Category Archives: Television

Special Assignment

DISMANTLING VERWOERD’s SOUTH AFRICA – PART 2

This year marks fifty years since the assassination of South African Prime Minister, Hendrik Verwoerd, who is regarded as the architect of Apartheid. Last week’s part one of this series on the legacy of Verwoerd we highlighted issues around race identity and racial tensions in South Africa half a century after Verwoerd’s death. In this week’s episode we shift the focus to the education system. When Hendrik Verwoerd was appointed Minister of Native Affairs in 1950, he personally started designing grand apartheid policies. One of…

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Special Assignment

Medical Aid Scam

According to healthcare funders, medical aid fraud is one of the leading crimes in South Africa. It is estimated at between nine and 19 billion rand a year, money which could have been better spent on providing quality health care for all. Special Assignment exposes a series of bogus surgeries operated by a syndicate of fake doctors that have fleeced medical aids of millions of rands. The head of the syndicate was convicted for operating an illegal abortion clinic at Lister Medical Centre in Johannesburg…

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Special Assignment

To Die For

In Zulu, great men are called iNkakha – a named derived from the pangolin. In Tsonga, it is called the Khwara – the trait of toughness is associated with it. In Afrikaans it is called the Ietermagog because of its habit of eating insects. The pangolin is the most poached mammal on earth and could be extinct before most people even know it exists… In this two-part series, wildlife conservationist Alexis Kriel partners with Special Assignment on a journey to investigate the plight of the…

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Special Assignment

Spieners (Part 1)

It’s every motorist’s worst fear – being held up at gunpoint and hijacked or having their car stolen. According to police crime statistics, the past four years has seen an upwards trajectory in car hijackings. The country’s hotspots for this crime are Johannesburg, followed closely by Durban. This week, Special Assignment speaks to families of two hijack victims – Charlotte Ramohai and Mohammed Darsot – who died at the hands of their ruthless hijackers. In court, the families face the alleged hijacker duo accused of…

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Special Assignment

Empty Bottles, Shattered Lives

This week Special Assignment celebrates its recent achievement of scooping two awards at the 2016 Diageo Responsible Drinking Awards for “Empty Bottles – Shattered Lives.” Producer Cleopatra Jones, won in the Best Broadcast category and the overall Journalist of the Year Award. This week’s broadcast is a repeat of the programme that profiled the stories of young, recovering alcoholics who started drinking in their early teens. Twenty year-old Kabelo Mboka from Soshanguve in Pretoria booked himself into an addictions rehabilitation facility for six weeks. When…

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Special Assignment

War on Women

“War on Women” tells of the alarmingly high rate of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The country has since the mid-1990s been involved in various outbreaks of civil war. Rape has become a way of life for many soldiers. It is used as a tool for waging war and is perpetrated against women who are fellow DRC-nationals. Victims tend to feel depressed and suicidal. They are often too depressed to carry out daily chores and are often impregnated and infected with HIV…

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Special Assignment

Who Is To Be Blamed

Women’s Month commemoration In this week’s episode of Special Assignment, Special Assignment tracks down and speaks three of the first group of eight female students who fled the country in July 1976. They are some of our lesser known struggle heroines, but who worked behind the scenes to bring down apartheid. 1976 was a turning point in the country’s history, the year in which black students, defied their parents’ wishes and took a stand against apartheid. Many of them fled through South Africa’s borders into…

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Special Assignment

Love Our Elderly

In “LOVE OUR ELDERLY’’ we uncover cases at Middelburg State Hospital in Mpumalanga, where elderly patients are admitted for hip fractures and die a few months later. Families of the deceased and other stakeholders believe the elderly patients died due to gross medical neglect. Bets Claasen was 79-years old and Kashane Shabango, 83-years old, reportedly very healthy women, when they were admitted to Middelburg Hospital for a broken hip. Their conditions allegedly deteriorated until they developed such severe bedsores that they eventually died. The alleged…

