Sanral took on journalist Denis Beckett, reputed to respect truth more than paymasters, to put the record straight. Beckett wound up as persona non grata at Sanral’s headquarters, which is a little surprising as he takes the pro-toll argument miles further than Sanral ever did, and demolishes the opposition. What’s up? Human frailty, naturally, which – along with road technology, road history, psychology and South Africa’s peculiar politics – is examined pithily and eminently readably in Drowning the Lifesaver.
Beckett started adult life as an advocate/barrister and rapidly defected into journalism. As owner and editor of Frontline magazine, 1979 to 1990, he collected three major awards and three banning orders. From 1994 to 2001 he presented an unchained television programme named Beckett's Trek. Between times and since he has given birth to 16 books and more than a thousand columns, and has proudly resolved several disputes by the underutilised techniques of mediation.