Media24, Independent Newspapers, Mail & Guardian, AVUSA Media, Caxton and Prof Jane Duncan on the status of transformation; South African Post Office Bill [B2B-2010]: NCOP Amendments; Nomination of candidates to the Board of MDDA

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14 November 2011
Chairperson: Mr S Kholwane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee was briefed by Media24, Independent Newspapers, The Mail and Guardian, AVUSA Media and Caxton on the status of transformation and ownership of the media in South Africa. The privately-owned companies operated in the print media sector, with some operating in other sectors of the media industry as well.  Additional comment was received from Prof Jane Duncan of the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University and the Media Development and Diversity Agency.

All the organisations subscribed to the Black Economic Empowerment code of practice of the Department of Trade and Industry.  The briefings included details of the companies’ BEE scorecards; the ownership of the organisation and the racial and gender representation at Board and executive management levels.  Additional information on the companies’ publications, circulation data, target markets, training and skills development programmes and corporate social investment initiatives was provided.  In general, the companies achieved satisfactory scores in the areas of preferential procurement, enterprise development and socio-economic development.  Performance in the areas of ownership, management control, employment equity and skills development was less satisfactory, which was acknowledged. 

Other issues highlighted by the delegates included the financial constraints the industry currently suffered under; the threat to media freedom; the need to clearly define transformation, diversity and community media; the need to examine the issue of cross-ownership and concentrated ownership of the media and the issue of establishing a BEE charter for the industry.  The companies acknowledged the need to include more persons with disabilities in their respective organisations.  The progress that had been made since 1994 was stressed and all the entities concerned reaffirmed their commitment to transformation and diversity of the media in South Africa.

The Committee acknowledged that progress had been made but felt that more needed to be done.  The Member from the Democratic Alliance requested clarity from the ruling party on what degree of transformation and diversity of the media was considered to be satisfactory.  Members requested more detailed information on the ownership of the companies and the race, gender and disabled representation at all levels of the organisation.  Other questions concerned the job opportunities in the distribution franchises; the companies’ corporate social investment initiatives and training programmes; the availability of jobs for persons with disabilities; the business models for community publications; the publication of titles in indigenous languages; the interaction with the Media Development and Diversity Agency and the definitions of transformation and diversity.  The Committee requested that details of the companies’ transformation targets were submitted before the end of November 2011.  The Committee suggested that the industry commenced work on the development of a charter for the industry.  The Committee would require progress reports from the stakeholders in the media sector on an annual basis in future.

The South African Post Office Society Limited Bill [B2B-2010] was referred back to the Committee by the National Council of Provinces.  The NCOP had requested amendments to clauses 18, 22, 25 and 29.  The amendments concerned replacing the words “concurrence” with “approval” and “National Assembly” with “Parliament”.  The Chairperson had referred the request to the Parliamentary Law Adviser for comment and a copy of the legal opinion would be circulated to Members for consideration.

The Committee nominated Mr Phenyo Nonqane and Ms Rene Alicia Smith for the two vacant positions on the Board of the Media Development and Diversity Agency.

Meeting report

The Committee observed a minute’s silence for fellow Member Ms Mavis Nontsikelo Magazi (ANC), who died on Friday, 11 November 2010.

Reports on the status of transformation and ownership in the media
The Committee had requested individual reports from major players in the print media sector on the current status of transformation and ownership in the respective organisations.

Briefing by Media24
Ms Esmaré Weideman, Chief Executive Officer, Media24 introduced the delegates to the Committee and gave an overview of the content of the briefing document (see attached document).  The presentation included a video clip on Media24.

Ms Lurica Klink, Company Secretary, Media24 explained that Media24 was part of the Naspers Group.  15% of Media24 shares were owned by Welkom Yizani, a black economic empowerment (BEE) organisation.  The company published 17 newspapers, 60 community newspapers and 50 consumer magazines in English, Afrikaans and isiZulu and had a combined readership of 25 million people.  The company had its own digital platforms, printing presses and distribution network and employed 5,444 people.  Media24 was committed to implementing the principles of transformation, employment equity and diversity in South Africa.

