I Was Fired For Articles Exposing Worker Exploitation

By Pinky Khoabane

PUTTING your neck out and saying what most people will only say in the comfort of close friends has a heavy price. Actually it all depends on what that opinion is and to whom it is directed. If it is against the corporate establishment, you can rest assured it will bite.

Years ago while researching for an article for Afriforum funders, I suddenly received a visitor in the middle of a Saturday evening from the Sunday Times for whom I wrote a weekly column. I even told my kids it may be the Sunday Times firing me. Yes it was. I will never know for what I was fired as editors hold the prerogative to hire and fire columnists. The editor however said they needed new views but implored me to keep sending columns in. I never did.

Last week I got a job on a project and was fired two days into the project. I work and use that pay to fund UnCensored, among other things. I was fired for articles I had written in 2010/11 or so. I have so many views about many issues that I had even forgotten about those articles that exposed exploitation within the industry.

This particular industry tried at the time to coerce me into taking helicopter rides with them to show me another side of what I had investigated. I refused. I later saw emails between this company and one of Sunday Times editors in which they had a dinner at which I and the story was discussed.

This week that series of articles which stunned a lot of people for not making front-page headlines came back to haunt me. I admire the decisiveness of corporates in punishing those who don’t protect their interests.

It is what John Pilger calls liberal capitalism that’s moving towards a form of corporate dictatorship.

In the last three months or so, me and my two kids have had to live under security as a white man came to our home on several occasions with threats to “show me for writing shit about white people’.

Here on UnCensored, the site, emails and my personal phone are hacked. It is part of the intolerance of corporates and their appendages to facts and opinions they dislike. A few years ago I wrote to Media Lens, which Pilger refers to as the fifth estate, about my experience and they said:”You sound like yet another example of what happens to investigative writes who push too hard at the limits of corporate journalism”.


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