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State of Limbo

  “…I was told at home affairs that if I die and my ID is still blocked my family will not be able to apply for a death certificate.” Samson Ndhlovu, father of three. An increasing number of South Africans’ ID’s have been blocked by Home Affairs for various reasons. Experts say blocking a person’s ID without prior notification is illegal and are preparing a constitutional court case to challenge the state. The implications of having a blocked ID constitute a denial of many basic…

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VF+

SAUK versaak toenemend sy rol as onpartydige openbare uitsaaier

Die VF Plus betreur die gebeure by die SAUK waar personeellede vervolg word weens hul teenkanting teen sensuur en beskou die situasie as so ernstig dat die parlementêre portefeuljekomitee gevra gaan word om in te gryp, sê dr. Pieter Mulder, leier van die VF Plus. Die bedanking van Jimi Matthews, waarnemende groephoof van die SAUK, bevestig dat ‘n onverkwiklike situasie by die SAUK bestaan waar sommige personeellede van mening is dat hulle onder sensuur geplaas word en daarom nie hul primêre funksie as openbare uitsaaier…

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Special Assignment

Dodgy Doctors Part II

In September 2014, Special Assignment exposed an illegal abortion clinic of Dr. William Mogaila at Lister Building in the Johannesburg inner city. Our investigation found that not only were the abortions conducted illegally beyond the regulated six months period, the people employed at his facilities were illegally posing as qualified medical practitioners. We established that the kingpin of the syndicate of these rogue doctors is a 57 year-old Ivorian national, Paul Gbagnonhoue. His task is to procure and recruit bogus doctors, mainly to work at…

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Special Assignment

Tender Sharks

This week’s Special Assignment looks at scam syndicates that approach unsuspecting people on the supplier databases of various government departments and pretend to be the respective government departments. The scammers then instruct these suppliers to send three quotes for jobs under a million rand to the ‘department.’ The unsuspecting supplier concedes, the quotes are accepted and the ‘department’ directs the suppliers to procure their materials from bogus companies which require an upfront payment of a minimum of 50% and in some cases, 100%. Special Assignment…

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Special Assignment

Students and the Vice: The Update

Last year, Special Assignment, exposed a shocking source of student entertainment – university students frequenting night clubs in Hillbrow to participate in live sex shows. Hillbrow is infamous as Johannesburg’s red light district, a place where you can find almost anything. Our investigation revealed that there were many such places in Hillbrow, licensed as bars that sell liquor, but were illegally facilitating these sex shows. Special Assignment identified two of these establishments – Maxime Hotel and Hillbrow Inn.   Do the authorities consider these serious…

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Special Assignment

Common Ground

A Big Fish Production ‘Illegal’ mining is in the spotlight once again. This week’s episode of Special Assignment illuminates the issue with a revealing documentary that explores the underlying complexities of the unregulated side of gold mining, borne out of perpetual unemployment and a shrinking commercial mining industry. Common Ground investigates the intrinsic dynamics of artisanal mining and explores the everyday struggle of ‘zama zamas’, the workers who risk their health, safety and lives, who often mine deep underground and use dangerous chemicals to extract…

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Special Assignment

By Their Fruits Part 2

In October 2015 Special Assignment broadcast a documentary titled By their Fruits, the first part of an ongoing investigation into the government’s land reform policies. We focused on Nirwanda – a De Doorns grape farm, nestled in the Western Cape’s Hex River Valley. The farm is a microcosm of some of the problems experienced in the implementation of the agricultural land reform in South Africa. In By their Fruits, Part II we investigate accusations of corruption leveled at commercial agricultural companies, allegedly profiting from government’s…

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Special Assignment

Indians Can’t Fly

In 1971, 29-year-old Ahmed Timol, a Roodepoort teacher and anti-apartheid activist fell from the 10th floor of the security police building in Johannesburg. The security police soon coined the phrase ‘Indians can’t Fly’. A police inquest concluded that Timol committed suicide while under interrogation, but questions remain whether he may have been pushed, or tortured to death and thrown from the window. To commemorate Freedom Day, Special Assignment brings you the riveting, internationally acclaimed documentary, INDIANS CAN’T FLY, directed by award winning director Enver Samuel.…