Mr Ashoek Adhikari, Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, Media24 took the Committee through the company’s Generic Scorecard, issued on 12 August 2011.  Media24 achieved a score of 68.40 points, was rated as a Level 4 organisation and was regarded as a value-added supplier.  The company received full marks for enterprise development and socio-economic development but acknowledged the low scores in the area of employment equity and skills development.  The decision to cut back expenditure on skills development was caused by financial restrictions resulting from the economic downturn experienced since 2008.

Ms Weideman presented the data on the racial and gender representation on the Media24 Board and top management and senior management levels.  The briefing was illustrated by charts comparing the position in 1994 to the current status.  The targets set for 2012 were included for the top and senior management levels. 

Actual expenditure on training amounted to R23.2 million in 2010/11.  The training budget for 2011/12 was R43.6 million.  Details were provided of the bursaries and internships offered by Media24.  170 employees attended classes in isiZulu and isiXhosa.  Media24 had developed an action plan and set targets for improving employment equity.  The company’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiatives were listed.  Through its publications, Media24 played a significant role in South African society.  A diverse range of print publications were aimed at different markets and the percentage of black magazine readers had increased significantly.

Mr Fergus Sampson, CEO Newspapers, Media24 presented the data on the profile of newspaper readers.  The percentage of black newspaper readers had increased from 61% to 85% since 1994.  Media24 had the highest reach amongst LSM 1 to 5 readers in the country.

Ms Weideman concluded the briefing with a summary of Media24’s role in promoting transformation and diversity in the print media industry.

Briefing by Independent Newspapers Limited (INL)
Mr Tony Howard, Chief Executive Officer, INL presented the briefing to the Committee (see attached document).  INL was owned by Independent News Media Plc, which was listed on the London and Irish stock exchanges.  10% of the shares are held by South African investors.  Editorial independence was guaranteed.

INL published 18 newspapers, 15 community newspapers and a number of specialist free-standing newspapers.  The company’s publications covered the diversified South African market, including “Isolezwe” (aimed at the isiZulu-speaking community in KwaZulu Natal) and the “Post” (aimed at the Indian community).  Since 1994, INL had actively repositioned its established products to ensure that the needs of the changing readership markets were met.  As a result, INL reported significant increases in the percentage of black readers of its publications.  57.5% of editorial staff members were black and almost 50% were female.  Statistical data of the racial and gender profile of editorial and senior business management staff was included.

INL had adopted the BBEEE Codes of good Practice of the Department of Trade and Industry in 1998.  A detailed, union-approved affirmation action plan was developed and implemented and subsequently expanded to a 5-year Employment Equity Policy and Plan.  Details were provided of shareholding transactions with black-owned New Africa Investment Limited (NAIL), Thebe Investments and Makana Media.  INL had assisted employees to set up their own distribution / delivery franchise businesses.

INL was rated a Level 5 BEE Contributor, with a score of 56.77.  Details of the scores in each of the scorecard criteria were provided.  The company had an internal editorial training school, offered internship, apprenticeship, fellowship and management training programmes and had a study loan scheme for employees and their children.  INL achieved the maximum score for enterprise development and socio-economic development.  The company supported a number of CSI projects to assist under-privileged communities, for example The Star Seaside Home in Durban

Briefing by Caxton and CTP Publishers Limited
Mr Paul Jenkins, Non-executive Chairperson, Caxton and CTP Publishers and Printers Ltd presented a verbal briefing to the Committee (see attached document). 

In his introduction Mr Jenkins referred to the Indaba on Media Diversity and Transformation that was held in September 2011 and highlighted some of the issues that were discussed.  An overview of the historical context and challenges faced by the media during the turbulent 1980’s in South Africa was included.  He said that the issue of media freedom could not be ignored if a meaningful debate on diversity and ownership was to be held.  He felt that it was necessary to reconcile idealism and rhetoric with commercial reality, to consider the socio-economic issues affecting the country and to take cognisance of technological changes in the communications sector, particularly the development of the internet.  He outlined the financial pressure currently experienced by the media sector and the role played by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, radio stations, pay-television companies and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).  The print media competed against all the players in the media sector for advertising revenue.  Advertisers’ resources were limited and had to be effectively applied to reach the target market.

