Sam Sole

Sam Sole has become a household name in South Africa. He is currently a lead investigative journalist for a South African newspapers, the Mail & Guardian. He is notorious for his investigations into controversy involving the South African Government. His in-depth coverage resulted in an accusation by former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, of being a spy.

Sam Sole - zajournos

Personal Information
Sam Sole was born Stephen Patrick Sole in 1962. He is married to Christine Sole and together they have two children. He is the son of Donald Bell Sole , a career diplomat who rose to be the South African ambassador to the United States from 1977 to 1982 [1] and the South African ambassador to Germany in the 70s. Donald was one of the founder members of The Sole Society in 1991. [2]

Career information
Sam Sole has been a journalist for over 20 years since 1986. He served as president of the now inactive South African Union of Journalists from 1996 to 1998. The majority of Sole’s investigative work has revolved around revealing the ‘hidden hand’ of the state since 1994, as well as during the apartheid regime period.
Sole's first major breakthrough story came in 1992 with his investigations of the events surrounding the Goniwe murders and the activities of a specialised unit called the Hammer Unit which was used for private military operations in the Eastern Cape circa 1989. During late 1994 and 1995, Sole together with Jean Le May, uncovered South Africa’s Chemical and Biological Warfare programme and Dr Wouter Basson's prominent role in the programme. [3]
Sole has worked with many news publications before he finally joined the Mail & Guardian in 2002. Sole has worked for the investigative magazine Noseweek and was employed as political editor of the Sunday Tribune.

Recognitions and Awards
In 2003, Sole was awarded the Vodacom Journalist of the Year for being the first person to report on the criminal inquiry (by the Scorpions) involving then Deputy President, Jacob Zuma and Shabir Shaik (of Nkobi Holdings).Sole also won the Mondi Shanduka Award in 2003 with Stefaans Brummer for investigative journalism; the story involved the diversion of a Nigerian state oil allocation to a company linked to figures in South Africa’s ruling ANC. In 2006 he was a joint winner of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award, for the 2005 Oilgate scandal, which revealed the involvement of another ANC-linked company in diverting money from a state contract into the pockets of the ANC. He is also a member of the team that have now been two time runners up for the Taco Kuiper investigation journalism awards for 2007 and 2008. The team, including Adriaan Basson,finally won the Taco Kuiper award (which is one of the most coveted awards for journalism) in 2009 for their reporting on the Arms Deal.

Sam Sole speaking about the hardship encountered whilst working on the arms deal investigation

Other Professional Activities
Sole is a part-time journalism lecturer at the Durban University of Technology.
Other publications that Sole has contributed to is State of the nation: South Africa edited by John Daniel, Roger Southall, Jessica Lutchman. He wrote a paper entitled "The state of corruption and accountability" in which he discusses South Africa's efforts to contain and roll back corruption.
He wrote his first and only editorial review on Terry Crawford-Browne’s Eye on the Money. Sole’s piece appeared in the Mail & Guardian in 2007 under the headline “From Banker to Arms Gorilla”.

In 2007, the Mail & Guardian lodged complaints with the Inspector General of Intelligence Zolile Ngcakani after there were reports that Sam Sole, Stefaans Brümmer and former editor Ferial Haffajee were being pursued and spied on by state security agencies. The inspector-general admitted that they were spied on and were subjected to smear campaigns, but did not reveal the reasons why this happened. Sole was accused in an joint intelligence report prepared for former president Thabo Mbeki of being a spy.

  1. Matthew Goniwe.2009. Retrieved 19 October 2009 10:52AM from

Primary Sources
Sam Sole.Investigative Journalist. Mail and Guardian.
Secondary Sources

1. Reiss, Mitchell. Bridled ambition: why countries constrain their nuclear capabilities. Washington: The Woodrow WIlson Center Press, 1995.

2. The Sole Society. 2004 SOLE Co-ordinator's report. Retrieved 18 October 2009, 02:35PM from

3. Profiles of Speakers. Investigative Journalism Workshop.
Retrieved 19 October 2009, 01:32 AM from

Taco Kuiper Awards.2008. Investigative Journalism Awrads and Grants. Retrieved 18 October 2009, 02:29PM from

S. Sole and S. Brummer.2009. M&G was spied on. Mail and Guardian Online.
Retrieved 18 October 2009, 02:42PM from

Story of the Year. 2007.A series of 32 pages covering Vusi Pokoli and Jackie Selebi.PMSA.Retrieved 18 October 2009, 02:51PM from
Dawes, Nic. Mail & Gaurdian Inspector General of Intellegence Complaints. 2007. Retrieved 19 October 2009, 04:32PM from
Newspaper writer wins Journalist of the Year.2002. The Herald.
Retrieved 18 October 2009, 08:44PM from

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