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The sight of the seven Tongaat Hulett accused in the dock in Durban last Thursday carries a significance that echoes far beyond the 24 charges listed in the 49-page charge sheet. As the first arrests for the wave of white-collar crime that encompasses the R106bn fraud at Steinhoff and the larceny at EOH, it was a visceral portrait of what awaits other rule-bending executives.

In court sat Peter Staude, former CEO of the 130-year-old sugar firm, alongside former finance director Murray Munro, former head of Tongaat’s property arm Mike Deighton, former executives Rory Wilkinson, Kamasagrie Singh, Samantha Shukla, and, remarkably, Deloitte auditor Gavin Kruger...

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