Rehad Desai and Mark J. Kaplan
How to Steal a Country
Part of
How to Steal a Country

How to Steal a Country

Rehad Desai and Mark J. Kaplan

93 min.
South Africa
English and Zulu
Subtitles: Catalan, Spanish and English

A group of investigative journalists discover corruption involving the President of South Africa and his friends, the Guptas.



Rehad Desai and Mark J. Kaplan
Executive Production
Michael Auret, Mike Lerner, Geert Veuskens
Sibusiso Zulu, President Kapa
DocsBarcelona Distribution
Zivia Desai, Anita Khanna, Rehad Desai
Heino Deckert ( Filmproduktion), Gudny Hummelvoll (Hummelfilm), Maarten Schmidt (Storyhouse), Grant Keir (Faction North)
Anita Khanna, Rehad Desai
Megan Gill, Geert Veuskens, Nikki Comninos
Nic Hofmeyr, Duncan Tilley
Jannous Aukema

When a group of investigative journalists discovered far-reaching corruption involving Jacob Zuma, then President of South Africa, a pernicious disinformation campaign was mounted against the integrity of the newsroom. Then one day, two young men working in an IT company found the evidence that laid bare the entire modus operandi behind the capture of the South African state by private individuals with the help of politicians.

Thanks to their good friend Zuma, members of the Indian Gupta family were able to use the proceeds of an entire nation for their own gain, acquiring holdings in coal mines, media and IT companies, and even government positions. When finally a Judicial Commission of Inquiry is installed, Zuma also comes to testify. His defense: it’s all lies and fake news.

In interviews, investigative journalists express their concerns about the global drift towards ever-increasing entanglement between business and government, and the polarization it brings: presidents and multinationals live unassailably in their own bubble. As a journalist, all you can do is make life in the bubble a little less comfortable. Is there still room for justice in South Africa’s hard-won fledgling democracy?

About the direction

Rehad Desai


Rehad Desai is one of Africa’s leading documentarians, he has directed and produced numerous Feature...

Mark J. Kaplan


Director Mark J. Kaplan is one of South Africa’s foremost documentary filmmakers whose films have be...

Awards and festivals

The Netherlands, 2019
Doc Edge
New Zealand, 2020
Sydney SA Film Festival
Australia, 2020
Encounters IDF
South Africa, 2020
Durban International Film Festival
South Africa, 2020
Rehad Desai and Mark J. Kaplan
How to Steal a Country
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How to Steal a Country is a devastating reminder of greed, complicity and outright theft.

— Terry Bell

How to Steal a Country shows us what happened, who was responsible, how we found out — and leaves the question of what we need to do about it firmly in our court. Here's hoping that this time we make the right choice.

— Tymon Smith · Sunday Times
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