South Africa


#10XDMGathering: As it happened – full live blog text and highlights

#10XDMGathering: As it happened – full live blog text and highlights
The Daily Maverick Gathering. Photo: Leila Dougan

This year's Gathering had all sorts. From the #GuptaLeaks whistleblowers speaking out for the first time, to other whistleblowers sharing their stories and a dissection of the state of the media. Catch up with what you might have missed over here.

The full text of our live blog, which ran throughout the day, can be found below.  For the full selection of articles from today, click here.

17:45 Just  wrapping up with questions from the floor now, but we’ll leave you here. Two quick things, in case you missed it. We’ve launched Maverick Insider – where we ask you to pay whatever you can afford each month and #DefendTruth. Find out more here.

If you can’t pay us money, then please sign up for our newsletter. That is and always will be completely free. Do that here.

That’s it from here. Cheers.

17:29 Hands up if you relate.

17:14 On shaping narratives.

17:08 Panel now discussing the issues with polling and the headlines that come from those polls, especially before elections. They want media to invest in more substantial polling methods.


17:01 Patricia de Lille also wants to know how one becomes an analyst.



16:51 For those asking, Dr.  Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has an eye infection and unfortunately could not join us.

16:48 Final panel coming up.  Lindiwe Mazibuko hosts Patricia de Lille, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa and Phumzile van Damme.

16:42 #GuptaLeaks whistleblowers in summary: Speaking for the first time, the people who exposed the leaks spoke publicly. They assured everyone that the way the information was obtained was entirely above board with no political agenda, they are just ‘ordinary South Africans’ who wanted to do the right thing. They have had flee the country, because their lives were at risk. There will come a time when their identities are revealed. But that time is not now.

16:23 Story time… #GuptaLeaks whistleblowers will speak for the first time.

15:55 Coffee break and then we’re back to hear from the people who exposed the #GuptaLeaks. But first…



Panel discussing whether journalism did justice to fairness to Jacob Zuma.

Basson raises the question about what happens when trade unions start publishing their own news sites.

How does media deal with this?

Oh the shade!

Now onto the issue of censorship.  Adriaan Basson is sharing some details on an attack on the N24 stable, where an investigation is still ongoing, but where bots attacked the site because of a published story.

Onto the point of money and media.

This panel is dealing with media… and everything that goes along with journalism. From influence to trust in journalists to all the bits and pieces in between.

14:47 Coming up: Post #GuptaLeaks World

By Kate Skinner Executive director, SANEF, Mondli Makhanya Editor: City Press, Adriaan Basson Editor: News24, Stefaans Brummer Journalist & managing partner, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, Stephen Grootes SAFM host & writer, Daily Maverick

Short, sharps and sweet from Pieter Dirk Uys. We’re onto the next panel.

Before you settle back in for lunch, here’s a short little story for you.

A few moments backstage With Indian journalist Rana Ayyub:

By Aphiwe Ngalo

“Anybody who speaks the truth, irrespective of whether it is a man or a woman, will have their character tarnished. But with women, it is tougher in a patriarchal country because you {also} have to face sexist, misogynist attacks.”

This is how Speaker at The Gathering and courageous investigative journalist Rana Ayyub describes the harassment and intimidation she received back in her home country, India where, as a woman, the harassment she received was aggravated character assassination.

Ayyub went undercover and later wrote Anatomy of a Cover Up, a book about the 2002 Gujarat riots in India.

Having grown up in in India, Ayyub says she had seen far too many injustices in her own life, not to act. The only way she could proceed was to go undercover, and in so doing her assumed character became more “palatable” to those she was investigating.

Warning about complacency among citizens, she said that corrupt people were testing the waters in South Africa. “In India we never thought {Narendra} Modi would become the prime minister, but he did. “The fact that citizens allow that, [means} we are complicit in it by our silence.”

She says that societies such as the US, India and also South Africa, lacked a moral compass. “Despite their (politicians) wrongs, society still brings them into power … I blame it on us, we are choosing these kinds of people to lead us. That says something about us, we are a dead society. Every politician elected at a certain time reflects the society at that point in time.”

Responding to a question about the importance of the investigative quest for young aspiring journalists, Ayyub said: “if you really care for democratic ideas, If you really want to change something and you know you will not be corrupted by the glamour of it, and unintimidated by constant harassment, then journalism is the profession for you.”

“The Gathering is asking the right questions to media. That is something very important. We need to question the ethics and integrity of journalism, not just those who are in power.”

13:45 Lunch break for 40 minutes,  then Tannie Evita will entertain you. Also, if you’ve just heard about the Daily Maverick Insider programme, you can find more details on that here.

We’re keeping things a bit lighter for this. Zapiro is taking us through his career.

