Dispatch team wins 2007/08 Taco Kuiper award
The 2007/08 Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the
largest South African journalism prize ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ 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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œa model investigation of excellent and powerful
journalismÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â. The three reportersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œimagination, creativityÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and use of
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œsome unusual methodologyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â 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 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œa 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.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Recognition was also given to the Mail & Guardian team for its
exposure of Police Commissioner Jackie SelebiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s dubious associations
with the underworld. The judges described the teamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s persistent
investigations into the close link between one of the most powerful men
in government and a number of criminal syndicates as ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œremarkable for
its doggedness and determinationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â. It was a story that ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œrequired
courage and commitmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â and that ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œhad and continues to have major
social and political impactÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, 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. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œNobody can accuse our newspapers of
cowardice,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â said Professor Anton Harber, convenor of the judging panel.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThey are bold, they are challenging, and they frequently stick their
The Awards are the result of a partnership between the Valley Trust and
the Wits Journalism ProgrammeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Investigative Journalism Workshop.