Legendary broadcaster and media personality Derek Watts has been remembered as a guiding light in the pursuit of truth and transparency.
The veteran Carte Blanche TV presenter died on Tuesday at the age of 75 after battling cancer.
In June, Watts announced he would retire from the investigative news show after 35 years in front of the camera. He first graced South African TV screens in 1995 as a TopSport anchor.
The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) said it is deeply saddened by the news of Watts’ passing.
Sanef chairperson Sbu Ngalwa said Watts had been an instrumental figure in shaping the landscape of journalism in South Africa.
“As the face of Carte Blanche for many years, Watts was not only an exceptional journalist but also a guiding light in the pursuit of truth and transparency. His dedication to uncovering stories of immense importance and relevance to the South African public garnered him immense respect and admiration from colleagues and viewers alike.
His distinctive voice and unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity have left an indelible mark on the industry.”
Journalist Karyn Maughan said Watts was a gentle giant.
“Rest In Peace, Derek Watts. Thank you for the way you led your life and your incredible journalism. Thank you for being brave and kind. And thank you for always believing that things should be better. You blessed us all.”
Katy Katopodis, Sanef’s Wellness and Safety Committee chairperson, described Watts as a television and broadcasting legend in South Africa.
She recalled how she loved hosting the Oscar Pistorius Trial Channel with Derek.
“We made television history during those days as Carte Blanche and EWN were granted permission to broadcast court proceedings live. It was an honour and a privilege to be a part of a team that included Derek.
“In later years, Derek played a key role on the Adcock Ingram Brave Journalism Awards, and we were able to work together again. He will be missed,” Katopodis said.
Sanef said Watts will forever be remembered as an exceptional journalist and mentor to many aspiring journalists.
“His contribution to investigative journalism has left an enduring legacy, inspiring others to continue his mission of uncovering the truth and holding those in power accountable.
“We stand united in celebrating his remarkable career and legacy that will continue to resonate in the hearts and minds of journalists and audiences for generations to come,” Sanef said.