27 Jan 2017
Address by Communications Minister, Ms Faith Muthambi on the occasion of the MDDA Stakeholders Engagement Breakfast held at the Pavilion - Emoyeni Conference Venue Parktown, Gauteng Province On 27 January
Member of the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications, Hon. Gungubele
Chairperson Of MDDA Board, Ms Phelisa Nkomo and other Board Members
Chief Executive Officer, Mr Themba Dlamini and the Management Team
Training Partners: Seda and Sasta
Community TV Representatives
Social Integration Project Representatives
Our Entities: SABC, Icasa, FPB and Brand SA
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am honoured today to introduce to you Mr Themba TC Dlamini as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA). Taking a leaf out of his curriculum vitae (CV), there is no doubt that Mr Dlamini comes from a strong corporate world and this is balanced by a wealth of experience in the public sector especially at senior executive levels.
Mr Dlamini’ s previous roles includes Managing Director at the Black Management Forum, Chief Executive Officer for the National Gambling Board, the Independent Communications Authority (ICASA) and the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA).
To this end, to us he understands the difficult mandate of our State Owned Companies (SOCs) which is to balance commercial and redress roles. The defining characteristic of an SOE, therefore, is that it has a distinct legal form in terms of the Companies Act, 2008 which means that it, therefore, operates as any other business, although with the sole purpose of implementing government policy in its business dealing.
We are also aware that South Africa finds itself in an interesting position where it receives international recognition for its high standards of corporate governance, while at the same time, locally, there are persistent corporate government and maladministration in some of the SOCs.
Mr Dlamini’ s role and involvement in the current National Planning Commission will help us as the Communications portfolio, to successfully implement Chapter 15 of the National Development Plan which relates to Social Cohesion and Nation building, through the provisioning and nurturing of information platforms that are relevant to the issues that affect our society at community levels.
You don’t need any reminding that the role of the CEO is to enable people to excel, help them discover their own wisdom, engage themselves entirely in their work, and accept responsibility for making change. We are aware of the daunting challenges that lie ahead as the MDDA faces a number of issues ranging from the funding model, the unfavourable legislative regime which requires amending, to the demand of its services by our communities.
I would like to thank the Board, management, staff members, and all those who have steered the ship until a permanent CEO was found.
Mr Dlamini, the objective of the MDDA is to ensure that all citizens can access information in a language of their choice and to transform media access, ownership and control patterns in South Africa.
This is a huge mandate for us, we want stories of women in rural areas and the vulnerable groups to find expression in these media projects you fund.
We want to have a series of emerging entrepreneurs mainly the youth, women and people with disabilities to bring about diversity and multiplicity of views in the sector.
Mr Dlamini, you are coming from a regulatory environment, where you used to decide on the fate of community’s media aspirations by either approving or not approving their broadcasting licence applications. Today you are at the MDDA, a statutory body whose objective is to provide access to the media information for all South Africans, and to promote media development and diversity.
Without having to bore you with the details, it is important to reiterate the point, Mr Dlamini, the objective of the MDDA is promote development and diversity in the country’s media (in all provinces and municipalities irrespective of the commercial viability of the area where these potential or existing media projects operate) consistent with the right to freedom of expression as per section 16(1) of the Constitution.
On the other hand, governance focuses on performance and conformance, and that it is different from management. Over the years, the MDDA had consistently achieved clean audits and there have also been some challenges which must be urgently attend to so that the MDDA becomes the MDDA of ‘yesteryear’ in its governance but at the same time, it has to prepare for the era of broadband and how it provides services to communities whose profiles through migration and other factors, are themselves in constant transformation.
The MDDA since inception has promoted all forms of mass communication, including radio, television, e-media and other communications platforms, and primarily funded communication in marginalised languages.
Last year on 24-25 August, I hosted the Media Transformation Colloquium at the Freedom Park and we received substantive inputs from all industry stakeholders.
The feedback from the various Commissions were quite vivid that transformation of existing platforms has not started to take a giant leap step forward in South Africa. The four largest print media companies, Independent, Caxton, Media24 and the Times media Group are still owning all the major newspapers. I would like the Board of the MDDA and the CEO to look into the issue of inadequate funding from the mainstream print media houses.
There is therefore a need for broader public mobilisation around the role of the community media and the abuse of market dominance or predator behavior by the ‘knock-and-drop’ publications which are printed by these conglomerates to dislodge competition from the existing community media projects.
We view this action as a threat intended to roll back the transformation agenda in the newsrooms and an attempt to stifle the growth of Community newspaper titles. I also know that there are those who are neither accountable nor transparent to the community structures for the support they have received, where there are Annual General Meetings (AGM) a proposal on how to deal with such beneficiaries is needed.
As your CV is decorated with all these glowing achievements and initiatives the MDDA has high expectations from you too. You need to raise the staff morale higher, build an excellent team, and fill vacant positions with competent and skilled people, timeous submissions of Reports, addressing the concerns raised by the Office of the Auditor-General and providing technical support to the Department and Ministry
In closing, Mr Dlamini, theMDDA has been tasked with providing financial and non-financial support to community and small commercial media projects throughout the country.
The MDDA has to be the supporting pillar on which the media can play its critical role in aiding good governance, transparency and accountability. Hence, a pluralistic and free media sector is needed to ensure that all voices in society are heard. Without a wide array of information, people’s opinions and views would be limited and their impressions and conclusions of the world around them stunted. Who knows if you have not come into the MDDA for such a time as this?
I believe that you will help us build vibrant and sustainable communication services for an informed citizenry and a positive image of South Africa.Today we want you to get married to the Media Development and Diversity Agency so that your newly found slogan should read: “My Dedication Determines my Altitude” - MDDA.
I thank you