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Liesl Pretorius

Johannesburg, South Africa
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About Liesl
I am a digitally savvy journalist and editor with a keen interest in collaborations, tracking political promises and solutions journalism. I recently completed a certificate course in investigative journalism from Wits. In my freelance career I have focused on cross-platform editing, project management, consulting work and digital storytelling. A digital storytelling collaboration, which I initiated, was a finalist in the Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards (2017).
Languages
Afrikaans English
Services
Feature Stories Research Investigative Journalism
+2
Skills
Current Affairs Science & Environment Media Training
+3
Portfolio

ANC scores one out of seven for promises kept since elections

01 Oct 2023  |  www.citizen.co.za
The African National Congress (ANC) has fulfilled only one out of seven key promises made in its 2014 election manifesto, according to Africa Check. The promises assessed include expanding public works programs, eliminating the backlog of title deeds, connecting homes to the electricity grid, installing solar water heaters, establishing a National Health Insurance Fund, and doubling the number of people on antiretrovirals. The ANC met its commitment to open two new universities but fell short on the other six promises, with significant shortfalls in work opportunities, title deed transfers, electricity connections, solar water heater installations, and antiretroviral treatments. The National Health Insurance Fund has also not been established, with delays attributed to the legislative process.

The life and death of Sinoxolo Mafevuka

01 May 2023  |  City Press
The article by Liesl Pretorius covers the tragic story of Sinoxolo Mafevuka, a young woman from Khayelitsha who was raped and murdered on her way to a communal toilet. The piece delves into the personal aspects of Sinoxolo's life, her aspirations, and the impact of her death on her family and boyfriend. It also highlights the broader issues of gender-based violence and the inadequate sanitation facilities in informal settlements. The communal toilets, a necessity for many residents, pose significant safety risks, especially for women. The article discusses the social and infrastructural challenges faced by the community, such as the lack of proper toilets and the dangers associated with using them. The City of Cape Town's efforts and the shortcomings in addressing these issues are also examined. The piece is a collaboration with Code4SA's Data Journalism Academy and ends with a call for public opinion on government solutions to the sanitation problem.

A deal could get Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries fast, but guess who’s blocking it?

29 Nov 2021  |  www.dailymaverick.co.za
The World Trade Organization's 12th ministerial council meeting, set to discuss the right to manufacture Covid-related health products, was postponed due to the Omicron variant. The meeting aimed to negotiate a waiver for Covid-related intellectual property rights, proposed by South Africa and India, to allow less developed countries to manufacture Covid products. The proposal faces resistance from powerful governments, including some in the EU, UK, Switzerland, and Norway. The article highlights the urgency of the waiver to improve vaccine access in poorer countries, where vaccination rates are significantly lower. It also discusses the complexities and slow pace of WTO negotiations, the potential impact of the waiver, and the challenges posed by existing local IP laws.

Dealing with disinformation: How to avoid the traps on Twitter

09 Feb 2021  |  Daily Maverick
The article discusses strategies to combat disinformation on Twitter, emphasizing the importance of being strategic about what and who to amplify. It highlights the risks of engaging with or spreading disinformation, even when attempting to correct it. Experts suggest focusing on sharing verified information, developing skills for identifying false content, and being cautious about unintentionally contributing to disinformation campaigns. The piece also touches on the psychological reasons why people fall for disinformation and the role of social media in performance for 'tribes' of followers. Education and investments in the information space are suggested as part of the solution to empower society against disinformation.

Anatomy of a disinformation campaign: The who, what and why of deliberate falsehoods on Twitter

08 Feb 2021  |  africacheck.org
Disinformation campaigns exploit social media algorithms to spread falsehoods and manipulate public opinion. Political conversations on platforms designed for viral advertising, such as Twitter, contribute to problems like radicalization. The 2020 Oxford Internet Institute report identified 77 countries with government or political party actors using social media for disinformation, including 12 African countries. South Africa has seen political parties and private contractors engage in such activities. Disinformation campaigns are broken down into manipulative actors, deceptive behavior, and harmful content, often intertwining these elements. They aim to hide identities and intentions, using tactics like sock-puppet accounts and trolls. The campaigns can influence public opinion and undermine democratic institutions, as seen in South Africa's Radical Economic Transformation network. Disinformation spans multiple platforms and evolves, posing challenges to detection and authenticity.

How to avoid disinformation traps on Twitter

08 Feb 2021  |  africacheck.org
The article discusses strategies to avoid spreading disinformation on Twitter, emphasizing the importance of being strategic about what and who to amplify. It highlights the role of biases, the need for belonging, and the performance aspect of sharing news on social media. The piece includes advice from experts on verifying information before sharing and reporting suspected disinformation. It also touches on the shift from automated bots to real people spreading ideologically aligned content on Twitter and the importance of education and engagement in society to combat disinformation.

