Every year South African investigative journalists are recognised for their hard work when the winners of the Taco Kuiper Award for Investigative Journalism are announced. This year has provided a chance to assess the highs and the lows of our investigative reporting after an extraordinary year. For the last few years, it seemed that the country was facing an impervious culture of impunity. Many state institutions of accountability faltered, and corruption appeared to be undermining democracy and destroying the economy. But small groups of investigative journalists beavered away. They pieced together the elements of what grew into a remarkable story of a systematic attempt to control the machinery of state for personal gain – what has become known as state capture. For some time it had been a back-and-forth of allegation and counter-allegation, charge and denial. But in the last few months things turned around with the emergence of a trove of leaked emails. These provided the hard e...

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