Author Q&A with Mandy Wiener
Exclusive Books recently hosted a live Twitter Q&A session with Mandy Wiener as part of their annual Homebru Campaign, which promotes the finest range of South African books during the month of June. We’ve put together some of the questions from fans, customers and readers and Sue’s answers.
One of South Africa’s best-known and most credible journalist and author, Mandy Wiener worked as a multi-award-winning reporter with Eyewitness News from 2004 until 2014 and is currently a freelancer. Ministry of Crime is her fourth book, following on from the best-selling Killing Kebble: An Underworld Exposed, My Second Initiation: The Memoir of Vusi Pikoli, written with the former head of the National Prosecuting Authority and Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story, co-authored with colleague Barry Bateman.
Exclusive Books recently hosted a live Twitter Q&A session with Mandy Wiener as part of their annual Homebru Campaign, which promotes the finest range of South African books during the month of June. We’ve put together some of the questions from fans, customers and readers and Mandy’s answers.
What was your inspiration for writing Ministry of Crime?
I always felt that I had the book inside me, I had reported on these various stories for Eye Witness News. The inspiration was all the knowledge that I had that hadn't seen the light of day and really doing a proper examination of the criminal justice system and its capture.
Did you face any legal challenges while working on the book?
The manuscript had a very thorough read by Dario Milo and his team. The only minor drama was literally five minutes after we went to print. We got a lawyer’s letter from one of the characters which delayed printing slightly. But, the book still made it onto the shelves.
Are you ever scared for your life with these people?
I do take precautions and try not to be completely naive! I don't get scared because I try to be non-judgmental. I never had any direct threats and wasn't seriously concerned about my safety or that of my family. Most of the people who posed a threat had seen the text, given interviews and knew what was coming. It's the whistleblowers, cops and prosecutors who face real danger.
Have you ever received death threats from politicians or law enforcement agencies?
I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't actually! I thought the police would be a bit more upset about the content of this book but obviously, they realised that it's all true and there's no disputing it. Politicians haven't been happy, but are they ever?
What didn’t make it into the book?
There was quite a lot left on the cutting room floor because of length. I did quite a bit on the bouncer industry and a few other murders that couldn't fit in. Also, couldn't find a way to fit in the Arno Lamoer story. I would have loved Krejcir and Mdluli interviews!
In South Africa, real life can definitely be stranger than fiction. What is one of the most bizarre stories you have ever covered and did they make it into the book?
The story that I tell in the book about the red Polo incident at Krejcir's Money Point shop is truly the stuff of James Bond novels. Twelve barrels popping out from behind a number plate, remote detonated, a car going up in flames. Can't make that up!
Have you ever considered writing a novel?
I have thought about it, but I don't know if I could come up with a believable storyline because the non-fiction narratives are truly bizarre. Maybe I'll give it a bash, but I suspect I'll write one chapter and give up.
When is your next book project and any hints to the subject matter?
No book project planned just yet, but I have some ideas bubbling. Ministry of Crime was a mammoth task, I'm still recovering!
Ministry of Crime traces an underworld trajectory from Kebble to Krejcir to Modack. It features new revelations about high-profile, unsolved hits and the intricate relationships between known criminals and police officers at all levels. Mandy Wiener examines the nexus between organised crime figures, corrupt police officials and powerful politicians.