Thuli Madonsela salutes ‘Courageous investigator’ Advocate Stoffel Fourie, who has died at 63
The respected veteran investigator, one of the original members of the Office of the Public Protector South Africa, died suddenly on 3 July in the Eastern Cape.
Stoffel Fourie was described by former Public Protector, Professor Thuli Madonsela, as “the best and most courageous investigator I worked with”.
He is survived by his wife Marina, also a senior investigator with the PPSA before they both took early retirement in 2022, and their children Phillip, Xander, Jessica and Simeon, granddaughters Sage and Rose and sister Magda and their families.
Madonsela added that Fourie needed to be celebrated “for deploying his extraordinary intelligence to diligent and earnest work aimed at guardrailing our democracy by righting wrongs such as corruption, fraud and thievery in state affairs”.
It had been “a joy and honour to work with him” she said and was “shocked and deeply saddened by his untimely passing”.
Marina Fourie said the couple had just moved to the Eastern Cape where “we had the most wonderful year’ before his sudden and unexpected death.
“I believe subconsciously the poisonous circumstances in the office of the PP over the past four years certainly contributed to his death,” said his widow.
Fourie was one of eight staff to be employed when the newly established Office of the Public Protector South Africa (PPSA) was established in 1995 under Advocate Selby Baqwa. The investigator subsequently worked under four Public Protectors. He was head of special investigations.
Prior to his appointment to the PPSA, Fourie had spent four years in the SAPS, two as a public prosecutor, one as a magistrate, two as a State Law Advisor, three years as a practicing advocate at the Pretoria Bar.
In May 2022 then PP, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, announced the departure of Fourie and his wife. The now-suspended PP had described them both as having served “the people of this country with distinction as staff members of the PPSA”.
Fourie led the team which investigated then SAPS National Commissioner, Bheki Cele, (current Minister of Police) and his role in a 2010 R1.67-billion rental deal with businessman Roux Shabangu.
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Madonsela’s investigation led to the removal of former minister of Public Works, Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde and Cele as National Commissioner.
In 2018 he was appointed PPSA representative in the Eastern Cape having served previously as Executive Manager, Good Governance and Integrity.
Some of the notable investigations of the many he conducted or was involved in include the joint investigating team into the Arms Deal, the Sarafina Aids musical scandal which involved then Minister of Health, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Oilgate scandal and others. DM