Motshwari Mofokeng, Tanya Waterworth, Doctor Ngcobo and Chris Ndaliso.
Motshwari Mofokeng, Tanya Waterworth, Doctor Ngcobo and Chris Ndaliso.
Motshwari and Mbali Mofokeng, Tanya Waterworth, Doctor Ngcobo and Chris Ndaliso.
Motshwari and Mbali Mofokeng, Tanya Waterworth, Doctor Ngcobo and Chris Ndaliso.

Durban - Three Independent journalists walked away with top honours in the provincial Vodacom Journalism awards held in Bel Punto restaurant in Umdloti on Thursday.

Tanya Waterworth, chief reporter at the Independent on Saturday won the finance and economics category, Chris Ndaliso chief reporter at the Daily News scooped the award for politics, while Independent lensman Motshwari Mofokeng won the photographic award.

Waterworth's story on Momentum Life that ran in November 2018 told how the large insurer had refused to pay a life insurance claim to Denise Ganas after her husband Nathan was gunned down in the driveway of their Shallcross home during a hijacking. The reason for the non payment being the failure to disclose a diabetes risk. The public outcry at the story caused the insurance industry to rethink.

"It is an honour to receive the KZN Vodacom Regional Award for Finance and Economics for my story on the Widow vs Momentum," said Waterworth.

"I think this story gained such a massive public reaction as it resonated with anyone who has insurance. Along with the fact that Mr Ganas was killed in a botched hijacking with South Africans tired of the scourge of crime. Mrs Ganas not being paid out her husband's life insurance on a technical legality fractured the public's trust when it came to insurance paying out in times of trouble and despair. To Momentum's credit they created a new benefit solution for Mrs Ganas.

"It was a David vs Goliath story," she said.

Read Waterworth's original story here

Ndaliso wrote the inside story in 2018 of political interference in the eThekwini municipality. The former legal head had tried to manipulate a disciplinary hearing of a senior employee who was connected to the former mayor. But unbeknown to the legal head, the conversation was recorded. 

Ndaliso tells how he first had to track down the recording. "A person said, 'Chris there's this recording.' Then I had to find the recording - and then had to confirm the recording." After the story was broken in the Daily News, Ndaliso followed up on the disciplinary hearing of the former legal head. The legal head was suspended and fired once he had been found guilty.

For Ndaliso, the award was some welcome recognition. "We are looked down upon as journalists, but we are the first people to be contacted when there's any wrong doing. It feels good when corruption is exposed. They can love us, or hate us, but we're here to stay," he said.

Read Ndaliso's original story here


Mofokeng's photograph appeared in the Daily News in July this year and told the story of a protest at the Durban University of Technology called by its EFF supporting SRC. The picture shows a student running through teargas towards police. In addition two other Independent photographers were finalists in the category, their work highly commended - Doctor Ngcobo and Leon Lestrade.

The Independent on Saturday