Defend Truth


Fact Check — Is Markus Jooste really dead?

Fact Check — Is Markus Jooste really dead?
Illustrative image: (Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images ) | Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

In late March, the news broke on South African news websites that Steinhoff fraudster Markus Jooste had died by suicide. But a few weeks later, conspiracy theories are swirling about whether Jooste is really dead.

This article and video contain discussions of suicide, which may be triggering and upsetting.

“Is Markus Jooste missing? Police STILL can’t confirm death of wanted man,” ran a headline on The South African website, while IOL went with the blunt question: “Where is Markus Jooste’s body?

It is true that the police have been cagey about information on the circumstances of Jooste’s death and burial. But there seems to be little doubt that the disgraced Steinhoff CEO took his own life on 21 March. 

Daily Maverick, for instance, quoted an eyewitness who was clearly familiar with Jooste and who was able to describe the scene of the shooting and the arrival of emergency services on the scene.

News24’s reporting, meanwhile, included further details, such as that Jooste had told his wife he was going for a walk and waited for her to leave to play golf before going out and shooting himself.

Jooste’s suicide reportedly took place a day after the Financial Sector Conduct Authority imposed a R475-million fine on him for the Steinhoff fraud and indicated that it would pursue a criminal investigation. There have been separate reports that Jooste caught wind of the fact that the Hawks were due to arrest him within days.

The South African website cited the Sunday Independent as reporting that “police still have no information regarding the death or location of Markus Jooste’s body”.

But not even the Sunday Independent is making the claim that police have no information about Jooste’s death. 

Police told the newspaper they had opened an inquest docket into his death and were investigating, with no details to be released at that time. 

The Sunday Independent reported that police were refusing to divulge the details of where Jooste’s body was or whether it had been buried, which the paper seemed to suggest was suspicious. 

But it is highly unlikely that authorities would publically release this kind of information about a private citizen’s death, regardless of how controversial that citizen was.

It is also likely that Jooste’s family would wish to keep the details around any funeral or memorial confidential, given Jooste’s criminal offences.

It’s easy to understand why this particular conspiracy theory has taken off, given the fact that South Africa has seen instances of deaths being faked. In particular, the so-called Facebook rapist, Thabo Bester, was famously able to escape prison by faking his own death.

But in the case of Jooste, on the basis of the facts reported so far, there seems little doubt that the corporate swindler is indeed deceased. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Jacques Siebrits says:

    The IOL papers are now sub-tabloid standard, sadly.

    • Winston Bigsby says:

      Tabloid standard? You mean lower than shark sh-t?

    • Nick Griffon says:

      IOL has been a bullshit factory for many years now.
      I cannot believe that anybody even read that rubbish anymore.

      • Gavin Hillyard says:

        Agreed. I hung on to my decades long subscription to the Cape Times, but in the end the only reason I continued having it delivered was the excellent quality rubber bands they used to seal the plastic wrapping in winter. But ultimately, like thousand of other Capetonians, even that wasn’t enough.

        • Sue Luck says:

          Ha ha I dispensed with my decades long Cape Times subs when Itchy Scurvy fired Alida Desnois and many other good journalists left thereafter along with worthy news.
          I get good strong elastic bands around my Business Day delivery!

  • Agf Agf says:

    Well I for one was most certainly not “triggered” or “upset” by the article. Who would be?

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      That line is in reference to the video, not the article. As for who it is for — it’s mainly for people who have/had experienced suicidal ideation, survivors of suicide attempts, and those who have lost loved ones to suicide. The path to healing is different for everyone, so it may or may not apply to specific individuals, but in terms of advance notice, it’s nicer to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

    • jason du toit says:

      thinking that because something doesn’t bother you it doesn’t bother others is naïve. or are you being mean? or trying to make some sort of a point (to the point of being oblivious to other people’s pain)?

    • Agf Agf says:

      No. It’s just left wing woke nonsense. The very word “triggered” gives me a gril.

      • Rama Chandra says:

        So you get triggered by the word “triggered” and want to cancel it? I find that triggering, and want to cancel it.

        Or we can all just chill…

  • Johan Buys says:

    He’d be easy to spot. Look for the short fat bald guy at the horse racetrack – the one with the bimbo.