Caxton was established in the 1980’s and the company was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), with a market capitalisation of R7 billion.  The majority shareholder was the Moolman / Coburn partnership.  Mr Moolman had been the Chief Executive Officer since the inception of the company.  Caxton owned one national daily newspaper, 13 magazines and owned or had interest in 150 community (i.e. local or regional) newspapers.  The company employed 5,500 people.  Its main business was printing, packaging and stationery.  Annual turnover in 2010/11 was R5 billion and less than half of turnover was attributable to publishing its own newspaper and magazine titles.

Caxton had a culture of responsible corporate governance and community involvement.  The company was committed to improving its BEE status.  Caxton was rated as a Level 5 Contributor, with a score of 62.23% and was recognised as a value-added vendor.  The scorecard percentages for each of the rating criteria were provided.  Expenditure on training and skills development during 2010/11 amounted to R49 million, of which 70% was spent on black employees.

Mr Jenkins gave an overview of the changes in ownership of the major players in the media sector since the 1980’s.  He noted that black ownership of the media in South Africa had in fact declined in the previous decade.  Caxton had been involved in litigation over 35% of its shareholding for three years.  Ownership of the media in South Africa was subject to market forces, as illustrated by the examples of several changes in ownership of media companies in recent years.

Mr Jenkins concluded his presentation with a summary of the major issues that needed to be taken into consideration when considering the transformation and diversification of the industry.  These factors included the financial realities of the publishing sector; the need to attract audiences in order to attract advertising revenue; the growing impact of the internet and television; the responsibility of media companies to their shareholders; the lack of regulatory barriers to entry; the high concentration of ownership in the sector and the need for additional financial support for the MDDA from the fiscus, rather then the print media sector.

Briefing by the Mail and Guardian (M&G)
Mr Hoosain Karjieker, Chief Executive Officer, M&G presented the briefing to the Committee (see attached document).

The Mail and Guardian was launched in 1985 as a weekly newspaper.  Subsequently, the majority shareholding was acquired by The Mail and Guardian of London.  Zimbabwean national Mr Trevor Ncube acquired the majority shareholding (77.5%) of M&G in 2002.  The briefing expanded on the constitution and ethos of M&G and listed the directors, shareholders and senior management of the company.  77% of Board members were black and 37.5% were female.  M&G had never paid dividends to shareholders.  Details were provided of the ownership and control exercised by the M&G Board.

The M&G Internship Programme was launched 16 years ago.  80% of trainees were black and a list of well-known journalist graduates of the programme was provided.  Details were provided of M&G’s enterprise development initiatives.  The company was committed to transformation and was rated as a Level 5 BEE Contributor with a score of 62.77.  The points scored for each of the seven scorecard criteria were provided.

Briefing by AVUSA Media
Mr Mondli Makhanya, Group Editor in Chief and Ms Puleng Namane, Human Resources, AVUSA Media presented the briefing to the Committee (see attached document).

The business of AVUSA involved printed and digital media, entertainment, books and retail solutions.  The company’s own titles and the titles under a joint venture with the BDFM Group were listed.  Further information and data were given for the major titles and a map illustrated the distribution of the company’s newspaper titles in the provinces.

AVUSA was rated as a Level 3 BEE Contributor with a score of 77.15.  Details were provided of the changes in racial and gender demographics of the ownership, Board membership and senior management of AVUSA since 1994.  A list of current Board members and senior management personnel was included.  Further information on the BEE scorecard criteria was provided.  AVUSA promoted language diversity. Initiatives included the launching of a Zulu edition of the Sunday Times in November 2011 and the publishing of 1,650,000 story books in all 11 official languages, which was distributed free of charge to schools across the country.

AVUSA aimed to improve the representation of black females and persons with disabilities at all levels in the organisation.

