Johannesburg – News24, AmaBhungane and Daily Maverick were crowned overall winners of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year (VJOY) awards in Midrand on Thursday evening.
They were honoured for their groundbreaking work exposing the extent of the influence that the controversial Gupta family has over South African public enterprises, through a series of leaks called the #GuptaLeaks.The investigative journalists awarded for their work on the #GuptaLeaks are: Branko Brkic, Pauli van Wyk, Lester Freamon, Adriaan Basson, Richard Poplak, Adi Eyal, Micah Reddy, Susan Comrie, Angelique Serrao, Stefaans Brummer, Antoinette Muller, Marianne Thamm, Sam Sole, Tabelo Timse, Pieter-Louis Myburgh, Craig McKune, Lionel Faull, Rebecca Davis and Sally Evans.
News24 editor Adriaan Basson said he was proud of the collaboration between News24, amaBhungane and Daily Maverick and the acknowledgement they have received for their hard work on the #GuptaLeaks.
"The fact that we are all online platforms shows that investigative journalism is alive, well and thriving in the fast-paced world of digital journalism," he said.
At the gathering, veteran journalist Phil Mtimkulu was awarded the VJOY Lifetime Achiever Award.
Mtimkulu was one of the founding members of the Union of Black Journalists in 1972 and was its secretary when it was banned in 1977.
He worked as a journalist at the Sowetan and was news editor at The Star before becoming a professor at the University of South Africa (Unisa) in 1987.
Other national winners of the VJOY 2017 include:
- eNCA's Checkpoint for best TV feature for their work on the Esidimeni tragedy;
- eNCA's Ronald Masinda and Nceba Ntlanganiso for best sports reporting for dispelling notions that South African cricket is a white man's sport;
- Laura Grant and Alastair Otter from Passmark and TimesLive for best digital journalism for their work on exposing the dangers of asbestos at Gauteng schools;
- Citizen Justice Network's Paul McNally, Kutlwano Serame, John Bartmann and Freddy Mabitsela for best radio feature for their work on an innocent man who spent 17 years in jail; - Sipho Masondo from City Press won in the Sustainability category for his outstanding and brave expose of corruption allegations threatening the region’s water supply;- Hanri Wondergem from RSG was voted best in the radio news category for reporting on the dangers of WhatsApp voice notes;
- Tiso Blackstar's Graeme Hosken, Thanduxolo Jika, Kyle Cowan, Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Qaanitah Hunter, Sabelo Skiti, Hanna Ziady, Siphe Macanda, Genevieve Quintal and Mzilikazi wa Afrika received the best print news award for their State Capture series;
- Tania Broughton and Thuli Dlamini from The Times received the award for the best print feature for their work on exposing the living conditions in hostels in KwaZulu-Natal;
- eNCA's Malungelo Booi, Lirandzu Themba, Mlingane Dube and Thuthuka Zondi won for best TV News for their series on the higher education funding;
- Phandulwazi Jikelo of the Cape Times and Alon Skuy of The Times were awarded for best photography;
- Monique Mortlock from Eyewitness News was awarded the VJOY young journalist of the year.
In a statement, convenor of the VJOY judging panel Ryland Fisher congratulated the journalists on their remarkable achievement.
"This year has been a particularly good one for South African journalists who have shown that, despite dwindling resources, they are still able to chase big and important stories," Fisher said.