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Ray Joseph and Jeff Wicks jointly win the 2022 Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism

- Wits University

The annual Taco Kuiper Award celebrates the best in investigative journalism and highlights the importance of investigative journalists in South Africa.

Ray Joseph from GroundUp and News24's Jeff Wicks jointly won this year’s Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism. The winners were announced at an awards ceremony at Wits University on Friday, 21 April.

2023 Taco Kuiper Awards for Investigative Journalism joint winners Ray Joseph from GroundUp and Jeff Wicks from News24 (both in centre) with Les Jamieson, trustee of The Valley Trust that funds the Taco Kuiper awards and Professor Anton Harber from the Wits Centre for Journalism.

Joseph won the award for his multi-year investigation into corruption in the National Lottery, which came to a head last year when the CEO, the CFO and the board were fired and the Hawks launched a major investigation.

Wicks won the award for his story behind the assassination of hospital whistleblower Babita Deokaran.

The Runners Up in the competition this year were the TimesLive team – Aron Hyman, Graeme Hosken and Tankiso Makhetha – for their Zama Zama set of stories.

Each of the winners walked away with a prize of R120 000 each, while the runners up got R60 000.

The Taco Kuiper Awards is an annual award that celebrates and honours the best in investigative journalism in South Africa and highlights the importance of investigative journalists in society. This year was the 17th year that the competition has been running.

The 2023 competition attracted 29 entries – up from 26 in 2022, which allows for a useful peek into the condition of the country’s journalism. The entries came from 13 different outlets, including the first entry from a student publication, Wits Vuvuzela. Tannur Anders, an Honours student at Wits submitted her capstone project first published on Wits Vuvuzela. Nicky Troll gave the first entry from the international online publication, Vice.

Eleven of the entries were submitted in video, while the rest were submitted from print or online publications, including one book.

“The work we recognise today highlights the value and importance of such work in ensuring the accountability that is the foundation of good governance, democracy and economic prosperity. This year we have again seen journalists tackle issues at every level of our society: political leadership, business leadership, national, local, big names, small names, social issues like the environment. And each one of these stories took courage and resilience,” said Professor Anton Harber of the Wits Centre for Journalism and Executive Director, Campaign for Free Expression, in announcing the winners.

“We can say with pride that some of our news outlets are among the few institutions which remain independent and strong enough to tackle these issues and force those with power to account for themselves. While we are often concerned about the state of our media as a whole, we will see from those who entered today’s awards that there is a significant amount of excellent and important work being done. The bottom line is that there is so much we would not know without these reporters, so much that would remain hidden, so many wrongdoers not held accountable. We can truly say that an investment in the work of accountability journalism is an investment in our future, and we thank those who make that investment.”

The Taco Kuiper Awards for Investigative Journalism is funded by The Valley Trust and managed by the Wits Centre for Journalism.