Comment by Prof Jane Duncan, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University
Prof Jane Duncan, Highway Chair of Media and Information Society, School of Journalism and Media Studies, Rhodes University provided comment on the presentations that were made to the Committee during the proceedings.  She restricted her observations to the scorecard performance of the media organisations.   The advantages and disadvantages of a charter approach to transformation of the industry and the need for a clear definition of transformation were issues that required further debate.

AVUSA had the best scorecard performance, achieving a Level 3 rating.  The other companies were rated at Level 4 or 5.  The overall performance indicated that the industry was lagging behind in achieving the national transformation objectives.  The scores achieved for internal management transformation were generally lower than the scores for enterprise development and CSI initiatives.  M&G was the best performer in the area of skills development.  Media24 had acknowledged that expenditure on training and development was reduced because of economic pressure.  She felt that the decision taken by Media24 had been unwise and would have a continued negative impact on the company. 

She acknowledged that the print media was under financial pressure and noted that black ownership of media companies had declined over the previous decade.  The increased investment in investigative journalism had resulted in higher standards.  The media sector had been subjected to criticism for its lack of transformation.  The print media sector in particular risked losing political credibility if it continued to remain out of step with the national transformation agenda.  The leadership of the industry had failed to effectively address the issue during the period of prosperity prior to 2008.  The sector was currently struggling financially as a result of the global economic downturn.  The lack of transformation should not be used as an argument for curtailing media freedom.

Comment by Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA)
Mr Lumko Mtimde, Chief Executive Officer, MDDA noted that all the companies had stated their commitment to transformation and diversification.  However, challenges remained.  The increase in black leadership of media companies had not been satisfactory.  An increase in investment in skills development was a business imperative.  Few training courses were presented in indigenous languages.

The issue of the definition of community media needed to be resolved.  The definition in terms of the MDDA Act excluded the community newspapers owned by Caxton.  The issue of cross-ownership of media companies should be probed.  It was necessary to define what was meant by “media diversity” as the issue went beyond the content of publications.  It was not clear who owned the print media companies.  AVUSA had not provided information on the extent of black ownership of the organisation.

A lot of work needed to be done and he urged all the stakeholders to work together to find solutions to the challenges.  It was necessary to understand the entire media value chain when assessing the rate of transformation of the sector.

Mr C Kekana (ANC) noted that the presenters had claimed that much progress had been made in transforming the industry since 1994 but felt that not enough had been done.  He disagreed that the free market system benefited society.  He asked why certain ‘transformed’ media companies were not reporting on the incidences of fraud and corruption that involved billions of Rands.  He said that the print media was reluctant to apologise when mistakes were made and was averse to criticism.

Mr N Van den Berg (DA) said that the Committee needed to acknowledge the progress that had been made since 1994.  He was of the opinion that the sector had in fact made much progress.  Print media companies were no longer only concerned with reporting the news but were becoming involved in education and had instituted various CSI initiatives that benefited communities.  He mentioned “Die Beeld Kinderfonds”, which raised funds for children’s homes.  He asked what the ultimate transformation goal was for the ‘big five’ media companies before the African National Congress (ANC) would be satisfied or if the issue of transformation would be a ‘never-ending story’.

Ms W Newhoudt-Druchen (ANC) asked Media24 to clarify what was meant by the intention to engage with the MDDA.  She asked INL to clarify the ownership of the company.  Little information was provided on the number of persons with disabilities.  No mention was made of the Cape Times’ seaside home initiative.  She wanted to know how the companies supported job creation in the distribution industry.  She asked Caxton and AVUSA to provide a detailed breakdown of the race and gender of personnel as well as the number of disabled employees.  She asked Prof Duncan to forward a copy of her documented comments to her via e-mail.

