INDABA Newsletter | December 2015

Be responsible. Be safe.

We have come to the end of another successful, eventful year and as we wind down our activities, I would like, on behalf of the exco, to wish you love, safety, joy and peace over this period.

What the National Press continues to achieve year after year cannot be done without the participation of its members. To this end I wish to thank you all and further urge you to continue supporting the activities and events of the club. After all, the club is nothing without its members!

I am proud that things are going well and smooth at the National Press Club and this is largely due to the professional service we continue to receive from our secretariat, Ben Rootman and Martin van Niekerk. I need to mention Lisa Dewberry too, for she has been a stalwart at our press briefings and networking forums.

The members of the exco who untiringly attended to the running of the club throughout the year have my thanks and respect, and I wish that going into the New Year, may the spirit of co-operation and dedication to the cause grow.

The press club, like any other entity, operates in a tight financial atmosphere. To this end I wish to urge colleagues to renew their membership fees and hereby confirm that the exco is working hard to secure the financial sustainability of the Club.

The usual favourites – Newsmaker of the Year, Journalist of the Year and the Percy Qoboza Memorial Lecture will soon be upon us again. We all look forward to these with the trust that we will do even better in 2016.

Be responsible. Be safe. Enjoy.

Jos Charle
National Press Club

Nominate your newsmaker for 2015

It’s that time of the year again!

Please send us your nomination for the National Press Club’s Newsmaker of the Year for 2015, with a short motivation, by 15 January 2016, to All nominations will be considered by the press club exco and an announcement made before the end of January.

Over the years the club has recognised and awarded many newsmakers. Previous recipients include President Jacob Zuma, as well as former presidents FW de Klerk and Thabo Mbeki. Other newsmakers included Hollywood star Charlize Theron, Zachie Achmat and the Treatment Action Campaign, the late Hansie Cronjé and various other sporting personalities and former DA Leader Helen Zille. ESKOM, Cope and FIFA’s Sepp Blatter and Danny Jordaan also received the award in recent years. Other recipients were Thuli Madonsela, Julius Malema and the South African rhino. Last year the award went to the Oscar Pistorius trial.

New editor for Sunday Times

Bongani Siqoko will take over as editor of South Africa’s top selling Sunday newspaper in January. Current editor, Phylicia Oppelt, has accepted a senior position within the group as general manager of editorial projects.

“We are confident that Bongani will succeed in his new position. He has proved an exceptional editor and leader at the Dispatch and will bring a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to his new role, especially as the Sunday Times embarks on a new journey with a fresh design and a new multi-platform future,” said managing director, Andy Gill.

Siqoko, who holds an MA in International Journalism from City University London, is currently the editor of the East London-based Daily Dispatch, Saturday Dispatch and DispatchLive. He has been with the Daily Dispatch since November 2004, having held many positions at the newspaper – news editor, managing editor and deputy editor prior to his appointment as editor in June 2013.

Siqoko will start as Sunday Times editor on 11 January 2016. The National Press Club wishes him all the best in this new position.

Networking forums still popular

The National Press Club’s monthly networking forums continue to be popular and we thank – not only our generous hosts – but also our members who support them.

The last event of 2015 was hosted by Absa at their branch in Irene Village Mall. It was a most enjoyable and informative evening – a great way to round off the year.

The first networking forum of 2016 will be hosted by the French Embassy, at the ambassador’s residence, on Thursday, 4 February. Members are requested to diarise this special evening and look out for more information on e-mail.

Exco lekgotla – watch this space!

The press club’s executive committee recently held its annual lekgotla to plan the club’s activities for the next year.

Generously hosted by South African National Parks (SANParks) at the Golden Gate Hotel in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, the lekgotla was fruitful, with robust debate. Announcements about decisions taken at the lekgotla will be made in the New Year.

SANParks has hosted the club’s lekgotla for a number of years and remains a partner who is crucial to the club’s success. Once again, the Golden Gate National Park was a magnificent experience!

Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park’s sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp.

This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell’s zebra – and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs.

Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening.

Areas of special interest include the Van Reenen family graveyard, the impressive Brandwag buttress rock formation, the vulture restaurant and Cathedral Cave, which can be seen on a guided walk.

Comments from press club exco members include:

Great weekend, thank you everyone!” – Willem van de Putte

Thanks everyone for an awesome weekend!” – Mosidi Mokgele

Thanks everyone, particularly Rey for such an experience.” – Frans Machate


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