11 November 2021
A team from GroundUp and the Limpopo Mirror has won the Vodacom Regional Journalist of the Year Award in the investigative journalism category in the combined Free State, North-West, Northern Cape and Limpopo regions. The names of the winners were announced during a virtual ceremony on Monday night.
GroundUp freelancer Raymond Joseph, Limpopo Mirror reporter Tshifhiwa Mukwevho and Limpopo Mirror publisher Anton van Zyl jointly won the award for their work exposing the rot within the National Lotteries Commission.
The judges said they had reviewed more than 1,300 entries received nationally in 12 categories. “Despite many challenges, and sometimes at significant personal cost, South African journalists across the country have persevered to bring high-quality journalism to the public through various mediums,” they said. The judges said the entries had “set a new benchmark for excellence in South African journalism”.
Van Zyl said the stories entered for the awards were the result of years of work. “In order to properly investigate each of these grants, we needed to firstly find the project, visit the area and speak to as many people as possible…. We interviewed sources who were often in fear of their lives and too scared to be identified. We also scrutinised hundreds of documents, some leaked and others in the public domain, to connect all the dots.”
“We congratulate Raymond, Tshifhiwa and Anton for this well deserved award.” said GroundUp deputy editor Barbara October. She said the coverage of the National Lotteries Commission in GroundUp over more than three years, republished by many other media outlets, had “highlighted the role news media play in the fight against state capture and the devastating impact it ultimately has in the lives of ordinary South Africans”.
This is the second award Joseph has won for his work on the Lotteries Commission this year; he shared the Nat Nakasa award for courage and integrity in journalism with GroundUp editor Nathan Geffen in the community media category.