Irwin Manoim

Editorial coach

Irwin Manoim was joint founder and editor (with Anton Harber) of the Weekly Mail, now the Mail & Guardian, in 1985. He wrote a book about the early years of the newspaper, ‘You Have Been Warned’ (Penguin/Viking, 1996).

In 1994 he was joint founder and publisher of the Electronic Mail & Guardian, the first online news site in Africa and South Africa’s largest until his departure at the end of 1999. In 2000, he and Harber founded Big Media, a digital media agency which pioneered in areas such as online public information and long-form journalism.

He taught journalism for many years at the University of the Witwatersrand, particularly editing and design techniques, media theory and South African media history. Awards include the Pringle Award for courageous journalism (1986, jointly with Harber), the first Loerie award for web design and an honorary doctorate from Wits University for contributions to journalism.

Irwin will work closely with amaBhungane’s investigators and managing partners Sam Sole and Stefaans Brümmer.

Tebogo Tshwane

Investigator

Tebogo joined amaBhungane in September 2020 after leaving Moneyweb where she worked as a financial reporter.

Tebogo is a Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Witwatersrand where she specialised in radio, which led her to the Eyewitness News newsroom as an intern in 2017. Realising that 20 to 50 seconds didn’t provide enough room to ventilate a story, she joined the Mail & Guardian as a business journalist under the Adamela Trust.

Tebogo has a special interest in government, including what its decisions mean for the economy, for state-owned entities, and for our tax and pension money.

Cherese Thakur

Advocacy coordinator

Cherese’s path to advocacy has been anything but linear.

The starting point was obtaining LLB and LLM (Constitutional Litigation) degrees from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from the University of Oxford.

She gained great insight into the inner workings of the South African court system as a research clerk to Judge Malcolm Wallis of the Supreme Court of Appeal, as well as to Justice Thembile Skweyiya and Justice Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court.

Cherese is an admitted attorney who practised commercial law before joining civil society as a researcher. She focused on anti-corruption laws and policies, including whistleblower protection and lobbying for ultimate beneficial ownership disclosure.

She is pursuing her studies part-time, now as a PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand, for which she has an Open Society Foundation commemorative scholarship.

Dewald van Rensburg

Investigator

Before joining amaBhungane in 2019, Dewald spent more than a decade in the wilderness of business/economic/financial reporting, most recently at City Press.

He is a politics, economics and journalism graduate and started off on the mining and labour beats. From there straight to business reporting which led more and more to investigations into everything from crooked banks and businessmen to bad trade deals and illicit financial flows.

Dewald loves history books; his passions are data and finding the fun stuff in the minute details.

Tabelo Timse

Investigator

Tabelo has a Journalism Master’s degree from Nelson Mandela University. Her journalism career began as a TV reporter and radio current affairs producer at the SABC regional office in Port Elizabeth, but she later decided her passion was in print media.

She participated in the Avusa graduate programme in then went on to work at The Herald and Weekend Post newspapers in Port Elizabeth as a general reporter. There, she exposed, prison warders smuggling weapons for inmates, municipal officials demanding bribes to award tenders and the tendency of dockets to go missing from police stations.

In 2009 she moved to Johannesburg covered the SADC region for Agence France-Presse (AFP). She joined amaBhungane in April 2012. Her area of interest is investigating the relationship between extractive industries, rural communities, traditional leadership and government.

Susan Comrie

Investigator

Susan took an unconventional career path into investigative journalism. After studying graphic design and art direction, she joined the Daily Voice as a freelance entertainment writer before she eventually managed to persuade her various editors to let her write more in-depth, investigative features.

In 2009 Susan joined Carte Blanche, a prime-time investigative journalism television series where she spent five years exposing controversial mining deals, including the politically-connected Goldfields BEE deal as well as the collapse of Aurora Empowerment Systems.

In 2015 she joined City Press where she did her first investigations into the Gupta empire. In August 2016 Susan jumped at the chance to join amaBhungane.

