2021: What a year!

Like everyone else, amaBhungane has had a tough year, but we’ve emerged stronger and ready to grow — with your help.

Clumsy Nersa redaction reveals “higher” cost of emergency power         

A small slip-up in the extensive redaction of documentation around potential 20-year contracts with the controversial Turkish Karpowership group has seemingly revealed that South Africa will pay far more than advertised.

24 August 2021: The Alexkor diamond factory on the Alexander Bay coast. In the background excavators load rocks that were used to build a coffer dam onto trucks. Photographer: Barry Christianson

All that glitters: how state capture hobbled Alexkor

The Guptas’ poisonous legacy still haunts the diamond coast of the Northern Cape. Alexkor, the state diamond mine at the mouth of the Orange river, “has been destroyed by corruption and state capture” its miners say.

The R280m Joburg ‘crime scene’: How CoJ kept Kgoro in business (part three)

In part three of the series, we look at how the city, under the ANC’s leadership, rolled over and allowed a politically-connected consortium to hijack three hectares of prime city land.

The R280m Joburg ‘crime scene’: Strategic friends (part two)

This is part two of a three-part series that looks at the sale of erf 575 – three hectares of prime land above the Sandton Gautrain – to a consortium with deep connections to the ANC.

Joburg’s R280-million ‘crime scene’ (part one)

The City of Johannesburg’s tainted sale of Kgoro Central, the “most important piece of undeveloped real estate in South Africa”, cheated municipal coffers of at least R280-million but seems to have made some politically-connected people rich.

Investec’s multi-billion Euro backing for legendary ‘tax evader’ — cum-ex part three

The South African investment bank provided billions to one of the alleged pioneers of the alleged tax fraud dubbed “cum-ex” despite their client facing tax evasion investigations in four different countries.

Hawks investigating ‘Malema-linked’ fuel tender

Dodgy payments, first revealed by amaBhungane in September 2019, were at the time the strongest indication of the EFF taking kickbacks in metros where it emerged as kingmaker after the 2016 local government elections. Now the Hawks are asking questions.

How Investec was a player in the world’s largest tax fraud – cum-ex part two

The investment bank has been named in criminal investigations of its alleged involvement in a number of the infamous German “cum-ex” tax scam transactions. Of particular interest to prosecutors in Germany is the case of US pension funds that relied on Investec to make allegedly fraudulent tax claims.

Investec implicated in investigations into the world’s largest tax fraud – the cum-ex files part one

A massive leak of German prosecutors’ documents has revealed how the investment bank took part in the epic European “cum-ex” scam out of its small Irish office. Approval for the bank’s participation in the schemes, witnesses and documentary evidence suggest, came from head-office in Johannesburg.

You knew, Ekurhuleni! Community waste collectors ‘ripped off’

The City of Ekurhuleni repeatedly dodged claims by amaBhungane that a waste collection programme to empower the city’s poorest instead short-changed them. But city officials knew all along. Their own investigation, now obtained by amaBhungane, had told them the same thing.

Pandora Papers: Inside Zimbabwean tycoon Billy Rautenbach’s offshore family trust 

Records from a massive offshore data leak have provided the most detailed account yet of buccaneering mining and fuel magnate Billy Rautenbach’s family empire.

Hushed up: Mayor Masina’s high speed crash in ‘borrowed’ blue light car

City of Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina was in a high-speed, midnight crash at the wheel of a luxury municipal car he allegedly had no permission to drive. A witness told police he behaved as if drunk. Thirteen months later, it is clear that the embarrassing incident has been hushed up.

UPL disaster: Residents kept in the dark about dangers on their doorstep

Test results have finally confirmed that pesticides – including known carcinogens – poisoned rivers, soil and beaches in Durban. Provincial authorities say they have opened a criminal case against agro-chemical giant UPL but for residents who were exposed to toxic fumes and contaminated water, there is a growing fear of the unknown long-term health effects.

AmaBhungane is hiring!

Help lead our investigative journalism team. Deadline for applications has been extended to Friday, 1 October.

UPL disaster: Initial tests found high levels of arsenic from Durban’s chemical spill

Eight weeks after a fire at the UPL chemical warehouse, long-awaited test results confirm that chemicals contaminated soil and rivers leaving them “highly toxic”. But internal letters show that even UPL’s own experts disagreed over what the results actually meant for public safety.

AmaB Advocacy: Internal political party campaign financing — all eyes on the high court

Comment: AmaBhungane has argued in the Pretoria high court that donations to internal political party campaigns – which can lead ultimately to the candidate’s elevation to high office – are constitutionally required to be disclosed.

“Dr Dan” Matjila’s secret deal to make Survé’s R700m debt to pensioners ‘disappear’

Yet another court case has laid bare allegations the former chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation secretly signed away state pensioners’ claims worth hundreds of millions of rands to help his alleged friend, media mogul Iqbal Survé.

UPL chemical disaster: A gaping legal loophole or jaw-dropping negligence?

How did a warehouse storing tons of toxic and flammable chemicals, some banned elsewhere, quietly move in next door to a school, a Makro superstore and a wetland without anyone knowing? 

Independent “outsources” staff to tap Public Investment Corporation billions

Iqbal Survé’s Independent Media — and other companies in his Sekunjalo Investment Holdings stable — have moved dozens of workers to the legally unrelated but PIC-subsidised payroll of Ayo Technology Solutions. Among them is at least one journalist — the controversial former Sunday Times investigator Mzilikazi wa Afrika.