The Taco Kuiper Awards, finally taking place in-person since 2019, awarded the investigative reports of Daily Maverick and amaBhungane. 

The 16th edition of the Taco Kuiper Awards for investigative journalism took place on April 12, 2022, at the Wits Club. More than one media house, for the first time since 2019, took the award home. The winners are: Daily Maverick’s Digital Vibes” by Pieter-Louis Myburgh, and amaBhungane’s “UPL Chemical Disaster” by Susan Comrie and Dewald van Rensburg.  

Not a stranger to taking home the trophy, Myburgh now has four wins to his name. His story, which was praised by Leshilo as a “meticulous” presentation of details, and “…led to the cancellation of contracts, saving millions [of Rands], and the axing of Health Minister and presidential contender, Zweli Mkhize.”  

Myburgh’s investigation looked into the Health Ministry’s corruption through communications contracts – one of them being the Transnet “tall trains” contract. The investigation took place over several months and took the form of a collection of stories.  

Susan Comrie is now a three-time Taco Kuiper Award winner. This win is for the collaborative report on the chemical fire at the UPL power plant in July 2021. She did the report with fellow amaBhungane writer, Dewald van Rensburg, who was a first-time recipient.  

Van Rensburg says that the report was “essentially built from the ground up” and required them to learn a lot about the legalities around chemicals, chemical storage and a host of other information – all of which was neglected by the corporations they investigated.   

Myburgh says he considers the award “a true celebration of investigative journalism in South Africa.” Van Rensburg shared similar sentiments and expressed how the project looked to expose those who “disregard the rules” and who wouldn’t “necessarily get caught unless [their] warehouse blows up.”  

This year’s cash prize was split between the two winners, who took home R150 000 each.  

FEATURED IMAGE: 16th Annual Taco Kuiper award. Photo: Colin Hugo