Africa Check’s Info Finder has won an innovation grant! Here’s what we plan to do with it

03 Mar 2020  |  Africa Check
Africa Check's Info Finder, a tool providing trusted data on key topics in Africa, has won a nearly US$50,000 innovation grant from the International Fact-Checking Network and the Facebook Journalism Project. The grant will be used to expand Info Finder into a repository of African facts and develop a helpdesk for journalists in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa. The expansion aims to improve public debate and media reporting by making reliable information accessible in a Q&A format.

This is why data still costs you twice what it could

14 Jan 2019  |  news24.com
In South Africa, high data costs and the expiration of data are contentious issues. The government, with an election approaching, is pushing for the release of radio frequency spectrum to help lower data prices. Spectrum is a limited resource essential for broadcasting and mobile data services, managed by Icasa. Delays in digital migration and policy flip-flops have hindered the availability of spectrum. Vodacom's CEO suggests that access to more spectrum could reduce data prices by almost half, but this is contingent on reasonable acquisition costs and market conditions. MTN and Telkom also weigh in on the impact of spectrum on data prices and service quality. The next spectrum auction is anticipated by the end of the current financial year, with the new digital migration deadline set for July 2020.

Postbank: State bank in the making singles out customers at the bottom of the pyramid

13 Nov 2018  |  fin24.com
Postbank, currently a division of the South African Post Office, is preparing to become a fully-fledged bank with a focus on financial inclusion for lower-income segments. With R3 billion in capital, double the required amount, and a pre-tax profit of R315 million, Postbank is awaiting a banking license from the Reserve Bank. Acting managing director Shaheen Adam highlights Postbank's unique market position, targeting customers in the lower Living Standards Measure (LSM) groups, and plans to offer loans to small businesses and agricultural operations. Postbank has also been involved in government-to-citizen services, such as social grant payments, and boasts a wide distribution network through Post Office branches. Adam assures that Postbank will not require a government bailout due to its strong capital base.

Can voters’ roll ConCourt case delay the 2019 election?

30 Aug 2018  |  dailymaverick.co.za
The Constitutional Court of South Africa found the voters' roll not compliant with the Electoral Act, leading to a request by the Independent Electoral Commission for more time to record addresses. This has raised concerns about whether the 2019 elections could be delayed. The court's decision is seen as a protection order to prevent challenges to the elections' integrity based on the voters' roll issues. Political parties, including the DA, EFF, IFP, and UDM, do not believe the court hearing will delay the elections, despite the importance of addresses in local government elections.

The IEC’s voter address problem in an age of coalitions

29 Aug 2018  |  dailymaverick.co.za
The Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) is facing challenges in recording voter addresses, which are crucial for ensuring voters cast their ballots in the correct districts. With 3.4 million addresses incomplete and 2.2 million not recorded, the IEC sought an extension from the Constitutional Court to resolve the issue after the 2019 elections. The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) oppose the extension. The IEC's efforts include using government sources for addresses, employing GIS operators, and planning new registration technology. However, the absence of a uniform address standard and a complete national geolocated address database complicates the process.

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Fails to Deliver on Bucket Toilet Eradication Promise

14 May 2018  |  HeraldLIVE
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in South Africa has postponed its deadline to eradicate the bucket toilet system by six months, a move that contradicts Mayor Athol Trollip's major political promise. The municipality has also decided to discontinue the provision of chemical toilets as a temporary alternative due to high costs. The delay has been attributed to community demands for other services like electricity and housing. The municipality is exploring container ablution facilities with flush toilets as a replacement in some wards, while others, like Walmer Township, may continue using buckets until the new deadline. Residents express frustration and concern over the lack of progress towards more dignified sanitation solutions. The article reports on the challenges and community reactions to the unmet promise and the ongoing sanitation issues.

Part one of a three-part series on the ANC leadership race.

The endless battle for drinking water

26 Nov 2017  |  news24.com
The Sekhukhune District Municipality in Limpopo, South Africa, failed to deliver on its promise to supply water from the De Hoop Dam to local villages by June. Despite the official opening of the dam by President Jacob Zuma in 2014, many communities still lack a reliable water supply. Residents have resorted to self-help solutions, such as repairing old boreholes, while others buy water from those with private boreholes. The municipality blames the withdrawal of R126 million in funding for the delays and projects completion by April next year. Meanwhile, some villages have taken legal action to secure water provision, leading to interim solutions and cautious optimism for a permanent resolution.

Is the ANC ‘advancing people’s power’? Fact-check the municipal manifesto

20 May 2016  |  www.timeslive.co.za
The article fact-checks key claims made in the African National Congress' (ANC) local government election manifesto ahead of the 2016 local government elections in South Africa. It examines the ANC's performance in areas such as electricity, water, sanitation, refuse removal, health, jobs, housing, and corruption. The analysis reveals discrepancies and provides context to the ANC's claims, using data from Statistics South Africa and other sources. The article also highlights the challenges and limitations in service delivery and the impact of various government programs.
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