12:46 Marianne Thamm is going to have a nice chat with Zapiro now.

Creating a safe and enabling environment for whistleblowers is critical for a fair and free democracy. The cost is huge, why would anyone want to risk it all when things might not change?

Goodson also shares the harrowing personal stories, blowing the whistle cost her her marriage and endless mental distress.

Bianca Goodson Whistle-blower and former CEO at Trillian no sharing her story.

There’s a critical point here.

Death threats, harassment on the road. Attacks at home, break-ins, attacks on her daughter. All to incite fear. Alarm system being intercepted. All in the lead up to the parliamentary inquiry.

“Life became about security…”


Suzanne Daniels says she had to check her car every night and felt like she was “in an FBI movie”. She said she had no idea about the protection offered to whistle blowers.

Some more background…

Whistle blowers are often asked why they took so long to come forward? In short, it’s damn hard thing to do. Sometimes, it starts with a journalist.

On the panel  now, our very own Jessica Bezuidenhout has given us some insight.   Suzanne Daniels Whistle-blower and former Head of Legal and Compliance at Eskom, is sharing her story. Here’s some background context.

Victim, villain or pawn: Why Eskom ‘whistle-blower’ Suzanne Daniels was fired

Are whistleblowers protected? In a way, yes… we’re chatting through that now. Does it matter if one of your panellists is loosely related to Daisy de Melker like Gabriella Razzano?

11:54 Rebecca Davis is chatting to Jessica Bezuidenhout Investigative reporter, Daily Maverick, Bianca Goodson Whistle-blower and former CEO at Trillian , Suzanne Daniels Whistle-blower and former Head of Legal and Compliance at Eskom, Gabriella Razzano Executive Director of the Open Democracy .

11:52 Sound should be back and not a moment too soon. The next panel is about fluitfluit, my storie is uit.

11:47  We’re back! We know the sound is out, we’re looking into it…

11:05 Rana receives a standing ovation, goosebumps stuff. Watch out for the documentary produced by Chronicle. No release date set yet, but we’ll keep you in the loop. For now, coffee. Or tea.

10:47 “I don’t know if there is anything else I can do besides this,” Ayyub says after sharing harrowing details of how she has been harassed, suppressed, threatened and how freedom of speech in India has been threatened. Like we said, #Goals.

10:36 Ayub story is, as the kids would say #Goals.

10:24 Rana Ayub now up talking about her incredible work going undercover. Here’s a little summary from our esteemed Rebecca Davis.

Daily Maverick’s Richard Poplak has introduced a teaser for a forthcoming feature-length documentary by Chronicle Productions – which gives a taster of the shocking abuse and harassment suffered by Indian investigative journalist Rana Ayyub as a result of her exposes on the Indian government.

“It’s cost me everything,” Ayyub says in the clip.

The documentary is clearly one to watch out for: it’s called Third Person: The Rana Ayyub Story.

09:56 Haffejee now onto the question of whether SA media is as good at watching corporate corruption as it as at watching government corruption. Using Steinhoff as an example.

09:49  Quite a quote.

09:44 There’s a long way to go, but we’ve also come a very long way. In case you’re that way inclined, you can sift through the #StateCapture archive with some selections over here.

09:42 So many questions… Also, we’re looking into issues with the live stream.

09:39 This is an important point. Nathan also said business is ‘not a good citizen’.

09:33 And we’re not wasting time… straight into the questions about the Guptas funding The New Age. If you’re somehow not familiar with the whole thing, we recommend this piece by Anton Harber.

Read: The New Age experiment: Government’s attempt to control the media has done industry no favours Clickety here.

09:31 We’re off now. Vlismas has been doing his snarky thing. And we have our first surprise of the day, like we promised. Ferial Haffajee is our latest recruit and joins us as associate editor.

09:21 Today is about a lot of things, most importantly, it’s about the state of media in South Africa… the role it plays in shaping the country’s future and everything else.

09:17 Things will begin ‘any moment’ now…

09:13 Minor delay…. but here’s what you can expect from the first two discussions…

09:05 – 10:10: Business of Truth: Steven Nathan CEO, 10X Investments, Ferial Haffajee, Mzwanele Manyi Chairman, Afrotone Media Holdings

Media is meeting its greatest challenge ever. Will it survive with its ethics untouched?

10:10 – 10:50 Courage Under Fire:  Rana Ayyub Journalist, investigative reporter & writer, Richard Poplak Author & journalist, Daily Maverick.

08:05 We’ve been having a bit of a breakfast do before the main event kicks off. Here are some insights you might have missed.

08:00  Hello, good morning. Welcome to this year’s edition of The Gathering. 


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