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PEOPLE OF THE YEAR 2023

SA Person of the Year runners-up: Andy Mothibi, Simon’s Town active citizenry and civic campaigner Assad Gaffar

SA Person of the Year runners-up: Andy Mothibi, Simon’s Town active citizenry and civic campaigner Assad Gaffar
Andy Mothibi, head of the Special Investigating Unit. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

South African patriots and public champions want accountability from those in power.

Andy Mothibi

Andy Mothibi, the head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), takes state corruption seriously and is a driving force behind tackling the scourge. Two of the entities on his radar are the SABC and the National Lotteries Commission. In October, Mothibi told Parliament the SIU had “submitted 21 reports to the Presidency on the outcomes of investigations relating to allegations of corruption, maladministration and malpractice in the affairs of State institutions”. What makes such work more admirable is that threats have been levelled at the SIU under Mothibi’s leadership, yet investigations continue. – Caryn Dolley

‘Simon’s Town Resistance Army’

Anyone who thought they could enter the navy town under the cloud of darkness and remain incognito met their match when hundreds of binoculars were trained on the navy dockyard where a certain Lady R had berthed. Residents sent updates, neighbourhood WhatsApp groups were on fire, and every move was recorded and shared beyond the town, with the story going global. They understood that by sharing this information, life was being made uncomfortable for all the role players. Active citizenry at its best! – Victoria O’Regan

Assad Gaffar, Westville Ratepayers’ Association

Assad Gaffar is a 51-year-old civic campaigner and chair of the Westville Ratepayers’ Association who led a rates boycott in eThekwini this year. A sometimes brusque mieliemeal salesman, Gaffar is an unlikely public champion who garnered support for demands for civilian oversight of spending. He says patriots want accountability in a municipality beset by corruption. – Greg Ardé DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

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