Adriaan Basson

Adraain Basson
Adriaan Basson, who works for the Mail and Guardian, has achieved a lot and is recognised for his full range of investigative techniques. He began his career at Stellenbosch in 2001 and in 2008 he recieved the Taco Kuiper award, placing him amongst the best investigative journalists in South Africa. Basson was co-founder of Die Beeld and has written a series of short stories. He is also a writer for LitNet and has been doing so since he started his career as a journalist.
Personal information
Adriaan Basson is a South African investigative journalist who currently works for the Mail & Guardian, practising in both English and Afrikaans. He began his studies at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape in 2000, a predominantly Afrikaans speaking University. He was made Head Editor of Die Matie, an Afrikaans campus publication, for the years 2001/2002. He graduated at the end of 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and started his professional career at Die Beeld, an Afrikaans national daily newspaper in Johannesburg, in 2003. He currently lives in Johannesburg and writes for The Mail & Guardian, an English national weekly newspaper. His journalism is characterised by political investigations, uncovering corruption and scandal. Adriaan is known for his love of the Afrikaans culture and its music, attending many Afrikaans music and cultural festivals such as Aardklop and Oppikoppi. Adriaan has been known to write short stories, one such story is entitled Filter and it’s realistic account about a crime reporter in South Africa, although as yet remains unpublished. He also enjoys poetry, wine and ten-pin bowling. (1)

Career information
Adriaan Basson’s journalistic career began early when he was made editor of Stellenbosch University’s campus publication;Die Matie, in 2001 whilst reading towards a Bachelor of Arts. After graduating from Stellenbosch University, as a young South African journalist, Basson started his career in 2003 with a place at a national daily newspaper,Die Beeld,as a crime and court reporter. He was also a founding member of the newspaper’s investigations unit in 2005, which aimed to expose corruption and fraud in government. In 2007, he made the transition from Afrikaans to English when he joined theMail and Guardian.Here he assumed the position of investigative reporter, the position in which he still works today. His work has been described as tenacious and courageous, as he has been recognised for his investigatory skills when tackling difficult stories such as his series of reports on corruption and nepotism in South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services. (1) Basson is arguably most known for his work, along with colleagues at the Mail & Guardian, on the 'Arms Deal' into which he investigated heavily. The team broke the story uncovering the extent of ANC's (African National Congress) involvement for which they received various accolades.

Although he has been the recipient of many awards, he has also been implicated in a complaint against theMail and Guardian for an inaccurate and defamatory article entitled ‘Big stink over R9bn Coega prawn farm’, concerning Bosasa Operations, a BEE business services company. The case was brought in front of the Press Ombudsmen Panel who found these charges to be baseless, as the Mail and Guardian had breached only one section of the Press Code and the rest was in accordance. (1)

Recognitions and awards
  • 2005- Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards- Finalist, along with colleagues at Beeld, in the Breaking News category for articles entitled: “Samaritaan of skurk?” and “Waar’s haar ontvoerders?” (1)
  • 2007 -Taco Kuiper Awards- Won the investigative journalism award for the year 2006 along with a colleague at Die Berger, Carien Du Plessis, for articles investigating corruption in the Department of Correctional Services. These articles and reports eventually led to the former prisons Chief Linda Mti’s resignation and the launch of an investigation by the Public Services Commission. (2)
  • 2008-Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards – Along with Stefaans Brummer, Sam Sole, Zukile Majova, Nic Dawes, Pearlie Joubert and Matuma Letsoalo, won the South African Story of the Year award for their series of stories on former national director of public prosecution Vusi Pikoli and the suspension of former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi. (3)
  • 2008- Taco Kuiper Awards- Won second place, and was cited, in the Investigative Journalism category for the year 2007 along with Stefaans Brümmer, Sam Sole, Zukile Majova, Nic Dawes and Pearlie Joubert for a series of articles on Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi. (4)
  • 2009 - Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards – Won second place in the Investigative Journalism category with Sam Sole and Stefaans Brummer for an article entitled ‘Arms firm did give cash to ANC’(5)
  • 2009 – Taco Kuiper Awards- Won first place in the Investigative Journalism category, along with Stefaans Brummer and Sam Sole, for their reports on the Arms Deal. (6)

Other professional activities
Adriaan Basson's other professional activities also have a lot to do with journalism.In 2005 Basson was one of the founders of the Afrikaans national daily Beeld's investigative unit. Adriaan was also a regular writer for a South African literary and cultural website known as LitNet and has been writing for them since his days as Head Editor of Die Matie at Stellenbosch University. He wrote many opinion pieces for them detailing his experiences at various Afrikaans music festivals and his experience of the Afrikaans culture in general. Much of his writing revolves around the Afrikaans identity in post-apartheid South Africa. He has also posted short stories on LitNet, in particular Filter about a crime reporter in South Africa which can be found on the ‘unpublished’ section of the LitNet archives. The majority of this extra-mural writing is in Afrikaans, Adriaan’s first language and displays his flair for creative writing. (1)

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources
For Personal Information:
(1)LitNet. 2004. Cozi In Jozi. Retrieved from

For Recognition and Awards:
(1) Biz Community. 2005. Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards main winners. Retrieved from

(2) 2007. Taco Kuiper Award Winners 2006. Retrieved from

(3) 2008. Tsedu given life time achiever award. Retrieved from

(4) 2008. Dispatch wins 2007 Kuiper prize. Retrieved from

(5) 2008. Star scoops top honours in Mondi Awards. Retrieved from

(6) 2009. Taco Kuiper Winners 2008/09. Retrieved from

(1) Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards Winners. Retrieved from

For Controversy:
(1) The Press Council of South Africa. 2008. Bosasa Operations vs Mail & Guardian. Retrieved from

For Other Professional Activities:
(1)LitNet. 2005. Other Previously Unpublished Short Stories. Retrieved at

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