What Branko Brkic has not revealed to his subscribers and donors, is that he has not been running on fumes for the past 12 years, as he claims. Graphic: Sizwe Dlamini
What Branko Brkic has not revealed to his subscribers and donors, is that he has not been running on fumes for the past 12 years, as he claims. Graphic: Sizwe Dlamini

Smoke and mirrors: why Daily Maverick’s Branko Brkic is a liar and a thief

By Sizwe Dlamini Time of article published Nov 12, 2021

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At the bottom of every Daily Maverick newsletter is a plea for funding support to keep the online news platform going.

But is this really necessary?

Daily Maverick also claims it is first to break certain news stories, and under the cloak of its knight in shining armour position, it purports to be a voice of truth – but is it?

Let’s take the question of the most important corruption scandal facing the country during the devastating pandemic – the personal protective equipment (PPE) scandal.

Were it not for Independent Media, more than R65 billion would have been stolen and this would have denied health-care workers in the public sector the equipment to safeguard themselves and others from the virus.

It was Daily Maverick (and several other media publications) that claimed the exposé by Independent Media, that the president’s spokesperson Khusela Diko, was implicated in a R150m corruption scandal, was fake news.

A month later, Independent Media produced further evidence of this corruption eventually leaving other media with no choice but to report on it, and try, as they might, to claim the story of corruption as their own.

The same applies to the CR17 bank statements.

There is a direct relationship between the funders of CR17 and the benefits they have received during Ramaphosa’s presidency.

It was Independent Media that exposed the CR17 bank statements, not because of the interest in the ANC factional battles but, because when the president of the country receives funding for his campaign, it is important for the public to know if there are any strings attached.

There are many other examples where Independent Media has not hesitated to expose corruption, the mismanagement of resources and spoken out for the poor and vulnerable in the country. Not the Daily Maverick and its ilk.

“Daily Maverick relies on its community of loyal readers.

“Without them, and the 16 000-strong group of Insider members that support public interest journalism, we cannot report on the topics that shape the future of South Africa … These loyal readers are our lifeblood,” it states on its website.

On the question of this begging bowl that the Daily Maverick hands out at every given opportunity, while is it a perfectly respectable and acceptable business proposition to be a donor funded news platform, asking for funds when the pockets are already deep, is reprehensible.

Not only that, but it could even be classified as fraud.

What Branko Brkic has not revealed to his subscribers and donors, is that he has not been running on fumes for the past 12 years, as he claims.

The maths is simple. With 16 000 Insider members paying a subscription of R200 a month, the Daily Maverick generates R3.2 million in revenue from subscriptions.

If he pays his staff, of about 40 people R50 000 per month, the Daily Maverick will be left with a cool R1.2m.

This does not include advertising revenue as well as funding from the entities Brkic chooses not to disclose.

On numerous occasions, several journalists have pointed out that Daily Maverick is funded by the Oppenheimer family, as well as sponsorships from the likes of ABSA.

In some cases, it is understood that government entities, or those in proximity with various government ministries, have also contributed to the coffers.

According to well-informed sources, Daily Maverick has also received directly and indirectly, hundreds of millions of rand in funding from the same institutions and individuals that also funded the CR17 campaign and the DA among others.

Recently, the Oppenheimer family has been shown to be one of the major funders of the DA.

Due to legislation, they had to disclose that they provided funding of R15m.

The very same Oppenheimers funded the CR17 campaign, and now, we also know, the Daily Maverick.

Similarly, the Millennium Trust, which has links to Michiel Le Roux, founder of Capitec Bank, and a highly influential individual in the DA that led to the removal of Mmusi Maimane, has also funded the DA, as well as the Daily Maverick.

This is laughable, since not only do these funders have the capacity to influence what happens at the Daily Maverick but, they can encourage the Daily Maverick to take a slant on politics, which can favour and entrench the privilege and economic wealth in the country.

Despite the above having been repeatedly published and put to Brkic, he has steadfastly refused to reveal who his funders are.

He publicly shouts for transparency in the funding of organisations and institutions but when it comes to the Daily Maverick, he is loudly silent, hiding behind the statement that his funders don’t influence what is written in the Daily Maverick.

Surely it is not an unreasonable request to be transparent with the 16 000-strong group of Insider members about the entity’s true financial state?

By not disclosing to his members and readers of the Daily Maverick that in fact, Daily Maverick receives hundreds of millions from these other sources, Brkic is deliberately misleading them and falsely creating the impression that he is dependent on membership subscriptions.

This could even be classified as stealing from his members…

It is time that Daily Maverick comes clean and tells the public exactly who funds it and stops trying to create the impression that it is funded solely by members.

Further articles will divulge yet more ‘interesting’ information concerning Mr Brkic, his cohorts, and the Daily Maverick.

We have given Daily Maverick the opportunity to come clean about its funders. | [email protected]

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