Martin Welz

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Martin Welz is a South African journalist and the editor of Noseweek magazine. He is best known for his investigative work on controversial issues including government and corporate corruption.

Early life[edit]

Martin Sylvester Welz was born on 19 October 1945 in Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa.[citation needed] Fourth son of artist Jean Welz, born Salzburg, Austria 1900, and Inger Marie Welz, née Christensen, born in Odense, Denmark 1908.

Career[edit]

Sunday Times[edit]

While working for the Sunday Times from 1977–1981, a report by Welz saw a R180-million defamation claim instituted against himself and the paper by Lebanese businessman Salim el Hajj accused by Welz of a series of frauds in the then black "homelands". El Hajj fled the country before the case got to court. He also worked on South Africa's "Muldergate" Information scandal, and helped expose wrongdoing by apartheid-era cabinet ministers, inter alia revealing that both Minister of Manpower and Energy Fanie Botha and State President Nico Diederichs were secretly bankrupt while in office. 1981–82 appointed Parliamentary correspondent for Sunday Express, Johannesburg. While at the Express, won the Stellenbosch farmers' Winery Award (1983) for a series exposing the corrupt pharmaceutical empire established by businessmen Isaac Kay and David Tabatznik.[1]

Noseweek[edit]

Noseweek was founded in Cape Town, South Africa, in June 1993. It contains a minimal amount of advertising and has survived and grown mainly on its sales.[citation needed]

Lawsuits[edit]

Dr Robert Milton Hall[edit]

The first lawsuit again the magazine was brought in 1994 by an American tax refugee and millionaire dentist living in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, called Dr Robert Milton Hall. The trial was in 1996 in the Cape High Court before Judge Johann Conradie. Noseweek had, inter alia, pointed out Dr Hall's fraudulent claims to be the "inventor of modern-day dentistry", and his ongoing foreign exchange and tax contraventions[citation needed]

The magazine was represented by an attorney and advocates and Welz represented himself. Noseweek and Welz won the case. Judge Johann Conradie presided and in his judgment found that Dr Hall, "... sued not to salvage his reputation but to sustain a colossal fraud."[2] This litigation put the magazine on ice for approximately two years and nearly bankrupted it.[2] It was relaunched thanks to the voluntary contributions of scores of its loyal readers.

FirstRand Bank[edit]

In 2007 Welz represented himself in a court action brought by the FirstRand group to prevent Noseweek from publishing a list of FirstRand clients allegedly involved in a dubious[clarification needed] offshore investment scheme. The action was dismissed with costs.[3]

Inge Peacock[edit]

Cape Town businesswoman, Inge Peacock, sued Noseweek and Martin Welz in March 2012.[4] Judge Andre Le Grange of the Cape High Court dismissed Peacock's case with costs, but stated that the plaintiff may pursue damages for defamation against Noseweek.[5] The resulting publicity created a "Streisand effect", after the mainstream press picked up the story.

Weapons whistleblower[edit]

In 2008 Welz reported that a ship due to dock in Durban harbour carried a shipment of Chinese weapons bound for Zimbabwe.[6] News of the $1.245 million, 77-ton shipment came via what Welz described as "a whistle blower of conscience," who supplied Noseweek with a commercial invoice, bill of lading and packing list for the shipment.[7]

Awards[edit]

  • South African Union of Journalists Thomas Pringle Award for Press Freedom.
  • Special mention, 2002 Nat Nakasa Award for Media Integrity & Courageous Journalism.[8]
  • Joint business category winner, 2004 Mondi Paper Magazine Awards.[9]
  • Honorary award for promoting corporate governance through investigative journalism, 2007 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year competition.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Welz, subsequently, when heading Rapport's new investigations department, exposed a network of conmen dubbed the "boere mafia" and Adriaan Niewoudt's Kubus milk culture pyramid scheme, later also exposed as the biggest US postal fraud in history. (Federal Court, Topeka, Kansas, 1986.) He was later appointed as a consultant to the United States Department of Justice and helped expose brothers Frans and Gert Theron as the Kubus masterminds in the US.[citation needed] "Judge Takes Noseweek Editor Under Her Wing". Business Report. 19 September 2007. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  2. ^ a b http://152.111.1.87/argief/berigte/dieburger/1996/09/28/7/1.html
  3. ^ "Judge dismisses FirstRand application". Independent Online. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  4. ^ "'Fashion victim' takes Noseweek to court". News24. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Court bid to gag Noseweek fails". News24. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "SOUTH AFRICA-ZIMBABWE: Ship of shame adrift in controversy". Reuters AlertNet. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  7. ^ Dugger, Celia W. (19 April 2008). "Zimbabwe Arms Shipped by China Spark an Uproar". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  8. ^ "African Eye News Service editor wins Nata Nakasa award". International Journalists' Network. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  9. ^ "SA's top magazine journalists revealed". MarketingWeb.co.za. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  10. ^ "Whitfield is finance journalist of year". Journalism.co.za. Retrieved 18 March 2009.