The Henry Nxumalo Foundation is offering grants to journalists to investigate South Africa’s ‘construction mafia’.

There have been an increasing number of reports of these groups and their disruption of major construction projects. “Cape Town dealing with extortion and criminality at construction sites”, eNCA reported on 12 February. “Extortion by gangs is hampering the delivery of housing projects in Cape Town”, Daily Maverick reported on 5 February. And perhaps most shocking was this News24 report of February 23: “Cape Town official gunned down by ‘construction mafia’.”

It is a growing national phenomenon but little detail has been reported on who these gangs are, who leads them, how they operate, how the industry is dealing with it and what impact it is having. The Foundation is offering grants to journalists or teams of journalists to enable them to spend time to undertake in-depth probes into these and related issues in any part of the country. There will be 3-6 grants, the size of each depending on the scale of the investigation. The work should be completed and published/broadcast within six months.

Any journalist or team of journalists may apply, and the work may be produced in any medium. We encourage applications from both experienced and new journalists. We offer mentors for the less experienced. We favour work which is in the public interest, aims to reveal new information, is in-depth and investigative in nature and uses innovative techniques, approaches or technologies.

Grant decisions are made by an independent panel of experts and are treated confidentially. It will be the grantee’s responsibility to ensure the material is published/broadcast and the applicants should indicate where they intend to publish/broadcast. An expression of interest from the publisher/broadcaster will assist the application.

Applicants should submit a short proposal (not more than two pages), a CV, a budget and where possible an expression of interest from a publisher/broadcaster. These should be sent to:

Closing date: March 24, 2023

See: for full grant rules and guidelines