Mr J Killian (COPE) asked what monitoring and evaluation tools were used to assess the transformation and diversity business models of media companies.  She wanted to know more about what had been done to transform and diversify the content of publications, which publications were distributed free of charge, what choices were available to consumers and what had been done to ensure that the products reached a broader section of society.  The CSI initiatives and training programmes would boost the rate of transformation but she would like to know what the impact of these programmes was on society.  She asked what the role was of the community media newspapers.  She referred to a popular local paper in the Vaal Triangle that addressed the needs of the local community and that had been bought out by Naspers.  She asked how profitable such community publications were.  The movement of shareholdings was part of the economic scenario.  She asked what the impact was of changes in shareholding on content and the target audience of media companies.  She asked what drove the business models of media companies.  She said that the Committee could provide guidance but could not direct privately owned organisations.

Ms A van Wyk (ANC) acknowledged that the issue of diversity of the media affected more than ownership.  The briefings had omitted clear targets to improve the BEE scorecard scores in the following year.  The briefing by Caxton had lacked detail.  The Committee would be reassured that the organisations were serious about transformation if measurable targets were set.  If transformation targets were not voluntarily set, the ANC would impose targets.  She wondered if change was being driven internally or if the companies were reacting to political pressure.  She warned that companies that failed to transform would be left behind.  There was a need to balance the transformation objectives and to provide society with what was wanted.

Ms F Muthambi (ANC) shared the concerns raised by Prof Duncan.  She commended AVUSA for its good performance and for distributing newspapers to schools free of charge.  She asked for a breakdown of trainees by gender and race.  She noted the publication of the Sunday Times in isiZulu but more publication in the other indigenous languages were required.   She noted that none of the delegates from Media24 were black.  She asked if Media24 had a presence in the provinces other than the Western Cape.  She asked for further information on INL’s CSI initiatives.  She asked Caxton to clarify the statement that black ownership of the media had declined in the previous decade.

Ms R Moratua (ANC) complained that her newspaper was delivered late.  She asked AVUSA to clarify to what was being done to achieve gender equity targets.  She asked how many disabled persons were employed and if persons with disabilities were only employed in call centres.  She asked how newspaper delivery staff was recruited.  She suggested that the Committee provided guidance to the companies on the required format of presentations.  She said that rural communities had complained about the lack of ownership and employment opportunities in community media organisations.

The Chairperson asked if the definition of community media in the MDDA Act could be applied to the community publications owned by companies such as Caxton.  He queried the meaning of ‘diversity’ and was not sure if the concept referred to a diversity of language or views.  The print media subscribed to the BEE Codes of Practice and did not have a BEE Charter as was the case in other sectors.  Transformation was not merely about replacing white faces with black faces but played a role in the product that was being delivered by the sector.  Transformation needed to be thoroughly conceptualised and properly measured.

Ms Namane undertook to provide the Committee with more detail of AVUSA’s ownership and joint venture involvement.  The company was in the process of developing a strategy for increasing the number of disabled employees, which included educating able-bodied staff.  Currently 8 black female interns were undergoing training and would be deployed to the company’s Port Elizabeth production hub.  The assessment by the Department of Labour had found that there were too few black females in management positions and the company was using natural attrition to fill vacancies with black female candidates.  She agreed that persons with disabilities should not be limited to employment in call centres.  The company was determining which other positions could be performed by persons with disabilities as part of the strategic plan exercise.  AVUSA currently employed three persons with disabilities.

Mr Makhanya said that AVUSA currently trained 10 to 15 cadets per annum.  The cadets were offered employment once their training was completed.  Many trainees had performed well and had transferred to other newspapers or careers.  It was necessary to be realistic about the costs involved in producing publications in all the official languages.  AVUSA had found that there was a great need for publications in isiZulu.  These publications had been a success and the company was considering more publications in the other languages.  He accused the MDDA of being cynical about the issue of ownership of the media.  The sector was fully aware of the need for change but it was not helpful if the progress that had been made was not acknowledged.  He agreed that it was necessary to set clear targets, that proper monitoring and evaluation of the progress that was being made was conducted and that all the stakeholders in the sector worked together.

