INDABA Newsletter | May 2013

Networking forums

Thank you to the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (Pretoria Zoo) for hosting the club’s networking forum on 23 May. The evening included a night tour with fantastic sightings of nocturnal animals and a traditional South African braai. Specific thanks go to Craig Allenby and Angeliné Schwan for their great hospitality – as always!

Watch this space for announcements of club networking forums over the next few months, also in Johannesburg.

Winners of Discovery Health Journalism Awards announced

The judges have selected the Discovery Health Journalism Awards for 2013, with Mia Malan of Mail & Guardian winning the Discovery Health Journalist of the Year award for her story ‘Rural hospitals in terminal crisis’.

The independent judging panel described her work as demonstrating excellent writing skills, an ability to use a diversity of relevant sources and good research, which leaves her readers well informed about the issues as well as their context. While she shines a torch on official neglect, she also highlights the heroism of individual doctors working tirelessly in the most difficult of conditions to serve the people.

According to Discovery Health chief executive officer Dr Jonathan Broomberg, healthcare is becoming an increasingly central issue in society. “Healthcare reporting spans health economics, the regulatory environment and consumer health issues – to name but a few. Reporting on these wide reaching and sometimes emotive issues is often complex.

“We would like to salute all journalists who are highlighting critical healthcare issues with flair, passion and professionalism, especially the finalists and winners of this year’s awards.”

Prof Tawana Kupe, convenor of the judging panel, said the panel was “pleased by the number of entries focusing on systemic problems in the healthcare system, an interesting dimension of this year’s entries was a particular focus on those doctors who choose despite the difficult conditions to serve in rural health facilities.”

The winners are:

  • Best Health News Reporting – Katharine Child, The Times, Live-saving Drug on Hold
  • Best Health Television Reporting – Amalia Christoforou and Wynand Grobler, Carte Blanche, Smart Drugs
  • Best Health Radio Journalism – Ayanda Mkwananzi, Health-e News Service for SAFM, I am now a Conqueror
  • Best Health Analysis and Commentary – Antoinette Pienaar, Beeld, Etiek van Stamselle
  • Best Health Economics – Tamar Kahn, Business Day, Rising Fees at Public Hospitals
  • Best Investigative Journalism – Estelle Brits and Eugene Coetzee, The Herald, A Right gone Wrong
  • Best Health Journalism: Foreign Media – Darren Taylor, Voice of America, The Near-Absence of Health Care Delivery in Rural South Africa
  • Best Healthy Lifestyle Feature – Lindsay Ord, Daily News, Barefoot Running … is less really more?
  • Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing – Mia Malan, Mail & Guardian, Rural hospitals in terminal crisis
  • loveLife Young Health Journalist of the Year – Fathima Simjee
Mia Malan won the Discovery Health Journalist of the Year award. She was also the winner in two categories in the 2012 National Press Club – North-West University Journalist of the Year Awards.

Sanef concerned about INMSA deal

Assurances are needed that the constitutional mandate of journalists employed at Independent News & Media South Africa (INMSA) will be protected if the company is acquired by Sekunjalo Independent Media, editors have said.

A number of professional journalists were “deeply concerned” at the manner in which the acquisition was being conducted, South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) chairman Nic Dawes wrote in an open letter to Competition Commissioner Shan Ramburuth.

“A singular feature of Sekunjalo’s application is the lack of information about the people who are members of the consortium representing the company,” he said.

Dawes said INMSA publications played an important role in the production of South Africa’s news.

“This role has a major influence on the public of South Africa in their appreciation and assessment of the conduct of governance and the general economic, social and political affairs of the country as a whole.”

Sekunjalo had said it did not envisage any retrenchments and that the concerns of employees had been met.

Dawes said that while this assurance was welcomed, media staff needed to be able to carry out their Constitutional obligations.

“Editorial employees labouring under these obligations require firm assurances that the people in control of the company will provide the equipment, resources and the employment environment necessary to meet those obligations.”

As INMSA had a monopoly in the English-language newspaper markets of Cape Town and Durban, and large stakes in Pretoria and Kimberley, “serious scrutiny” of the plans around the acquisition was needed.

In the letter, Dawes wrote that confirmation was also needed that no political party would control the appointment of the chairman or CEO of INMSA.

The letter was emailed to media industry members, who were asked to support an appeal for the Competition Commission to extend its hearings into the acquisition.

Business Day reported that the Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium and INMSA signed a binding offer in February, which was subject to regulatory approval by the South African Reserve Bank and the Competition Commission.

The consortium had made a submission to the Competition Commission explaining why its R2-billion takeover of the group should be approved.

According to the newspaper, it emerged in this submission that the Government Employees’ Pension Fund would acquire a 25-percent stake, worth about R500-million, in the group as part of the consortium.

A transaction notice reportedly stated that shareholders in the consortium, which was set up by Dr Iqbal Surve, included Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla and businessman Sandile Zungu, who had been appointed with Surve to the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) business council by President Jacob Zuma.

INMSA publishes several newspapers, including the Cape Times, The Star and The Mercury. IOL is the digital division of INMSA. – Sapa

See you at emBARgo

Members are reminded about happy hour at the press club bar emBARgo, every Friday from 17:00 to 19:00. The bar is in the cellar of the Orange Restaurant in the Court Classique Hotel, corner of Beckett and Francis Baard (previously Schoeman) Streets, Arcadia.

Thank you for paying membership fees

Thank you to those press club members who have already paid their membership fees for 2013.

Members who have not yet done so, are requested to pay their fees as soon as possible.

Membership fees are R220 for full members, R350 for associate members and R150 for student members.

Members are requested to use their invoice number as reference when payment is done, so that it can be picked up easily by the secretariat.


Please send any news, suggestions or information for this newsletter to Martin van Niekerk at the secretariat on, 082 257 0305. Website | Facebook | Twitter