Dispatch team wins 2007/08 Taco Kuiper award

The 2007/08 Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism – the
largest South African journalism prize – has gone to three reporters
from the Daily Dispatch for their expose of hundreds of neo-natal
deaths at Frere Hospital.

The judges described the work of Brett Horner, Chandre Prince and
Ntando Makhubu as “a model investigation of excellent and powerful
journalism”. The three reporters’ “imagination, creativity” and use of
“some unusual methodology” such as hidden cameras produced overpowering
evidence of neglect, mismanagement and malpractice at the East London

The series of stories sparked a national debate on the state of the
health system in general and on neonatal care in particular and led to
the dismissal of the deputy health minister for all the wrong reasons.

Despite fierce criticism from the highest offices the story not only
led to considerable improvements for the community it was about but had
an enormous impact on the country as a whole. It was in the words of
the judges “a testament to the power and value of the best kind of

The three reporters shared R200 000.

In March 2009 another investigative team from the Daily Dispatch broke their multimedia story about the killing of Somalis in an East London community. The four-month investigation was made possible by a grant from the Taco Kuiper fund. 

Recognition was also given to the Mail & Guardian team for its
exposure of Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi’s dubious associations
with the underworld. The judges described the team’s persistent
investigations into the close link between one of the most powerful men
in government and a number of criminal syndicates as “remarkable for
its doggedness and determination”. It was a story that “required
courage and commitment” and that “had and continues to have major
social and political impact”, the judges declared.

The team of seven shared a second prize of R100 000.

Judges praised the range of investigative work they received, with
big and small newsrooms across the country raising crucial political,
social and ethical issues. “Nobody can accuse our newspapers of
cowardice,” said Professor Anton Harber, convenor of the judging panel.
“They are bold, they are challenging, and they frequently stick their
necks out.”

The Awards are the result of a partnership between the Valley Trust and
the Wits Journalism Programme’s Investigative Journalism Workshop.

Why Frere's babies die, July 12 2007

A mother's pain, July 13 2007

HRC and health council join Frere fray, July 14 2007

Frere a 'national emergency', July 16 2007

Two traumatised moms tell of their martenity unit ordeals, July 18 2007

Top nurse under fire, July 19 2007

Massive Frere reforms, July 23 2007


Read the judges' remarks.

Read the citations.

See a photo gallery of the Taco Kuiper 2007/08 awards.

Read the winning entries from the Mail & Guardian.