Ms Weideman disagreed with Mr Kekana’s observation that the press was reluctant to apologise for mistakes made and was averse to criticism.  The print media was bound by a code of practice and accountable to the press ombudsman.  There had been significant changes to the standard of apologies, which was acknowledged by Deputy President Motlanthe.  Media24 would be engaging with MDDA and AIP directly to address the various issues and with the aim of forming private/public partnerships (PPP’s) for training and other commercial ventures.  With regard to the monitoring and evaluation of transformation and diversity, she was of the opinion that all aspects of the print media sector had to be taken into consideration.  There was a great deal of product variety available in South Africa.  The various newspapers and magazines catered for a wide market.  The principle of supply and demand applied and publishers had to ensure that their products delivered what the readers wanted.  More detailed information on the company’s transformation targets would be made available to the Committee.  The targets were included in the performance contracts of the senior management of Media24.  She agreed with Prof Duncan that not enough progress had been made to date.  However, Media24 was committed to meeting the targets that had been set.  The company’s operations were not limited to the Western Cape province.  Diversity was not limited to replacing white males with black males but involved product diversity and catering for the wider market as well.  Media24 had invested substantial amounts of funds in widening its market and expanding product content.

Mr Howard explained that the majority shareholder of INL was Independent News Media PLC, an Irish company that was listed on the Irish and London Stock Exchanges.  A South African fund manager held shares in the company.  CSI initiatives included the Star Seaside Home in Durban, the Mercury facility in Hibberdene and the Cape Times Fresh Air Fund.  In addition, INL had a bursary fund and an education fund that made donations to schools.  The company supported the Community Chest and Operation Snowball community charity organisations in Johannesburg.  Other initiatives included a Christmas hamper project and the milk fund to provide milk for school children in KwaZulu Natal.  The distribution of INL’s print products was franchised and the company had assisted employees to set up their own distribution businesses.  Transformation and diversity extended beyond language and the definitions should take account of the communities and target markets served by a media company’s products.  The company had set transformation targets and hoped to improve its rating to Level 4.  Currently the industry applied the DTI’s codex.  He would like to hear more of Prof Duncan’s ideas on a BEE charter for the industry as the issue required further debate.

Mr Karjieker advised that the issue of a BEE Charter for the print media sector was on the agenda of Print Media South Africa (PMSA) and would be discussed at the next session of the organisation (of which he is the President).  The discussion would include the setting of transformation targets.

Mr Jenkins advised that 66% of Caxton’s 5,500 employees were black.  52% of senior management personnel were black males.  2,600 staff members were female.  Three out of the seven senior management personnel were black and one was a white woman.  The demographics of the personnel at the lower levels could be made available to the Committee.  Caxton owned or had interests in 160 local or regional community publications, of which five or six were joint ventures.  The company had minority stakes in several black-owned organisations, for which start-up funding was provided.  The company aimed to improve its BEE rating to Level 4 or 3.  Once the litigation involving the shareholding in the company was settled, the block of shares could be made available to black investors.  Less than 1% of employees were disabled, which he agreed was a low percentage.  The definition of community media in the MDDA Act excluded privately-owned local and regional publications aimed at communities.  Most publications were distributed free of charge and were funded by advertising revenue.  The definition of diversity covered a wide range of media products and required further debate.  The growth of television had a significant negative impact on the press sector and the role of advertisers needed to be taken into consideration as well.

Prof Duncan undertook to document her comments and forward it to the Members of the Committee.  She referred to the statement issued after the September Indaba, which included the criteria for successful transformation, ownership, product and content.  The establishment of a charter was a time-consuming process, which could take up to six years.  In her experience, the process could be fractious, with many disagreements on the issue of ownership, resistance by the industry and including more targets than necessary.  The media sector was currently in a vulnerable financial situation, which did not encourage investors.  A charter should include clear targets, develop a transformation vision for the industry, be inspirational and promote a broader application of transformation that went beyond the BEE code of practice.  She disagreed that specific monitoring and evaluation tools should be forced on the media process.  She suggested that the inclusion of additional elements was considered (for example, the financial services BEE charter included an eighth element).  She urged the Committee to resist setting quotas for under-represented groups, which could have undesirable consequences and should be avoided at all cost.  There was currently a lack of monitoring and evaluation tools to assess transformation and diversity.  She suggested that the Committee considered holding separate hearings on the issue of concentration of ownership of the media, which was currently under much discussion internationally.  It was necessary to determine what an acceptable level of transformation and diversity would be.

