Speech by the Minister of Communications, Ms Faith Muthambi, MP, on the occasion of the SADC Media Awards thank you dinner, Freedom Park, Tshwane, Gauteng Province
Acting Directors -General of GCIS and DoC;
Representatives of the Entities here present;
Chairperson and members of the Adjudication Committee;
Sponsors and Stakeholders;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is a great honour for me to address this prestigious event; the SADC Media Awards Thank You Dinner. The SADC Media Awards provide outstanding exposure for winners, nominees and sponsors alike. Dedicated to excellence in journalism, these Media Awards present a unique opportunity for the SADC Region’s journalists to be celebrated and recognised by their peers.
When we hosted this event last year at Freedom Park, we also encouraged the South African media to cover regional stories. The response has been massively positive. In 2015 GCIS received 43 competition entries, but last year they had a record number of 104 entries from South African journalists.
This is very impressive, as it shows that the media in South Africa are recognising SADC issues seriously which in turn highlights both the successes and developmental changes in this region.
We have also registered some of our own major achievements through these awards and last year, for instance, we omitted to reward Ms Imbelani Matibe a Grade 12 Learner from Thengwe Secondary School in Limpopo who had participated in a SADC essay competition last year and had won! I am pleased to inform you that in her matric year last year she achieved distinctions in all her subjects!! She has gone on to greater things. This year she is enrolled at the University of Cape Town where she is studying Actuarial Science. As they are currently involved in the orientation programmes, she is unable to join us here tonight but her proud dad Mr Matibe is with us here tonight. Mr Matibe, I am sure you must be very proud indeed of Imbelani as well as a number of her peers for their outstanding achievements. We salute you in raising a young mind of this caliber. It is our pleasure to acknowledge Imbelani’s wonderful essay win tonight with a laptop through the generous sponsorship of the MTN Foundation.
Ladies and gentleman, Programme Director, through the efforts of this Ministry of Communications, we were able to contribute by ensuring that the internet facility at Thengwe Secondary School be installed, thus opening the online world with all its information and data to these young minds. It is our sincere hope that this contribution has, in its own small way, played a meaningful role in assisting these young people to have grown as they have.
The SADC Media Awards were initially launched in 1996, with the aim to recognise excellence in journalism in the areas of print, photojournalism, television, radio as well as to encourage media practitioners in member states to cover issues pertaining to the region for the purposes of promoting regional integration and cooperation. They further seek to bring and enhance partnership between media and Government institutions.
The South African Chapter of the SADC Media Awards competition was launched during November 2003 and GCIS was identified as the contact point (National Coordinator/SADC Media Coordinator) for South African media by the SADC Secretariat. To date South Africa has won seven times at the SADC Media Awards Competition.
In the context of this competition, regional integration refers to; programmes, projects and activities supportive of the SADC common agenda involving, benefiting and affecting at least three SADC Members States. The opening of the R78.5-million Swartkopfontein road and bridge linking South Africa and Botswana by the Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters, in November 2016, is one of the many good examples of SADC stories. The SADC region can only be integrated once we have good roads and rail that are linking countries in the region.
The SADC council of Ministers recently approved the SADC Communications strategy to publicise and communicate the work that countries are doing in the SADC region. We need to work together with SADC countries to popularise the projects that are underway in the SADC region.
It is our firm belief that Africa must tell its own stories, and in order for that to happen we must genuinely work to transform our media landscape to ensure that it is inclusive of more voices from our diverse nation. We hold the view that a media that is transformed will actively tell South African and SADC stories to build bridges between the citizens of our sister SADC countries. To this end, the Department of Communications in August 2016 hosted a colloquium on Media Transformation where issues of print ownership, measurement of circulation, distribution channels and assessment of regulations that govern the affairs of media practitioners were robustly debated.
The SADC vision is one of a common future, within a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standard of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice, peace and security for the peoples of Southern Africa. This shared vision is anchored on common values and principles and historical and cultural affinities that exist amongst the people of Southern Africa.
South African Winners
In as much as South Africa did not win at the regional level last year, as government we take this competition seriously, hence we are today celebrating and hosting our national winners.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The eight winning entries we honour here tonight were selected from 104 other quality entries submitted. You will appreciate from the number of entries that this race was highly and truly competitive. I congratulate each one of you on reaching the regional adjudication. The significance of your stories is that they contribute positively towards achieving regional integration and cooperation between the people of the region.
I also applaud the National Adjudication Committee for the sterling job they do for this competition. I would also like to thank the Media Development Diversity Agency (MDDA), the Institute of the Advancement of Journalism (IAJ) and the GCIS for working together in ensuring the success and sustainability of the SADC Media Awards Competition.
Partnerships and Sponsorship
The impact of this competition as well as the awareness of it, is made possible by partners and various sponsors who contribute massively to this endeavor. I would like to thank all those who contributed towards making this a success. You are all very special!
Our cross boarder work
We actively participated in the Cooperation and Coordination of Cross Border Interference for Terrestrial Service. In 2015 we had an engagement in Namibia with Minister Tjekero Tweya responsible for Information and Communication Technology. We discussed the progress that SA and Namibia made on Broadcast Digital Migration. We agreed on the following:
- Establish a joint task team to facilitate the engagement between the two countries;
- Enhance collaboration and cooperation of the Regulators in addressing matters of mutual interest on cross border interference on terrestrial services, radio communications and other related matters;
- Sharing of plans with regard to the roadmap for the release and use of the digital dividend for other services as and when necessary;
- Sharing technical implementation and best practices inclusive of STBs sourcing and distribution.
Our collaboration in the SADC region on Digital Migration is already yielding results as we had our first analogue switch off on 28 October 2016 in Carnarvon, Northern Cape.
Programme Director, ladies and gentleman before I conclude allow me to make one announcement
Our winner in the PRINT GENERAL CATEGORY is
- Theunis Jacobus (TJ) Strydom for his entry Relief For Flood-Hit Mozambique and Malawi published in The Times.
Friends, TJ is celebrating his birthday today so is unable to join us as he is involved in a celebration of his own. I am sure you will all join me in wishing him not only our heartfelt congratulations on his wonderful win, but above all a very happy birthday from us.
TJ’s Award is proudly sponsored by: Independent Newspapers: Tablet
His Gift will be couriered to him next week.
As I conclude ladies and gentlemen, the late President Mandela once said "What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Let us use media and communication as tools to make a difference in the SADC region.
I thank you