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Steal a Few Cents – Rupert Smith

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Steal a Few Cents – Rupert Smith

Rupert Smith discusses his book 'Steal a Few Cents' (Camera & editing: Nicholas Boyd)

8th June 2018


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Mpho Mamela, a young accountant at a coal mine in the Middelburg coalfields of South Africa is killed one night when he gets caught in the rollers of a conveyor belt. He is mangled beyond recognition.

There will be an official State enquiry into his death, by the Inspectorate of Mining. Stephen Wakefield, the in-house lawyer and a director of the company, begins preparing for the enquiry, but he struggles to understand what happened - Mamela should not have been anywhere near the place he was killed.

Bit by bit, Stephen’s investigation uncovers a story far removed from a simple workplace accident. A web of deception and massive fraud is unveiled; fraud perpetrated by a person who publicly insists on high standards of morality and honesty. It becomes clear to Stephen that Mamela had tried to blackmail the guilty party to help his lover, who is in prison for attempting to steal a trifling amount from the mining company.

When the killer learns that his actions are about to be exposed, Stephen realises that his own life is now in danger...



Rupert Smith is 58, a retired attorney, living in Johannesburg, South Africa. His BA degree at Wits University in Johannesburg was in languages, six of them, including English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Nederlands. He qualified as an attorney, and spent 25 years at major Johannesburg city law firms doing commercial legal work for the mining sector, during which time he dealt with the captains of industry, merchant bankers, accountants, regulators, judges, and, above all, miners at every level of seniority. After retiring from practice, he spent a few years in commerce in the senior management of a coal mining company. He is married, and has two children: his daughter in third year at Cape Town University; and his son in final year at St John’s College in Johannesburg. His wife runs a Johannesburg based business called The Book Revue – it promotes new literature at regular launches, talks, lunches and other events.


Steal a Few Cents is published by Roundfire Books


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