Mr Mtimde agreed with Prof Duncan’s comments concerning the establishment of a BEE charter for the industry.  He suggested that the stakeholders committed to a programme to establish the charter and started to work on it.  He acknowledged that some progress on transformation had been made but that more needed to be done.  The MDDA was engaging with Caxton on the issue of the definition of community media in the MDDA Act.

Mr Thabo Mahapa, Member of the MDDA Board agreed that progress had been made but felt that the rate of transformation by organisations varied.  Transformation involved ownership, product range and content.  There were more publications catering for wider sectors of society and in more languages but not enough progress had been made in transferring ownership to black South Africans.  It was not clear whether the scores on the BEE scorecards were the ceiling or the floor and what the impact of the scorecard was on the organisation.

Ms Newhoudt-Druchen observed that she had recently attended two international conferences on the disabled, which had received little media coverage because the subject was not considered to be newsworthy.  The media sector had done very little to promote the interests of the disabled community.  South Africa would be ratifying the United Nations convention on the disabled, which included a definition of disability.  Persons with disabilities could perform many different types of functions and their needs in the workplace needed to be catered for.  Charges against the industry had been laid at the Competition Commission.  It was essential that community media remained in business and effectively serviced the community.  She wanted to know what was being done to keep community media functional and to prevent these organisations from being bought out by large media companies.

Mr Jenkins noted the matters that were discussed at the Indaba.  Caxton was not interested in acquiring community media organisations as defined in the MDDA Act.  Caxton was happy to support these organisations and to work closely with the MDDA.

The Chairperson asked when the Committee could expect to receive the transformation targets that had been set.  The delegates agreed to submit their transformation targets to the Committee before the end of November 2011.  The Committee required the print media industry to present briefings on the strategic plans on an annual basis in future.  The Committee was responsible for conducting oversight over the advertising industry.  The issue of spreading government expenditure to the community media would have far-reaching consequences and it was necessary for a clear understanding of the definition of community media.  The Committee was aware that the South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) was unable to conduct sufficient research because of a lack of funding.  It was difficult to obtain correct circulation data and the organisation was losing credibility with advertisers as the statistics were disputed.  The MDDA would be consulting with stakeholders on the issue of a BEE charter for the media sector.  He expected that progress would have been made by the 2012 Indaba and suggested that engagement on the issue commenced as soon as possible.  The Committee had gained more understanding of the media sector and accepted the commitment that had been made by the industry to transformation.

South African Post Office Society Ltd Bill [B2B-2011]
The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) had referred the Bill back to the Committee and requested the following amendments:

Clause 18: on page 11, in line 26, to omit “concurrence” and to substitute “approval”.
Clause 22: on page 12, in line 52, to omit “the National Assembly” and to substitute “Parliament”.
Clause 25: on page 13, in line 57, to omit “the National Assembly” and to substitute “Parliament”.
Clause 29: on page 15, in line 17, to omit “the National Assembly” and to substitute “Parliament”.

The Chairperson had referred the NCOP amendments to the Parliamentary Law Adviser and a copy of the legal opinion would be circulated to Members for consideration.

Committee Report on the nomination of candidates for the vacant positions on the Board of the Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA)
The Chairperson read the Committee report on the nomination of candidates for two vacant positions on the MDDA Board.  Nine short-listed candidates were interviewed by the Committee’s task team on 9 November 2011.

Mr Van den Berg nominated Mr Phenyo Nonqane and Ms Rene Alicia Smith to be appointed to the MDDA Board.  Ms Van Wyk supported the nominees.

The Chairperson advised that the term of office of Presidential appointee Ms Ingrid Louw had been extended.

The meeting was adjourned.


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