26. Nov - 06. Dec
Digital Festival
Available from 26. Nov

This film is available on our digital platform.

What happens when a group of South African journalists stumble across a trail of widespread corruption, leading all the way into President Jacob Zuma's office? Or when, shortly thereafter, a smear campaign is launched with the aim of compromising the integrity of the journalists in question?

Luckily, the solution is closer than feared: a massive document leak comes out of nowhere, proving how government employees and private actors operate in tandem to extract as much money as possible out of the state treasury. The main spotlight is on the enormously influential and powerful Gupta family and their relations with President Zuma. State-owned shares and contracts for mining and railways are generously distributed to those who know how to return the favour. Even high-ranking government positions are on the table if the price is right.

How to Steal a Country is an engaging and hard-hitting documentary. It demonstrates how bad things can get when the president’s top priority is to distribute state assets to private actors – with the promise of undying loyalty in return.

Gjermund Granlund

In a pre-recorded interview, director Rehad Desai introduces and delves deeper into the themes of the film.


Rehad Desai returned to South Africa in 1990 after living in political exile during apartheid. He has studied film in Zimbabwe and South Africa, has managed a film festival, and is the head of a film and television company. The documentary Miners Shot Down from 2014 won an Emmy award as well as several awards at international film festivals.

Country South Africa

Year 2019

Director Rehad Desai

Screenplay Anita Khanna

Cinematography Nic Hofmeyr, Duncan Tilley, Shavez Ahmed, Fred Burns, Derek Allen, Ian Ross, Sandile Sethi, Eran Tahor

Producer Rehad Desai, Anita Khanna, Zivia Desai Keiper

Runtime 1h 27m

Language English

Subtitles English

Format DCP

Age limit A

Links IMDb

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