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Special Assignment

Bare Witness

This week Special Assignment looks at South Africa’s highly covert Witness Protection Programme; designed to protect witnesses whose lives may be at risk because the evidence they supply in court can lead to the convictions of dangerous criminals. David Bruce, an independent researcher in policing, crime and criminal justice, says that witnesses are particularly at risk in organised crime and gang-related crime cases. According to Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery, the programme is ranked in the top five in the world.…

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Special Assignment

People Live Here

n this week’s episode of Special Assignment we visit Lapland, one of the largest informal settlements in Gauteng, situated a few metres from Eldoradopark and Pimville in the south of Johannesburg. The shocking conditions that the poorest of the poor are living in in present day South Africa constitutes a human rights tragedy wherein up to 10,000 people have no access to clean water and sanitation. The informal settlement of Lapland arose from the adjacent Grootkoppies dumping site where garbage trucks offloaded during their runs…

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Special Assignment

Searching for belonging: autism part II

This week in the second of a two part series on autism, Special Assignment unpacks a controversial intervention for autistic children based on behavioural modification. Opponents of the so-called Applied Behavioral Analysis Approach (ABA) say the intervention is too intense and robotic, demanding long hours from young children already battling to cope with severe learning disabilities or developmental delays. Supporters of the approach say if done correctly, it can assist a wide range of autistic children, teaching them to communicate, learn, socialize and generally become…

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Special Assignment

Autism – Making sense of the spectrum

Autism experts talk of a global epidemic. One in every fifty children is now diagnosed with the disorder. A few decades ago this disorder was almost unheard of. Triggered in seemingly normal babies and young children, Autism Spectrum Disorder can render a child unable to talk or understand those around them, sensitive to any external stimulation, hyperactive and uncontrollable mood swings, self-harming and self-stimulatory behaviours and other cognitive, social deficits. The exact causes and triggers of the disorder have been at the centre of much…

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Special Assignment

Madina’s Dream

A recently released 2015/16 Amnesty International Report strongly criticises the South African government, as signatories to the Rome Statute, for failing to arrest and surrender Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, to the International Criminal Court in June 2015, for his alleged crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur. The report refers to this as a betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of victims killed during the Darfur conflict. Following a ruling of the High Court in Pretoria that it should have arrested al-Bashir when…

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Special Assignment

Young lives, Wrong Turns

Due to the overwhelming response to our broadcast of Young Lives, Wrong Turns, Special Assignment will rebroadcast this episode which looks at the growing gang problem in various townships in the Vaal Triangle, with a particular focus on Sebokeng. Residents have been plagued with gang violence since 2010. Many gang members are unemployed or impoverished youth who rob businesses and steal from people. Unregistered and therefore illegal initiation schools in the area subvert the complex and rich history of traditional male, cultural initiation and reportedly…

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Special Assignment

Desperate Farmers

In this week’s episode of Special Assignment, we bring you the stories of drought stricken farmers in the North West Province who have had to resort to desperate measures to secure the livelihood of their starving animals. This includes resorting to desperate measures such as feeding their remaining livestock the controversial protein-rich chicken manure. Chicken manure is banned as a feed in some countries because it consists of bone meal that was fed to the chickens. Sometimes this bone meal, from parts of cows not…

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Special Assignment

HIV Stigma: Establishing a Legal Precedent?

HIV testing is 99.9% accurate and although rare, as with any disease, a misdiagnosis can occur. But, what happens when such a misdiagnosis has occurred, can individuals make any legal claims against state or private institutions that facilitate such tests? Georgina Donson was born in the small town of Oudtshoorn and in 1996, at the age of 19, she was excited to be embarking on a career as a soldier in the army. Having come from a poor family, a career in the army doing…

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Preview: CNN International programme information weeks 7&8

This includes programme information and airtimes for the following programmes on CNN International: Winning Post In February, CNN’s ‘Winning Post’ is joined by British sports presenter and journalist Aly Vance (nee Rowell) as the new host of the network’s monthly flat-racing show (full synopsis below).   Make Create Innovate This month, ‘Make Create Innovate’ explores how food and technology is changing the way people eat. CNN On The Road India In February, ‘On the Road’ visits India, a country where even a lifetime of journeys…

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