courses of protagonists and antagonists of the underworld once populated and populated by the said characters.
At Hyde Park, Wiener rued Shaun Abrahams’ continued tenure at the NPA and, on the back of a glut of cash-in-transit heists, suggested that they flourished due to a lack of Crime Intelligence.
She further claimed that underworld camps were using law enforcers against each other. Curiously, the author noted that a co-accused of Krejcir’s called inquiring if he could have a copy of her book. Implying the setting of boundaries when tackling a project of such a nature, which invariably step on others’ toes – Wiener matter-o’-factedly informed attendees that there was security risk to her.
Author of The President’s Keepers, Jacques Pauw lauds Ministry of Crime as amongst the finest non-fiction crime writing people will ever read.
Having sold around 100 000 across all platform to date as well as shooting to #1 on the best-seller in the non-fiction charts – the book is an additional reminder to Wiener’s current position as one of South Africa’s best known and most credible journalists and authors.
She had previously extensively covered both the corruption trial of former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi and the Brett Kebble murder trial.
A mother of two, the BA graduate from the former Rand Afrikaans Universiteit specialises in investigative reporting and legal matters, and has in fact received several commendations in the Webber Wentzel ‘Legal Journalist of the Year’ awards.
Twice short-listed for the Alan Paton Sunday Times Literary Award for her book, Killing Kebble and My Second Initiation [co-written with former NPA head, Vusi Pikoli] – she has also broken new ground for live tweeting court cases and stories. With almost 300 000 followers, Wiener is considered as among the country’s foremost twitterati.
The book, Wiener intimated, was in places written at restaurants and coffee shops.
And as the engagement came to a close in order for her to attend to the book signing part of the launch, a familiar figure in a dark suit with spectacles perched on a balding head approached her and offered: “well done Mandy!” It was O’Sullivan – not the fellow radio colleague, but the other one with the backbone so missing from the torsos of others who claim to be custodians of law and order but act conversely.
The affirmation befittingly emanated from the mouth of Paul O’Sullivan, a soul who, in spite of an attempt [genuinely] once been made on his life – remains the scourge of scum land figures such as Kokstad-incarcerated, Radovan Krejcir.