Carte Blanche


Meet the Team


Jon Sparkes

Jon Sparkes is the owner of the Carte Blanche production company, Combined Artistic Productions. He has been responsible for the production of more than six Miss World and Miss South Africa pageants, and successfully promoted tours by Billy Connolly, UB40, Wet Wet Wet and Mike and the Mechanics.

John Webb

John Webb began his career in journalism at news agency Network Radio News in 1997, from where he was headhunted by Talk Radio 702 in 1999 as a news reader and reporter assigned to major local and international news stories. John joined Carte Blanche in 2004, presenting his first ever insert in April of that year and what he thought would be his last in early 2009.  A four-year stint abroad saw him working as a presenter and producer for the European broadcaster, Setanta Sports, but he returned to South Africa in 2013 and, after completing a six-month contract as a late-night talk show host on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk, he made his Carte Blanche comeback.  In March 2014, John re-joined the family as the Pretoria field anchor for their acclaimed Oscar Pistorius Trial channel. Seven years later, and after yet another move to Europe from where he produced and presented the show’s international content, John has made the move into management as Carte Blanche’s Executive Producer. John has written a book, is raising two brilliant young daughters with his Irish wife, Emma, and can state without hesitation that he knows more about rugby than anyone with whom he’s ever debated the subject.

Anna-Maria van Niekerk

Graduating with an MPhil (cum laude) in political studies, Anna-Maria debuted as television producer at the SABC where she won 3 CNN African Journalist category awards, a Webber Wentzel legal journalism award, the overall International Federation of Journalists’ award & overall Vodacom journalist of the year award. After joining Carte Blanche, she won the overall Discovery Health Journalist of the Year & repeated Discovery category awards. Her journalistic interests revolve around health science & economics; sustainability & human rights consequences of industry and mining.

Chwayitisa Futshane

Chwayitisa graduated from Rhodes University in 2012 and is a recipient of the Carte Blanche bursary. She specialised in television production and joined the Carte Blanche family in 2012.

Sasha Schwendenwein

Sasha Schwendenwein received a scholarship to attend Columbia University’s Joseph Pulitzer School of journalism in New York, where she received her masters. Since joining Carte Blanche in 2012, she’s won numerous awards including Journalist of the year from the national press club, a SAFTA, politics and several environmental awards. Most recently a documentary she co-produced on guns won a SADC award. Her journalistic interests include investigative stories highlighting human and animal rights issues.

Laura Byrne

Laura has a BA and an Honours from Wits University and graduated from York University (UK) with a Masters in Postcolonial Studies in 2013. She worked on the Oscar Pistorius Trial Channel and local newspapers before joining the Carte Blanche team in 2015 as a researcher and producer. Her focus is on environmental and medical stories.

Sinethemba Nogude

Sinethemba is a Journalism graduate from Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape. He joined the Carte Blanche Family in 2015 as a journalism intern, and was soon offered a full-time position as a researcher.

Siniketiwe Hlanze

Siniketiwe Hlanze follows the country’s current affairs developments with a focus on politics and economics. Beyond the inserts she produces for the show she’s also produced documentaries on some of the continents’ celebrated leaders. She graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from Rhodes University in 2013 and started her career at the Johannesburg BBC News Bureau as a junior producer, where she covered news events both in the country and Africa. She’s also worked as a weekend newsreader on 702 and Power987.


Diana Lucas

Diana Lucas has been a Carte Blanche producer for more than 10 years, preferring stories of an esoteric nature with human drama elements. She has been to all four corners of the globe with Carte Blanche covering stories such as life on a US Aircraft Carrier off the Iraqi coast, a look into the mystery of civilization and the Egyptian Pyramids, an interview with the famous Brazilian healer, and more recently an interview with alternative health guru Deepak Chopra.

Joy Summers

Joy Summers began producing for Carte Blanche in 1995. Two years later she was appointed Story Editor. In 2001 she moved on to become the Africa and International Commissioning Editor. She spent five years as the managing editor on the local version of the show. For several years she was the studio director of Carte Blanche Africa. Currently she is back in the field working as a producer for Carte Blanche.

