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Fearless & a hard worker: ‘City Press’ journalist Ngwako Modjadji remembered

Sanef said on Sunday it was deeply saddened by Modjadji's untimely death. The forum sent its condolences to his family and colleagues in the media industry.

Senior political reporter at 'City Press' Ngwako Modjadji. Picture: @MbuyiseniNdlozi/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Senior political reporter at City Press Ngwako Modjadji has been described as a fearless journalist with a sterling work ethic following his death in an alleged hit-and-run incident on Saturday night in Soweto.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said through a statement on Sunday it was deeply saddened by Modjadji’s untimely death. The forum sent its condolences to his family and colleagues in the media industry.

The 40-year-old journalist worked at The Citizen and Sowetan newspapers as a political journalist. He joined City Press in 2018 and was currently part of the publication’s core team reporting on politics.

“Those who worked with him have praised him for his sterling work ethic, that has seen him dominate front pages of all the publications he has worked for,” Sanef said in a statement on Sunday morning.

Sanef secretary-general Moipone Malefane, who worked with Modjadji at Sowetan, said he was “a gentle soul, a hard worker and very respectful of everyone”.

“He played an important role in helping interpret the political life of South Africa,” Malefane said.

City Press editor Mondli Makhanya said Modjadji’s death was a great loss for journalism.

“Ngwako was undoubtedly one of the country’s leading political writers. He had incredible energy and enthusiasm and his understanding of political dynamics gave him an ability to spot a story from afar. And once he got the scent of a story he chased it until he got it. South African journalism has lost one of its shining lights,” he said.

Meanwhile, the ANC also sent messages of condolences on Sunday.

“Mr Modjadji has, over the years been a political reporter who consistently upheld the principles of the profession. He conducted himself with utmost humility and integrity. Mr Modjadji gave journalism the respect and admiration it deserves. He believed in the time-tested values of honest, fair and balanced reporting,” said the party’s national spokesperson Pule Mabe.

Mabe said Modjadji was an inspiration to many political reporters.

“South Africa owes him a debt of gratitude for the role he played in instilling a professionalism and upholding acceptable ethical standards of the Journalism profession. We convey our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in the media fraternity in its entirety.”

The South African Communist Party (SACP) also expressed great sadness on the death of Modjadji, saying he had “distinguished himself and was fearless in his reportage, working without favour or prejudice".

In a statement, the SACP sent its condolences to Modjadji’s family, colleagues, and the media fraternity.

“South Africa has been robbed of a great professional and humble gentleman through reckless driving,” SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo said. “The SACP calls on police to swiftly hunt down and bring to book the perpetrator".

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