10 episodes

In December 2022, the 55th – and possibly last – elective conference of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress will take place against a backdrop of socio-political chaos. In this new limited audio documentary series by Daily Maverick, investigative journalists Richard Poplak and Diana Neille take a road trip across South Africa in search of answers to how the country got to this breaking point, and how the lives and careers of three senior ANC figures – Ace Magashule, Gwede Mantashe and Dr Zweli Mkhize – may be representative of the rise and stumble of our once vaunted democratic project and, by extension, liberal democracies everywhere.

The Highwaymen Daily Maverick

    • News
    • 4.8 • 58 Ratings

In December 2022, the 55th – and possibly last – elective conference of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress will take place against a backdrop of socio-political chaos. In this new limited audio documentary series by Daily Maverick, investigative journalists Richard Poplak and Diana Neille take a road trip across South Africa in search of answers to how the country got to this breaking point, and how the lives and careers of three senior ANC figures – Ace Magashule, Gwede Mantashe and Dr Zweli Mkhize – may be representative of the rise and stumble of our once vaunted democratic project and, by extension, liberal democracies everywhere.

    EPISODE 8: Democracy is a Funny Thing

    EPISODE 8: Democracy is a Funny Thing

    In this final episode of the journey, investigative journalists Diana Neille and Richard Poplak visit the ground zero of the July 2021 uprising: the strategic town of Mooi River. Here, we wrap up our deep dive into the nature of 21st-century liberal democracy, and come to some conclusions on why it appears to be floundering.

    Featuring:

    Lincoln Waite, resident of Mooi River
    Matt Nurse, resident of Mooi River
    Gordon Odell, resident of Mooi River
    Mzwandile Nconco, resident of Mooi River
    Songezo Zibi, author and co-founder of progressive think tank, the Rivonia Circle
    Ivor Chipkin, co-founder of the New South Institute
    Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers
    Dr Setlhomamaru Dintwe, Intelligence inspector-general

    Archive & Music Credits:

    SABC News / eNews Channel Africa /

    Written, produced & directed by Richard Poplak and Diana Neille
    Fact checking and editorial oversight by Sasha Wales-Smith
    Editing & sound design by Diana Neille, Bernard Kotze & Tevya Turok Shapiro
    Original soundtrack & visual aesthetic by Bernard Kotze
    Additional music by Janus van der Merwe
    Additional voice work by Ayanda Charlie
    Transcriptions by Gloria Cooper
    Project Manager: Kathryn Kotze
    Marketing lead: Sarah Koopman
    Editor-in-Chief: Branko Brkic
    Deputy Editor: Jillian Green
    Executive Producer: Styli Charalambous

    Produced with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation
    (The content may not necessarily reflect the Foundation’s views or opinions)

    • 37 min
    EPISODE 7: Lights Out

    EPISODE 7: Lights Out

    Gwede Mantashe now presides over the most important portfolio in the Cabinet — mining and energy. He’s run it like a fiefdom, trying to shut down any real commitment to a green energy transition. We also explore how Mantashe aided and abetted state capture, and the slow but sure creep toward a gangster state, and all-out gang warfare.

    Featuring:

    Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
    Ferial Haffajee, Daily Maverick Associate Editor
    Heinrich Böhmke, Director of the Specialised Skills Institute of South Africa; former trade unionist

    Archive & Music Credits:

    SABC News / eNews Channel Africa / France 24 / CGTN

    Written, produced & directed by Richard Poplak and Diana Neille
    Fact checking and editorial oversight by Sasha Wales-Smith
    Editing & sound design by Diana Neille, Bernard Kotze & Tevya Turok Shapiro
    Original soundtrack & visual aesthetic by Bernard Kotze
    Additional music by Janus van der Merwe
    Additional voice work by Ayanda Charlie
    Transcriptions by Gloria Cooper
    Project Manager: Kathryn Kotze
    Marketing lead: Sarah Koopman
    Editor-in-Chief: Branko Brkic
    Deputy Editor: Jillian Green
    Executive Producer: Styli Charalambous

    Produced with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation
    (The content may not necessarily reflect the Foundation’s views or opinions)

    • 18 min
    EPISODE 6: Island of Angels

    EPISODE 6: Island of Angels

    In this episode, the investigation swerves into South Africa’s Eastern Cape province — home of Struggle heroes like Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and the Sisulus. But here the focus is on one of the most powerful politicians of the democratic era — Gwede Mantashe, long-time ANC boss and current Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy. As we delve into Mantashe’s life, we learn about his history in organised labour, and the role unions played in bringing down apartheid. But as the democratic age deepened, organised labour became embedded in the ANC, and Mantashe became the company man — a genial version of a mob boss.

    Featuring:

    Gwede Mantashe, former union boss, ANC Secretary General and current Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
    Ferial Haffajee, Daily Maverick Associate Editor
    Heinrich Böhmke, Director of the Specialised Skills Institute of South Africa; former trade unionist
    Neil Coleman, Co-Founder and Senior Policy Specialist at Institute For Economic Justice (IEJ)
    Jay Naidoo, co-founder of Cosatu
    Estelle Ellis, Daily Maverick Senior Journalist
    Bantu Holomisa, Parliamentarian and president of the United Democratic Movement
    Dr Protas Madlala, Struggle stalwart, businessman and academic

    Archive & Music Credits:

    SABC News / eNCA / British Pathé

    Written, produced & directed by Richard Poplak and Diana Neille
    Fact checking and editorial oversight by Sasha Wales-Smith
    Editing & sound design by Diana Neille, Bernard Kotze & Tevya Turok Shapiro
    Original soundtrack & visual aesthetic by Bernard Kotze
    Additional music by Janus van der Merwe
    Additional voice work by Ayanda Charlie
    Transcriptions by Gloria Cooper
    Project Manager: Kathryn Kotze
    Marketing lead: Sarah Koopman
    Editor-in-Chief: Branko Brkic
    Deputy Editor: Jillian Green
    Executive Producer: Styli Charalambous

    Produced with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation
    (The content may not necessarily reflect the Foundation’s views or opinions)

    • 25 min
    EPISODE 5: Mister Ten Percent

    EPISODE 5: Mister Ten Percent

    Continuing with the Elias “Ace” Magashule saga, Diana Neille and Richard Poplak delve into the alleged political murder of Noby Ngombane, a key administrator in the attempted clean up of the Free State during the early zeroes. His assassination is an example of what can happen when, in the binary gap between opportunity and poverty, liberal democracies begin to swerve toward gangsterism. The tragedy reverberates through the years, as if the sound of the gunshots has never faded.

