It's been 30 years of ending the weekend with Carte Blanche

Presenters Claire Mawisa, Derek Watts, Macfarlane Moleli and Devi Sankaree Govender. (Photo Supplied)
Presenters Claire Mawisa, Derek Watts, Macfarlane Moleli and Devi Sankaree Govender. (Photo Supplied)

Cape Town – The weekly investigative magazine show Carte Blanche will ceblebrate a milestone anniversary – it’s 30th birthday – this Sunday evening at 19:00 on M-Net (DStv 101).

The Combined Artistic Productions produced show that has given M-Net and DStv subscribers "the right to see it all" since 1988, will reach episode number 1 572 on Sunday for the 90-minute broadcast that will see the original former co-anchor Ruda Landman return for a special appearance.

Carte Blanche "has provided a voice to all South Africans; it has been a trustworthy authority on the state of affairs and a clear reflection of the world we live in; it has generated fiery debates and conversation at the watercooler; it has become a respected and loved institution that has stood the test of time," says M-Net about the show's landmark accomplishment.

"Now the longest-running current affairs show on South African television is celebrating 30 years of daring story-telling," says M-Net, with the show that has remained the most-watched and highest-rated show on the channel over the years.

In an online tribute letter to the show that he's been a part of right from the beginning when it started out in a rented studio, Derek Watts writes that "to encapsulate 30 years of Carte Blanche in a few sentences would be an impossible task. And hardly do justice to the lives that have been touched or the emotions of a journey that has included thousands of stories".

"The question that does arise is how this program has survived – no thrived –in the same time spot and on the same channel for three decades."

He says that the team at Carte Blanche "really became hardcore journalists when George Mazarakis left his lecturing post at Rhodes University and took over the helm more than 20 years ago. George expected a lot from the team – the researchers, producers, camera crews and presenters."

"He urged us to push the limits but never sat back himself. Not quite a master of delegation, I don't think there is a story over that period that he didn't view with the lawyers personally beforehand. And we did keep them busy!"

Watts also thanks M-Net, saying it's been "a broadcaster which is resilient enough to let us tackle just about any situation or personality and a sprinkle of  good fortune to the mix", as well as viewers "who have embraced the show as their private property, who interact with us and are quick to praise and just as quick to criticise when they feel we have dropped the ball."

"We have given you the right to see it all. And we really do believe that truth brings change". 


Produced by Combined Artistic Productions and spearheaded by legendary executive producers like the late Bill Faure (in the photo below), Linda Vermaas, Pieter Cilliers and George Mazarakis, the show continues to accumulate journalistic accolades – the tally now reaching 230 international and local awards.

Wynand Grobler recently took over from Mazarakis as the new executive producer.

Mazarakis remains one of the director of Combined Artists but recently resigned as executive producer of the show after deciding to relocate to Greece to be closer to his family.

He handed over the reins to Grobler who has been working at his side for the past four years and who has been with Carte Blanche for 13 years.

"George's contribution to Carte Blanche is beyond comparision," M-Net tells Channel24.

"Not only did he passionately spearhead the multiple award-winning show for 25 years and shaped it into the institution it is today, but he also initiated the Carte Blanche Making a Difference Campaign and was instrumental in raising millions of rands to upgrade hospitals around the country".

Besides Watts and Landman, Carte Blanche over the past three decades has had many stand-out presenters and journalists who proved their mettle in doing everything from hard-hitting doorstop interviews to relentless probing of issues ordinary South Africans wanted answers to - from the late Manu Padayachee to Michelle Alexander, Les Aupiais, and Bongani Bingwa, Devi Sankaree Govender, John Webb, Tim Modise, Chantal Rutter Dros and Annika Larsen.

The current presenting team consists out of Derek Watts, Devi Sankaree Govender known for her fearless reporting, John Webb from the United Kingdom, Macfarlane Moleli who joined last year, and Claire Mawisa.


Sunday's milestone 90-minute broadcast will look back on many of the highlights and memorable moments that created appointment viewing on Sunday nights on M-Net over the past 30 years.

Viewers will relive Carte Blanche's coverage of epic moments in history as it exposed wrongdoing of all kinds, interviewed global icons, kept viewers informed about the latest technology, and showcased remarkable achievements of South Africans from all walks of life


Three Decades of History

In August 1988, the first episode of Carte Blanche was broadcast. South Africa was a very different country at the time. PW Botha was state president, Nelson Mandela was behind bars, townships were aflame, and a repressive state of emergency was being fiercely opposed.  Since then, unimaginable changes have taken place in our history and Carte Blanche has been there to cover many of these human triumphs and tragedies.

Investigations and Scams

Investigative reportage has been the cornerstone of Carte Blanche for 30 years, busting corruption, cruelty and trickery, from car dealers to shady politicians, animal abusers to scamsters of every type. It still inspires countless people to write to us every day. We recall the highlights in our investigative journey and reflect on the sometimes entertaining and always enlightening responses of those in the cross-hairs.

The Bizarre, the Adventurous and the Extraordinary 

While it may be known for its investigative prowess, Carte Blanche has over the years explored bizarre and extraordinary lifestyles and adventures.  From adult “babies” in nappies, to the first South African Everest expedition – we’ve captured these moments and met courageous men and women who have pushed the boundaries of modern-day adventure.

Sport, Celebrities and Golden Moments

Carte Blanche’s very presence made – and recorded – magic. Devi’s iconic confrontation of Eskom’s Matshela Koko. Derek’s meeting with Mark Shuttleworth before he ventured into space. Macfarlane’s scowl as he descended into Johannesburg’s sewers with zama zama miners looking for treasure, and the wonder on Claire’s face as she tested some of the first virtual reality phone devices. Moments like these have made you stay with us and have propelled us into the future.

(Photos supplied)

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