Debora Patta Biography

Debora Patta is a South African investigative and broadcasting journalist working as an Africa correspondent for the CBS Evening News in the United States. She joined CBS in the year 2013, after leaving the long-running investigative and current affairs show 3rd Degree, which she co-hosted with Debora Patta.

How old is Debora Patta? – Age

She was born on September 1, 1964, in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and is of Italian descent. She is 57 years as of 2021.

Where did Debora Patta go to school? – Education

She matriculated in 1981 at the Rustenburg School for Girls in Cape Town’s Rondebosch area. Patta earned a Bachelor in Social Sciences from the University of Cape Town in 1984.

While in college, she briefly taught aerobics.

Debora Patta – Family

Patta was born in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where her Italian father had moved to work as a railway worker. Her father was from Rome, Italy, and she spent some of her childhood there. Her Italian ancestors are from Praia a Mare in Calabria. She considers Italy to be her second home and visits there on a regular basis. After her parents split, she relocated to South Africa with her mother, a nurse and devout Catholic, and her sister in 1976.

Debora Patta husband

Patta married Mweli Mzizi in April 1995. She was shocked by the good response of listeners to her announcement after the interracial couple had faced prejudice for a year. Hundreds of people, including Nelson Mandela, were in attendance during their wedding in January 1996. Following the wedding, the Department of Home Affairs informed Mzizi that the marriage was null and void since he failed to fill out a document stating that he was not previously married. Few South Africans were aware of the condition, according to Newsweek, and “many of the country’s weddings are presumably unlawful in the eyes of the bureaucracy.”

Patta and Mzizi attempted unsuccessfully to access a whites-only picnic resort in the Free State in 2000, shooting the incident on a hidden camera for a 3rd Degree presentation on racism, which resulted in hate mail for Patta. She was named one of the FHM 50 Most Eligible Women in the World in 2003 by FHM readers in South Africa. She married Lance Levitas in June 2003. She is the mother of two girls.
Chiara Mzizi, her older daughter, was a student at the University of Cape Town and worked as a presenter for YoTV, a youth entertainment show shown on SABC 1.
Patta and her youngest daughter, Ella, as well as her partner, Andrew Levy, living in Johannesburg as of 2019.

Debora Patta The CBS journalist
Debora Patta The CBS journalist

What is Debora Patta Salary?

Her earnings are unknown.

Debora Patta Net Worth

Her net worth is currently under review.

Debora Patta Career

Patta operated as a political activist teaching literacy in Cape Town’s squatter camps after graduating from college until 1990, when she began working as a freelance reporter for the BBC.


Patta started as a reporter for Radio 702 in Johannesburg in 1990 and rose through the ranks to news editor in 1994 and special assignments editor in 1997.
The homecoming of ANC leader Oliver Tambo from exile in December 1990 was the first news item she worked on for Radio 702.
Patta studied and reported on the 1986 aircraft accident in which Mozambican President Samora Machel was killed while working as a news and special assignments editor for Radio 702 and its sister station Cape Talk in 1997 and 1998. During the inquiry, she got multiple threatening phone calls. She spoke at a post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission special hearing in June 1998, offering expert testimony and aiding with questions about the Helderberg plane disaster in 1987 and the Machel plane tragedy in 1998. She was later interviewed for a documentary about the Helderberg plane tragedy in 2008 called Mayday (Air Crash Investigation or Air Emergency).

Patta returned to Radio 702 as a fill-in talk radio broadcaster in October 2013.


Since its founding in 1998, Patta has worked for, South Africa’s first privately-owned free-to-air television network.

Patta was the executive producer and host of the weekly current events television show 3rd Degree, which she created and centered on hard-hitting interviews, from 2000 until 2013. On May 14, 2013, the final episode of 3rd Degree aired.

Shimon Peres, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Julius Malema, Eugène Terre’Blanche, and Robert McBride have all interviewed her on big worldwide issues such as the September 11 attacks and the murder of Princess Diana.

In 2005, she was named editor-in-chief of news She quit as editor-in-chief in 2009 “to pursue her love for journalism” and concentrate on 3rd Degree. She was instrumental in the establishment of’s eNews Station Africa (eNCA), South Africa’s first 24-hour news channel, in 2008.

Patta was cast as co-host of the satirical television news show ZANEWS in 2012, with a puppet version of Patta voiced by Nikki Jackman.

Debora Patta resigned from and eNCA on May 7, 2013, to “pursue other interests as a freelancer for international news businesses.”

Following her resignation from, she went to work for CBS News as a foreign reporter.

Style of reporting

Patta has been described as “straight,” “to the point,” “unafraid,” and “a voice for the voiceless,” among other things:

She is well known in South Africa as a hard-nosed investigative reporter who mercilessly exposes everyone from unethical cabinet politicians to shady medical experts.

Patta has been called derogatory names and has been regarded as violent, but she doesn’t seem to mind.

Her incisive reporting on racism in South Africa has enraged conservative whites. After exposing dishonest black physicians who sold medical certifications and interviewing “bling queen” Khanyi Mbau, black members of the public have accused her of being racist, while Jewish members of the public have accused her of being anti-Semitic. During an interview with former ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, she was also chastised for not being equipped to speak about black culture, as well as by black viewers who were insulted by a 3rd Degree broadcast on black hair weaves. Following his release from jail in 2004, AWB commander Eugène Terre’Blanche exited an interview with Patta. After accusing Chrisna de Kock, a Freedom Front Plus youth leader at the University of the Free State, of being a racist in an interview on 3rd Degree, Patta officially apologized on television in 2010. The racial remark was then removed after an official said that “the way in which the allegation was conveyed across was wrong.” Patta has said things like “it implies I’m doing my job properly” and “we’re doing this because we have a genuine democracy” in response to criticism of her reporting.


  • Vodacom Journalist of the Year Gauteng Region 2004, 1992 South African Checkers Journalist of the Year, MTN’s Top 10 Most Influential Women in the Media, 2007
  • Journalist of the Year in Simonsvlei
  • 2009, Vodacom. In the Media Women
  • CEO Magazine, 2010 The Most Powerful Women in Business and Government in South Africa
  • 2010 She was honored with a Tricolor Globe Award from the Italian Women in the World organization, which honors great achievers of Italian descent living in other countries.
  • 2015 She was a member of the CBS News crew that was nominated for an Emmy Award for its coverage of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.


The intimate tale of South Africa’s most famous abduction case, Baby Micaela. Anne Maggs and Debora Patta collaborated on this piece. Zebra Press, Sandton, 1996, ISBN 9781868700493.
Rory Steyn, Nelson Mandela’s chief bodyguard, tells his tale in “One Step Behind Mandela.” Rory Ste is a co-author.


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