In 2017 she was named Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year for her investigations at amaBhungane and City Press into the Guptas’ Optimum Coal Mine, and in 2018 was part of the team that won the Taco Kuiper Investigative Journalism Award for their work on the #GuptaLeaks.

Studying part-time, Susan recently completed a BA through Unisa, majoring in African Politics and World Languages and Literature. She is currently studying towards an Honours in International Politics.

Lizel Shepherd

Operating coordinator

Lizel worked in financial services for five years before moving to the non-profit sector. She has worked at Inyathelo on its various capacity building initiatives for non-profits, and at the Children’s Hospital Trust, during its Operating Theatres Campaign.

She has a degree in Business Science from the University of Cape Town. Lizel joined amaBhungane as its operating coordinator in 2018.

Micah Reddy

Investigator

Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

Micah was managing editor at the Yemen Times in Sana’a. He has also worked as an editor and freelance journalist in Egypt, Palestine and elsewhere in the Middle East. Micah is a co-founder of Sound Africa Podcast and has worked on a range of freelance research and reporting projects.

Sally Evans

Digital coordinator & investigator

A Wits Political Science Honours graduate with a predeliction for snowboarding, Sally began her media career at The Times in Johannesburg in 2008 per chance, when an internship turned into a full-time job.

Her beat was anything to do with hard news, which is how she got to cover the corruption trial of former police commissioner Jackie Selebi and the pseudo-trial of Glenn Agliotti for the murder of Brett Kebble. Realising that there was much more to most of the news stories than met the eye, Sally got bitten by the investigations bug, which led her to amaBhungane in January 2011.

Sally has covered crime intelligence and the likes of former spy boss Richard Mdluli and Czech fugitive and convicted murderer Radovan Krejcir. She also turned her attention to the internal politics and steady capture of the SAPS and National Prosecuting Authority.

Sally was lucky enough to be part of the team that worked on the #GuptaLeaks. She focused on the controversial Vrede dairy project and Free State premier Ace Magashule. At the end of 2016 Sally took on the role of digital coordinator which she loves, while her passion for doing investigations is stronger than ever.

Nomagugu Nyoni

Administrator

Nomagugu was educated in Zimbabwe, where she completed a secretarial diploma. She moved to South Africa in 2007 working as a receptionist and finance administrator. She joined amaBhungane in March 2014 as administrator.

Stefaans Brümmer

Managing partner

Stefaans Brümmer, an old hand at investigations, is joint managing partner of the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.

A politics and journalism graduate, he cut his reporting teeth at The Argus during the tumultuous early 1990s; then joined the uppity weekly Mail & Guardian as South African democracy dawned in April 1994.

For the next 16 years, a late-1990s diversion into television and freelancing apart, the Mail was his launch pad for award-winning investigations focusing on the nexus between politics and money.

He co-founded amaBhungane in 2010.

Stefaans divides his time between the demands of media bureaucracy (which he detests), coaching members of the amaBhungane team, and his first love, digging for dung.

He has co-authored exposés including the turn-of-the-century arms deal scandal, Oilgate, the Selebi affair, Chancellor House and the #GuptaLeaks.

Sam Sole

Managing partner

Sam has been a journalist since 1986. He has worked for the investigative magazine noseweek, served as political editor of the Sunday Tribune, and joined the Mail & Guardian as investigative journalist in 2002. In 2003 he won the Vodacom Journalist of the Year award for first reporting the criminal investigation of then national deputy president Jacob Zuma.

Together with colleague Stefaans Brümmer he has received numerous journalism awards, including for their Oilgate exposés that traced the involvement of an ANC-linked company in diverting money from a state contract to the coffers of the ruling party.

Sam was instrumental in revealing the links between former police commissioner Jackie Selebi, slain mining magnate Brett Kebble and various figures from South Africa’s underworld, including Glenn Agliotti. Together with Stefaans and Adriaan Basson, Sam won the Taco Kuiper award in 2009 for sustained investigation of the notorious South African arms deal. Sam co-founded amaBhungane in 2010.