Coming Up On Carte Blanche – 17 March 2024

“Ah, election year; when parties of various persuasions invoke the spirits of luminaries past to bolster their prospects at the polls. Yes, ballot season means regular reminders of the prophetic wisdom of Madiba, Sisulu, Tambo, and Suzman (dare I say Sankara?) and the parties with which they’d most closely associate today. No doubt some will lean on the teachings of Steve Biko to gain traction with a disillusioned electorate. And when they do, perhaps we should point them in the direction of Qonce (formerly King Williams Town) where Biko was buried, and what it has become.” – John Webb, Executive Producer

The Stoep, the Waterpark and the Cricket Grounds

In the Eastern Cape, thousands suffer from severe malnutrition. It’s a condition that has led to the deaths of at least seven children in the province, and a crisis that requires significant funding and political will to resolve. But in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, home to one of the province’s biggest cities, the priority seems to be multi-million rand vanity projects that have become a financial drain on the municipality’s coffers. Despite being cash-strapped, the municipality established a development agency tasked with boosting tourism and economic development; an agency that is now cashing in on major projects funded by the municipality and its ratepayers. In East London, what should’ve been a world-class beachfront upgrade has disintegrated into nothing more than a glorified “stoep”, while the bill for the Waterworld Fun Park revamp has ballooned to an eye-watering R120 million. Carte Blanche investigates why an entity with a poor track record for delivery is still in business.

Producer: Catherine Rice | Presenter: Govan Whittles

Budget Cut Woes

It’s something few parents of children with severe disabilities ever discuss – at least not openly: the personal toll measured in stress and frustration. In some homes, the burden can become so isolating and depressing that parents sometimes keep children locked indoors for days at a time. In the Western Cape, state-sponsored Iris House Children’s Hospice provides a vital free service that gives parents much-needed respite from the pressures of raising children with disabilities. But it’s a service under threat. By the end of April, drastic budget cuts across various departments and provinces threaten to substantially reduce Iris House’s income. And it’s not the only NGO facing an existential crisis. Carte Blanche investigates.

Producer: Liz Fish | Presenter: Erin Bates

Aquanaut to Activist

Dr Sylvia Earle is a rockstar of marine biology and a leading pioneer in the exploration of our oceans. In 1979, she set a record for the deepest walk on the ocean floor, having detached from a submersible and explored underwater for two and a half hours. But Dr Earle couldn’t have imagined the crisis facing our oceans through over-fishing, pollution and climate change just a few decades after she began her pioneering work. Now 88 years old, Dr Earle is continuing her life’s mission: to advocate for ocean conservation and educate future generations about the role the seas play in shaping our climate. Carte Blanche meets this remarkable scientist.

Producer: Diana Lucas | Presenter: Erin Bates


All is Not Well with SA

All is not well with Knysna, and a 109-page report tries to explain why. You’ve heard of state capture. But are we entering an era of media capture? Then, the High Court says no to anti-vaxxers. Later, how one mining giant is playing its part in reviving Mpumalanga’s rivers. And the country has been gripped by the heartbreaking case of young Joshlin Smith. Following arrests last week, we look at the state’s case and how online sleuths perhaps took things too far.

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Knysna’s Collapse

Knysna, once the jewel of the Garden Route, is on the brink of collapse. Years of mismanagement, poor service delivery and a failing municipal council have torn at the fabric of what was once a seaside haven. But it’s not just on the streets that the crisis is visible: The Knysna estuary, the most biodiverse in the country, is now under serious threat from the failure of water treatment in the adjacent town. While the rot set in some time ago, a change in the local administration to an ANC-led multi-party coalition appears to have accelerated the town’s decline over the past year. As Knysna faces bankruptcy, Carte Blanche investigates what caused the downfall of one of the country’s most celebrated tourist destinations.

Full Interview with Knysna’s Mayor

Is current Knysna Mayor, Aubrey Tsengwa the best man for the job? And what are his immediate plans to fix some of Knysna’s most pressing crises? From a coalition government in chaos, to failing sewage infrastructure, and taps running dry – Erin Bates sits down with the Mayor to find out what’s really going on.

People, Promises and Power

Loadshedding, corruption, service delivery… We speak to you, the voter, to find out what you will be basing your vote on, how you feel about promises being made, and if this election is the one that could change it all.

Home of the Vultures

In the heart of the Eastern Cape, a group of White-backed and Cape vultures survey their new home. These birds are part of a group of 163 vultures moved from Vulpro, a sanctuary at Hartbeespoort in the North West, to a private game reserve in the Eastern Cape. In Africa’s largest vulture relocation, truckloads of the raptors were captured and driven over a thousand kilometres to the unspoilt wilderness at Shamwari Private Game Reserve. The new bespoke facility will focus on rehabilitation and captive breeding programmes, with the goal of releasing new generations of vultures back into the wild. Carte Blanche followed them on their long trek to their new home.

Hopped Up About Hyacinth

In Hartbeespoort, Gauteng millions of tiny insects are hard at work, eradicating the water hyacinth suffocating the dam. It’s an invasive South American weed that, when left to bloom, depletes the oxygen in the water, killing fish and preventing boats from using the dam. For years, the Madibeng Local Municipality has tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the weed, but it always grows back. Now, scientists have introduced water hyacinth planthoppers: host-specific natural enemies of water hyacinth. But this new attempt to kill off the weed hasn’t been without controversy.


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By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB | Actor | Armourer | Tech Enthusiast With over two decades in the film industry, I'm a seasoned actor and skilled armourer. I hold numerous certifications in acting and filmmaking, complemented by degrees and diplomas in IT and technology, giving me a unique blend of creative and technical expertise. When I'm not on set or in the workshop, you'll find me immersed in the world of gaming and VR, fuelling my passion for cutting-edge technology. Connect with me: X / Twitter Facebook Instagram Mastodon Threads Explore my work on SAMDB IMDb