Legendary journalist Mervyn Rees dead

2013-04-16 00:00

Mervyn Rees (70), the legendary investigative journalist who, together with Chris Day, exposed the nest of corruption at the former Information Service, died of cancer yesterday.

Rees achieved nationwide fame when he and his Rand Daily Mail colleague, Day, exposed the “Muldergate” scandal in 1979.

Rees’s reports eventually led to the resignation of John Vorster, then prime minister of South Africa, and Dr Connie Mulder, then minister of information.

Veteran journalist Allister Sparks, who was Rees’s editor at the Rand Daily Mail, praised the late journalist for his direct contribution to the political transformation of South Africa.

He said Rees was the best investigative journalist of his time. “The expose of the government’s corruption was a turning point. Vorster fell and P.W. Botha took his place. That was the beginning of the end of apartheid.”

Raymond Louw, chair of the Press Council of South Africa (PCSA) and also a former editor of the Rand Daily Mail, said journalists should strive to emulate Rees and expose injustice.

After his retirement some 14 years ago, Rees and his wife, Bernice, lived in Amanzimtoti, where he retired two months ago as president of the Amanzimtoti club.

He was diagnosed with lung cancer shortly after the death of his wife. Rees is survived by two sons and two grandchildren.

His funeral service will be held at the Good Shepherd-Anglican church in Amanzimtoti at 10 am on Thursday.

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