Notes and Changes

We are pleased to announce that Paul Holden (Corruption Watch) will be responding.


Who secretly supported the last white regime in South Africa and profited from it? What can be done to hold economic criminals to account who have escaped justice? Author of Apartheid, Guns and Money: A tale of Profit, Hennie van Vuuren, will discuss the network of deep state actors in corporations, banks, intelligence agencies, arms dealers and prominent politicians in over fifty countries complicit in this crime against humanity. This tale of economic crime, uncovered through painstaking archival research in over two dozen archives and numerous interviews, helps us understand the legacy of corruption in a democratic South Africa today. Twenty five years after the end of apartheid - South Africa is today grappling with the scourge of state capture by contemporary political and economic elites. The book shows how the old corrupt networks which benefitted from white nationalism quickly sought to corrupt the countries first democratic government.

This book, now published in the UK by Hurst, has generated much needed debate about the need for legal mechanisms to hold corporations to account that profit from grave crimes. The evidence it contains is part of an unfolding litigation strategy and has found strong resonance amongst South Africans who wish to finally see justice for past crimes.

Speaker's Bio

Hennie van Vuuren is a South African activist and writer. He is the director of Open Secrets, a non-profit organisation based in Cape Town that investigates and seeks accountability for economic crimes, abuse of power and human rights violations. He has also worked as Director of the Institute for Security Studies in Cape Town and for Transparency International in Berlin. He is the author of Apartheid Guns & Money: A Tale of Profit (2017/2018) and co-author of The Devil in the Detail: How the Arms Deal Changed Everything (2011).

Discussant's Bio:

Paul Holden is a South African-born and London-based historian, researcher, writer and activist. He has published five books to date on issues related to corruption, governance and democratic practice, and the arms trade. Two of his books – The Arms Deal in Your Pocket (2008) and Who Rules South Africa (2012) – were major national best-sellers. His major investigative work to date was the book The Devil in the Detail: How the Arms Deal Changed Everything (2011), which collated the result of years of detailed investigation into South Africa’s biggest post-apartheid scandal.

Since 2009, Paul has worked closely with Andrew Feinstein, acting as the lead researcher for Feinstein’s The Shadow World and as co-author, along with fellow colleague Barnaby Pace, of the lead article in the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s  (SIPRI) 2011 Yearbook. Paul and Andrew Feinstein have also recently authored an explanatory article on the nature of arms trafficking for the Oxford Handbook for Organised Crime.