Sharing a note I received from the lovely Fran, the Insider’s Insider at Daily Maverick
You would be forgiven for getting a little lost in last week’s headlines, but beneath all the (quite frankly, hilarious) Ace puns was the very serious reality that the secretary-general of the ruling party had been suspended by the NEC … and then tried a one-man ruling party coup.
If that wasn’t enough, a couple of hours later, when the whole country was reeling with “do we still have a President?” and guffawing at the great headlines (special shout-out to “Farce about Ace”), the since suspended SG showed just how seriously he takes the President, his party, his suspension, the pandemic and us, the people he purports to serve, by posting a picture of himself pretending/posing/posturing to play chess.
Oh, touché, Ace, touché. Is that your very own pun with a pawn? At least none of these theatrics was taking place when there was a vaccine vacuum in the middle of a global pandemic.
Beneath all of this distraction is a pretty significant move against corruption.
It took a 30-day warning which came a full two years after investigative journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh first exposed Ace’s misdeeds in his book, Gangster State. Since then Ace has dominated the headlines as more and more corruption has been unearthed.
In a way, investigative journalism is a little like chess. It takes intelligence and skill and the knowledge that eventually the bad guys will be forced to make a wrong move. More than anything, it takes patience. As Ace’s entire corruption scandal has shown, it takes years of dedicated people working every day to uncover the rot – and even then it will take longer before there’s a conviction.
There’s one absolute truth that we can all agree on: Ace is not the only corrupt politician in this country. Every day, our investigative journalists uncover more and more deception and criminality. They do this because they fundamentally believe in defending truth.
Journalism and politics have many commonalities. When they are done well they can change the course of a nation. They are both a public service. They are both supposed to serve the people.
In this South African story, only one of those professions meets that mandate. The other is funded by the taxes of the people.
And yet, as so many of them have shown, that’s not enough to satisfy their greed, while the other profession is bleeding jobs, suffering a systemic lack of basic necessities, including training, and is funded by an outdated and dwindling advertising model.
Journalism is the profession that is on the side of the South African people, and it needs help, your help.
Without a robust, independent media, the truth just becomes another pawn in the hands of the corrupt and the criminal. We need our readers to join our efforts; to help support us so that we can continue the slow, arduous but essential work of uncovering and protecting this truth. So far, more than 17,000 readers have signed up to become members and support our work so that we can keep doing it.
Join us and become part of the team that’s making a genuine impact on the country. Even if it is happening way too slow, years later.