Ayanda Mdluli to head up Independent Media’s new investigative reporting unit

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By: Independent Media

Cape Town – Independent Media today announced that it has appointed seasoned journalist, Ayanda Mdluli as Editor: Special Investigations.

The unit will be tasked with probing hitherto ignored or glossed over aspects of large-scale corruption and corporate fraud in the country. The task force will particularly focus its efforts on corruption by corporates with State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), abuse of state resources, the rash of irregular COVID-19 and PPE contracts, as well as contraventions and suspect behaviour committed by big business operating within the borders of South Africa.

The truth will set us all free – Under Ayanda’s stewardship will be a crack team of seasoned journalists, accountants, lawyers, IT experts and forensic auditors. Together they aim to uncover and report the less than palatable truth about what really happens behind boardroom doors, when the perpetrators think no-one is looking.

Asked as to why there is a requirement for such a unit, Ayanda responded: “To date, the majority of media watchdogs are focused on a select few organisations that have transgressed the boundaries of decent business, and that have broken the law. These watchdogs have only scratched the surface of corrupt and questionable dealings, and while the attention is focused on only a few scapegoats, the rest have been left to continue their errant ways as usual, at a great cost to all of us in South Africa.

“In exposing these wrongdoings, we aim to be part of the solution for setting a fair, corrupt-free commercially sound future for the country,” said Ayanda, who also acknowledged that his approach could be seen as somewhat idealistic given the nature of the task at hand but that: “I have to believe that it is possible for there to be a mindset and behavioural change as to how business is conducted in South Africa so that the next generation has a reasonable chance of success. A zero-tolerance approach to corruption is required and our job as media is to enforce that.”

Ayanda grew up with The Mercury, Daily News and Sunday Tribune titles as constant features in his household. He says that the in depth analysis, political pages, front page leads, opinions and investigations in these publications were instrumental in shaping his world view, so it comes as no surprise that his first by-line with the media house, was as a 16-year old.

Editor-in-Chief of Independent Media, Aneez Salie, commented on Ayanda’s appointment saying: “I am delighted that Ayanda will step into this role. He is a true newshound with an uncanny knack for sniffing out the type of information that this unit is required to do. Coupled with his well-known enthusiasm for a just society, I have no doubt this special investigation unit will be extremely successful.”

A Durban born and bred Northwood Knight, University of Zululand and UCT alumni, Ayanda started his journalistic career as a cadet with Independent Media at the beginning of 2010. This was after completing an internship with the Department of Public Enterprises the previous year. On completion of his cadetship, he moved to the city of gold where he joined the cut throat world of financial journalism, cutting his teeth at Business Report, and producing a number of front page leads, features, as well as opinion and analysis articles.

Thereafter, he has plied his trade across other publications such as Moneyweb, where he was the financial platform’s senior reporter covering mining and resources, the African Times where he was the Business Editor and the Natal Witness in KZN. Among his other adventures has been a stint at PowerFM as the producer for Power Business and as senior Business Reporter at the Herald Newspaper in Port Elizabeth.

Before re-joining Independent Media as an investigative journalist in 2018, Ayanda had also spent some time as a member of the founding team and Business Editor of digital current affairs platform Africa News 24-7. He was instrumental in taking the platform from its launch at the beginning of 2017 to harvesting more than a million page views by the end of 2018. It now averages more than 100 00 page views on a monthly basis.

At Independent Media, he now provides top notch investigative articles, breaking news, opinions, analysis, exclusive interviews, features and digital content covering a wide variety of issues, across all the titles in the Independent Media stable. He also played the role of Political Editor, Opinions Editor, and Video Content Producer for some of the platforms, among other roles

Of his appointment, Ayanda believes he is in exactly the right place at the right time, as now, more than ever, Independent Media’s non-partisan voice is a vital lifeblood for a questioning citizenry no longer content to be spoon fed one particular perspective. He sees Independent Media as being relied on to be the independent voice that holds those in power to account. “I am humbled and excited at the appointment and I am truly blessed to have shadowed and to have been mentored by some of the greatest minds in our organisation and industry. I look forward to making more magic with our brilliant editorial team.”

Ayanda’s appointment will commence 1 August 2020.