    Featuring:

    Elias Sekgobelo “Ace” Magashule, former Free State leader and former Secretary General of the ANC
    Nokwanda Ngombane, former chief of staff to former Free State premier, Beatrice Marshoff
    Petrus “Pat” Zanemvula Matosa, struggle stalwart and former ANC Free State leader
    Pieter-Louis Myburgh, investigative journalist at Daily Maverick Scorpio
    Beatrice Marshoff, former Premier of the Free State

    Archive & Music Credits:

    SABC News / eNCA / Ray Charles, “Drown In My Own Tears” / Luther Vandross, “Dance With My Father”, sung by Zandile Ngombane

    Written, produced & directed by Richard Poplak and Diana Neille
    Fact checking and editorial oversight by Sasha Wales-Smith
    Editing & sound design by Diana Neille, Bernard Kotze & Tevya Turok Shapiro
    Original soundtrack & visual aesthetic by Bernard Kotze
    Additional music by Janus van der Merwe
    Additional voice work by Ayanda Charlie
    Transcriptions by Gloria Cooper
    Project Manager: Kathryn Kotze
    Marketing lead: Sarah Koopman
    Editor-in-Chief: Branko Brkic
    Deputy Editor: Jillian Green
    Executive Producer: Styli Charalambous

    Produced with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation
    (The content may not necessarily reflect the Foundation’s views or opinions)

    • 25 min
    EPISODE 4: Out In Their Coats

    EPISODE 4: Out In Their Coats

    For many years, the Free State functioned as the personal fiefdom of one of South Africa’s most prominent – and most dangerous – politicians: former drama nerd, “internal exile” and Secretary General of the African National Congress, Elias “Ace” Magashule. Nokwanda Ngombane and her family experienced firsthand the thrall Magashule held over the province from the 2000s until his fall from power in 2021, and paid the ultimate price for their role in trying to rid the Free State of factionalism and corruption.

    Featuring:

    Elias Sekgobelo “Ace” Magashule, former Free State leader and former Secretary General of the ANC
    Nokwanda Ngombane, former chief of staff to former Free State premier, Beatrice Marshoff
    Petrus “Pat” Zanemvula Matosa, struggle stalwart and former ANC Free State leader
    Pieter-Louis Myburgh, investigative journalist at Daily Maverick Scorpio

    Archive & Music Credits:

    Associated Press / SABC News / eNews Channel Africa / Periscope Film / SA History Online

    Written, produced & directed by Richard Poplak and Diana Neille
    Fact checking and editorial oversight by Sasha Wales-Smith
    Editing & sound design by Diana Neille, Bernard Kotze & Tevya Turok Shapiro
    Original soundtrack & visual aesthetic by Bernard Kotze
    Additional music by Janus van der Merwe
    Additional voice work by Ayanda Charlie
    Transcriptions by Gloria Cooper
    Project Manager: Kathryn Kotze
    Marketing lead: Sarah Koopman
    Editor-in-Chief: Branko Brkic
    Deputy Editor: Jillian Green
    Executive Producer: Styli Charalambous

    Produced with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation
    (The content may not necessarily reflect the Foundation’s views or opinions)

    • 24 min
    BONUS EPISODE: Pallo Jordan's Waltz

    BONUS EPISODE: Pallo Jordan's Waltz

    In this bonus mini-episode, Diana Neille and Richard Poplak give some context to their seven-point progression of how liberal democracies break down over time, referred to throughout the series. They’ve enlisted the help of struggle stalwart and former cabinet minister and ANC National Executive Committee member, Pallo Jordan, to illustrate how South Africa’s democratic project is emblematic of this breakdown.

    Featuring:
    - Pallo Jordan, struggle stalwart and former ANC National Executive Committee member & cabinet minister

    Written, produced & directed by Richard Poplak and Diana Neille
    Fact checking and editorial oversight by Sasha Wales-Smith
    Editing & sound design by Diana Neille, Bernard Kotze & Tevya Turok Shapiro
    Original soundtrack & visual aesthetic by Bernard Kotze
    Additional voice work by Ayanda Charlie
    Transcriptions by Gloria Cooper
    Project Manager: Kathryn Kotze
    Marketing lead: Sarah Koopman
    Editor-in-Chief: Branko Brkic
    Deputy Editor: Jillian Green
    Executive Producer: Styli Charalambous

    Produced with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation
    (The content may not necessarily reflect the Foundation’s views or opinions)

    • 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
58 Ratings

58 Ratings

10wenttomowatt ,

Amazing!

Incredibly frank, honest and very scary but it is amazing and very informative.

Mmatum ,

Brilliant!

Great production. I wish the episode were longer. So entertaining and informative. 👍🏾👏🏾

ABSA WTF! ,

Knowing what I didn’t know

I don’t pretend to understand the reasons why South Africa is in the state that it is, it is so distressing that I actively avoid the news. This podcast however offers something different, the who and why leading to when. Highly recommended listening.

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