It has been a watershed year for South Africa’s media and indeed for our democracy. The #GuptaLeaks revealed the true extent of state capture by President Jacob Zuma’s pals, the Gupta family.
With the Daily Maverick and News24, we exposed how the Guptas “captured” political decision-making in South Africa, benefited from state contracts and laundered billions offshore.
The scandal has reverberated internationally, implicating multinationals who facilitated or turned a blind eye to the Guptas’ allegedly criminal ventures.
These include reputation management company Bell Pottinger, which has gone into administration, and auditing firm KPMG, consultants McKinsey & Co and software giant SAP who have each apologised and taken corrective action.
Authorities in the US, UK and Dubai are reportedly investigating.
So far we have published around 70 articles. Much of the data required a painstaking assembly of pieces of a very large puzzle, combining what is in the #GuptaLeaks with external information.
Investigative journalism takes time and money. To safeguard our independence, we do not sell advertising and do not accept grants from governments or corporates, or for specific stories or themes.
Increasingly, ordinary people are helping us safeguard this independence; to do more to expose wrongdoing and hold power to account.
Our crowd-funding revenue, equivalent to 11.5% of expenditure last year, is heading to 20% in the current financial year.
From the #GuptaLeaks to our corrupted social grants system, the unaffordable trillion-rand nuclear deal and revelations from a massive global offshore leak, the Paradise Papers, we have been relentless in our pursuit of open, accountable and just democracy this year.
It has been heavy going, but we have taken succour from the resilience of the many South Africans who have joined us on our journey of discovery and holding power to account.
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A few beetles at our end of year lunch in Johannesburg.