The 2008 Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism was awarded to the Mail & Guardian for its extraordinary commitment to the complex arms deal story.
Winners: Mail & Guardian
Reporters Sam Sole, Stefaans BrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¼mmer and Adriaan Basson and editor Farial Haffajee
were commended ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œfor their doggedness in chipping away at the edifice of
secrecy and steadily filling in the detail of what must rate as one of
the most important stories of this eraÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
The Taco Kuiper judges recognised the team for its use of the full
range of investigative techniques: cultivating sources, accessing court
documents, chasing down international records and using the internet to
track down individuals in obscure places.
The judges said:
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThey have presented their story in a readable, graphically-rich way
and made it people-centred. This story has not ended but if this
remains a national issue then it is largely because of the excellent
work of the Mail & Guardian teamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
Runners-up: Carte Blanche and City Press
Runners-up were television programme Carte Blanche for a story
on police corruption in Hammanskraal, and City Press, for their story
on corruption in the tenders for a new Sowetan hospital. They will
share R100 000.
The Carte Blanche team of Devi Sankaree Govender, Nicola de Chaud and Odette Schwegler, made use of secret
cameras that allowed them to nail the culprits on video. The judges
made special mention of presenter Govender who ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œhas done
her work with clarity, forcefulness and convictionÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â.
runner-up was City Press, with its reporters Dumisane Lubisi and Jacky Mapiloko, who stumbled across the story and then
pursued it all the way to its conclusion: forcing the cancellation of
The judges said the five shortlisted candidates
indicated that there were remarkable pockets of excellence in South
African journalism. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThere is a real commitment by some South African
print and broadcast media to uncovering the story behind the story,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
says Anton Harber, Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits University
and convenor of the judging panel.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThere were a number of
investigations which were professionally executed, pursued with vigour
and in some cases a good deal of courage. All the successful cases were
marked by reportersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ and editorsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ commitment to tough stories over an
extended period of time.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
He adds: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIt was striking that most
stories brought official response, whether in the form of tenders being
stopped, officials being investigated or arrests being made. Overall,
the judges concluded that at least pockets of our media are playing
their role in ensuring good governance in this society and forcing
transparency and accountability with vigour and rigour.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â
The judges also spontaneously decided to award R25 000 to Bheki Mashile, the publisher, editor and reporter of the Umjindi Guardian in Barberton. Mashile was shortlisted for the prize for his commitment to fighting corruption in the local authority despite very limited resources.
Taco Kuiper winners of 2008/09: left, the Carte Blanche team of Devi Sankaree Govender (front), Nicola de Chaud and Odette Schwegler. Right: Dumisane Lubisi, Stefaans BrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¼mmer, Jacky Mapiloko, Adriaan Basson, Bheki Mashile and Sam Sole.
Taco Kuiper Award is a partnership between the Valley Trust and the
Wits Journalism ProgrammeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Investigative Journalism Workshop. The
Award has been created to commemorate late business journalist and
publisher Taco Kuiper.
View a photo gallery of the ceremony and read more about past winners of the Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism.