JOHANNESBURG – Two Indian-origin men, including a journalist, are among South Africa’s 10 heroes who contributed to the public life in 2011. Journalist Yusuf Abramjee and philanthropist Dr Imtiaz Sooliman joined the list, compiled by a newspaper, which was topped by South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.
Madonsela came in for praise after acting firmly against two ministers found guilty of corruption following investigation by her office.
Published by the daily ‘The Star’, the heroes list cited Abramjee for not succumbing to temptation and going public about a multi-million rand bribe offered to him by an elderly church leader who was illegally claiming millions of rands from the state for school subsidies while his schools were inoperative.
Abramjee initiated the Lead SA campaign in which radio and print media jointly encourage members of the public to expose corruption and do things in the public interest, no matter how small.
He has also been internationally recognised with numerous awards for Crime Line, a drive against crime involving anonymous tip-offs by honest citizens.
Crime Line has seen action against illegal goods amounting to millions of rands being confiscated and numerous prosecutions over the past three years.
“In the process of turning down a Rs1.2 million bribe, Abramjee exposed a multi-million rand corruption scam in the Gauteng education system,” the daily said.
Sooliman, who gave up a medical career to start the relief aid organisation Gift of the Givers, has in the past decade received international fame for running a huge organisation which reacts to natural disasters and in war-torn countries more rapidly than international and governmental aid agencies.
“When disaster strikes, Sooliman will be there,” the daily said of the man who runs his agency from donations on a voluntary basis and is well-connected across the globe but retains his humility.