Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "South Africa" ...

  • Gaming the Lottery: An International Investigation of the Nearly $300 Billion Industry

    This project extended our investigation into the global lottery industry. In 2018 we revealed Massachusetts’ failure to implement the policy it had announced to monitor frequent lottery winners and the state’s wildly inequitable system of distributing lottery proceeds, the cynical targeting of poor people in Bolivia and systemic corruption in the South African lottery. We filed more than a dozen FOIA requests, analyzed hundreds of thousands of records, read hundreds of documents, scraped 17 years of lottery grant recipients’ data. We conducted dozens of interviews, generated widespread media pickup and interest from colleagues in multiple countries, Our findings and reporting led to arrests and official investigations in the United States and South Africa.
  • Rhino Horn Trafficking

    Poaching rhino for horn has decimated the species, corrupted law enforcement from rangers to prosecutors, judges, and politicians, and resulted in the killing of rangers and poachers throughout the rhinos’ range. Unlike elephants whose ivory tusks do not grow back, rhino horn can be sawed off and it will regrow, opening an opportunity to farm the species. This story investigates the highly controversial effort by the South African game industry to farm rhino as a proposed solution to the international trafficking problem. In particular, two South Africans who hold the key to the rhino’s future, have used lawsuits and, in one case, a shell plaintiff to block major criminal actions in South Africa and the United States, as well as to force the lifting of South Africa’s ban on rhino horn trade.
  • Nuclear Risks

    The Obama administration has waged an international campaign to lock down nuclear explosive materials over the past seven years, to stem the risk that a terrorist might detonate a bomb in New York, Washington, or elsewhere. But three countries in particular have proved immune to U.S. pressures for better safeguards: South Africa, Russia, and India. Our deep investigations into their nuclear activities laid bare a toxic mix of ineptitude, nationalism, and greed – and not just in foreign capitals – that keeps the world at risk.
  • Blood Lions

    BLOOD LIONS is a journey to the heart of darkness that lies within the predator breeding and canned lion hunting industries in South Africa. The film follows Ian Michler, a South African environmental journalist and safari operator, and Rick Swazey, an American hunter as they explore the reality of the multi-million dollar canned hunting business. It is a story that blows the lid off the claims made by operators in attempting to justify what they do in the name of conservation. https://vimeo.com/137413334
  • Abuse in G4S' prison exposed in South Africa

    Global security firm G4S runs a prison for profit in Bloemfontein, South Africa. I work for the Wits Justice Project, a collective of investigative journalists who research the criminal justice system. I visited the prison for the first time in September 2012 and talked to some of the inmates who had written to us. Their tales were worrying; they complained about the ‘Ninjas’; the Emergency Security Team (EST), a group of about eight armed men who are called to emergency situations. They are supposed to use minimum force, but according to the prisoners, they went completely overboard. They would take prisoners to the single cell unit, strip them naked, pour water over them and electroshock them with the electronically charged shields they carry with them. Also, the inmates told me how they would be injected forcibly with anti-psychotic drugs, while some of them did not suffer from any mental illness. In addition, they spoke to me about very lengthy isolation, some were placed in isolation cells for up to three years, I spoke to approximately 70 inmates and 25 warders over a period of a year, but these three sources were most crucial: The general. One of the inmates, a general in one of the infamous prison gangs, supplied with me dossiers and names of inmates who had been electroshocked, forcibly injected or placed in isolation for unlawful periods (up to 3 years). The deep throat. A government official who had worked at the prison was very concerned and had written a report in 2009 listing 62 inmates who had been placed in isolation up to 3 years, some of whom had been denied life saving TB and HIV medication. he also compared the prison to Guantanamo bay and mentioned excessive electroshocking The freedom fighter. A warder and informal labour union leader was very helpful in providing an entry with other warders and he leaked interesting information. An anonymous source eventually provided the smoking gun: video and audio footage of a forced injection and audio of electro shocking. I wrote three main stories about the prison and chose to publish in South Africa as well as in the UK, as G4S is head quartered there. I wrote pieces for the South African Citypress and the Mail and Guardian, simultaneously running a story in the British Guardian. When I finally broke the big story on the electroshocks and the forced injections, I also worked closely with the BBC and the South African investigative tv programme Carte Blanche, I provided them access to the results of my year-long research and they produced tv items that were broadcast at the same time as my stories ran in the newspapers. This in turn led to a worldwide coverage of the issue.
  • Can You Fight Poverty With A Five-Star Hotel?

    My story is about the World Bank’s private investing arm, the International Finance Corporation, the IFC. It reveals that the IFC is a profit-oriented, deal-driven organization that not only fails to fight poverty, its stated mission, but may exacerbate it in its zeal to earn a healthy return on investment. The article details my investigation through hundreds of primary source and other documents, dozens of interviews around the world and my trip to Ghana to see many projects first-hand, to recount that the IFC hands out billions in cut-rate loans to wealthy tycoons and giant multinationals in some of the world’s poorest places. My story details the IFC’s investments with a who’s who of giant multinational corporations: Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsubishi, Vodafone, and many more. It outlines that the IFC funds fast-food chains like Domino's Pizza in South Africa and Kentucky Fried Chicken in Jamaica. It invests in upscale shopping malls in Egypt, Ghana, the former Soviet republics, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. It backs candy-shop chains in Argentina and Bangladesh; breweries with global beer behemoths like SABMiller and with other breweries in the Czech Republic, Laos, Romania, Russia, and Tanzania; and soft-drink distribution for the likes of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and their competitors in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, Russia, South Sudan, Uzbekistan, and more. The criticism of most such investments -- from a broad array of academics, watchdog groups and local organizations in the poor countries themselves -- is that these investments make little impact on poverty and could just as easily be undertaken without IFC subsidies. In some cases, critics contend, the projects hold back development and exacerbate poverty, not to mention subjecting affected countries to pollution and other ills.
  • Corrective Rape

    This story by ESPN highlights the notion of "corrective rape" in South Africa, where "men rape women to 'cure' them of their lesbianism." The 2008 rape and murder of former soccer player Eudy Simelane spurred an entire investigation into the practice of "corrective rape" in and around South Africa. The country continues to struggle with "sexual violence and homophobia."
  • ESPN Outside the Lines: Human Trafficking and the World Cup

    For more than nine months, the team investigated whether the presence of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa had an effect on human trafficking in the country. The investigation included undercover footage recorded from within the South African sex industry in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
  • "KZN Reverands Prey On The Dying"

    At one time, Reverends Harris and De Witt brought comfort to the patients of The Dream Centre, an HIV-Aids hospice center in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This was before they fled the country with a stash of cash. The two men had been largely inflating their subsidy claims to the Department of Health and taking the extra money for their own use.
  • Gripen- The Secret Deals

    SVT investigated the selling of the Swedish fighter plane, the Gripen to the Czech government. In result the news organization uncovered bribery of politicians, the Austrian Count Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly, a former Canadian government minister and a Czech weapons dealer. This prompted further investigation into two other Gripen deals between Hungary and South Africa.