Carol Albertyn Christie

Carol's career in television started when she received a Diploma in Film and Video Technology Pretoria Technikon in 1985. Thereafter she worked as a video editor for 11 years. In 1996 she became a producer of documentaries, corporate programmes, television channel promos and branding, music videos and magazine inserts. Carol joined Carte Blanche as a producer in 1998 and has since won a number of awards.

Graham Coetzer

Graham Coetzer joined Carte Blanche in 2009 and has produced stories exposing torture, fraud, scams and corruption. From covering tow truck wars to exposing rent-a-baby scams, Graham prefers to focus on the criminal underbelly of society. He has worked as a producer/director across the African continent, and was extensively involved in productions for the Carte Blanche Oscar Pistorius Trial channel.

Eugene Botha

Eugene Botha joined Carte Blanche in 1999, he has been involved in the television industry in a freelance capacity for more than 15 years. Over the years he has produced a variety of material in a variety of genres for all the channels and broadcasters in South Africa.

Kate Barry

Kate Barry joined Carte Blanche in 1995 as a scriptwriter and assistant producer. She began producing her own inserts in 2000, for which she has received several journalism awards. Kate has also directed other M-Net productions like “Talk With Tumi Makgabo”, “Living It” and “Criminal Minds”. Her many scripting credits include the Final Draw of the FIFA World Cup 2010. Recently Kate directed the live feed of the Oscar Pistorius Trial from the courtroom.

Nicky Troll

Nicky Troll started in investigative journalism in 2002 working in Durban. In 2012 Nicky moved to Jozi to pursue a career with Carte Blanche. Working in all aspects of TV journalism, her passion is exposing crime and corruption. She has won a number of awards, including SAB Environmental Journalist of the Year; CNN Journalist of the Year: General Features; and the European Commission’s Lorenzo Natali Award for Africa.

Tarryn Crossman

Tarryn Crossman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker base in JHB, South Africa. Tarryn studied journalism at Rhodes for a year, she then went on to graduate from AFDA and after working in the TV industry for many years, decided to move to NYC to specialise in documentary filmmaking. On return she started her own production company and focused on telling stories from around Africa for local and international audiences. She has screened her documentary films at international festivals and won awards for independent and commercial work. She started producing for Carte Blanche in 2016.

Liz Fish

Liz Fish joined Carte Blanche in 2007 as a producer. Her first major insert was an award-winning investigation into fraudulent labelling of commercially available fish. Before joining Carte Blanche she spent 25 years producing and directing tv documentaries for local and international broadcasters after graduating from UCT in the mid-80s. She specialises in environmental investigations, and has won numerous awards including the inaugural David Suzuki Green Producer Award at the Banff World Media Festival in Canada in 2011, and the 2010 Siemens Pan African Science Journalist of the Year.

Sipha Kema

An experienced journalist and broadcaster with a demonstrated history of working in the broadcast media industry. She's skilled in social media, production coordination, editing, public speaking, communications, public relations and content planning. Sipha also has a student pilot licence. 

Hein Kaiser 

A seasoned journalist, broadcaster, producer and marketing communication professional. Known for his award-winning show on Mix FM, Hein has also reported on many high-profile stories over the years. He's written for several major daily publications, most recently The Citizen. When he's not behind the keyboard, Hein is out in the world as a photographer. 

Busisiwe Gumede Chizhanje

Busisiwe needs little introduction, having served as producer and investigative journalist on several popular current affairs programmes over the years. She has the prestigious title as one of the Mail & Guardians Top 200 Youth in South Africa, and has shone a light on a multitude of buzzworthy matters. 

Nombuso Nkosi

As a Freelance Production Manager and Associate Producer, Nombuso has had the privilege of working on a variety of projects in the film and television space both locally and in Africa. In 2018, she joined the team as Carte Blanche's Production Coordinator.