  • Notinmyname Fang says:

    Where is the death certificate?

  • Les Thorpe says:

    Thabo Bester got away with it for over a year so why can’t Jooste? After all, he’s got loads and loads of fraudulently acquired moola, more than enough to bribe his way thru “the system”. Perhaps that’s also why his “bit on the side” is challenging the Reserve Bank to release funds. Maybe they plan to elope to Tanzania?

  • Quidditas Amati says:

    He will be spotted in either Mauritius or Hawaii with Gavin Watson, just ask Angelo Agrizzi.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Please explain why this conspiracy yack is being spread by DM!

    • Wendy Dewberry says:

      I was quite pleased to read this article it made me wonder. I suppose whether its true or not is a moot point because either way nothing is mended, but at least if he does pop up somehere in the future this article will have borne reference.
      Thanks DM

    • Grenville Wilson says:

      Agreed, why does DM entertain publishing Drivel like this??

    • Greeff Kotzé says:

      The intention is to debunk the theory, not to spread it, I’m sure. That’s why the headline starts with “Fact Check” and the article ends with “…there seems little doubt that [Markus Jooste] is indeed deceased.”

  • David Forbes says:

    Ya. We still have to see definitive proof of Gavin Watson’s death. Too many cover-ups, too much secrecy, and what happens? Trust dissolves, just like a Disprin in a glass of water, except that the dissolved trust doesn’t cure the headache.

  • Wilhelm Boshoff says:

    Is really nothing else to write about. Fact checking tabloids?

  • Lynda Tyrer says:

    Typical IOL anything to stir the pot. Too many in that media group wearing tinfoil hats and believing the world is flat.

    • Hulme Scholes says:

      You are so wrong. Jooste was spotted with Elvis and JFK at an MK Party rally last week. IOL will break the story later today.

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    In SA the idea the idea of a billionaire being assisted by organs of our gangster state to escape justice is perfectly plausible. Our government has a bit of form. Looking at you Guptas, Omar al Bashir, Grace Mugabe, Zuma etc etc.

  • Kid Charlemagne says:

    The journalistically astute Rebecca Davis is promoting a conspiracy theory notwithstanding a statement like, “But there seems to be little doubt that the disgraced Steinhoff CEO took his own life on 21 March,” to couch her peddling of course. All this for a little sensation in your morning read. I prefer reporting based on the facts and evidence. I’m old-fashioned that way.

  • drew barrimore says:

    Someone spotted his face in their coffee cream. It’s true!

  • Skinyela Skinyela says:

    Why are you entertaining conspiracy theories?

  • Denise Huxham says:

    This is in terrible taste DM!

  • Siyabonga Hlongwa Hlongwa says:

    Let’s assumed Jooste committed suicide but why choosing the good moment to do it after facing criminal investigation?

    Where is the body of Jooste and Gavin Watson?

  • Robert de Vos says:

    The police are tight-lipped and keeping their cards close to their chests.

  • District Six says:

    Hah hah. He’s popping an opioid with Elvis, no doubt, and their housekeeper is Lady Diana. Coz, you know, Dadi. Some people will believe anything if it is on Facebook.
    So… in the immortal words of Monty Python:

    “No, he’s deid. He’s bleedin’ demised! He’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! He’s expired and gone to meet his maker! He’s a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed him to the perch, he’d be pushing up the daisies! His metabolic processes are now history! He’s off the twig! He’s kicked the bucket, he’s shuffled off tis mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!”

  • Bev Lloyd says:

    As well as Gavin Watson both tgese guys paid “someone” while they took the first flight out of SA.

  • Peter Feddersen says:

    If you are interested, I can send you my Daun – Jooste report.
    Since 1996, these gentlemen have been cheating and deceiving the whole of South Africa.
    Mein report = 33 MB
    e-mail [email protected]

  • H VM says:

    I just feel so sorry for the futures of so many sports students that would of advantaged from the affiliation Steinhoff had with maties. I couldn’t give a rats ass about the white collar criminals. I myself was a student at Maties in 2010 that benefited from Steinhoffs input.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.