21 August 2017
Minister of Communications in South Africa, Ms Ayanda Dlodlo
Members of the SADC Secretariat
National Adjudication Committee members (NAC)
Regional winners of the SADC Media Awards Competition 2017
Regional winners of the SADC Schools Essay Competition.
Members of the media from SADC countries
Distinguished guests including some of our overall winners:
Mr Aristides Kito Alfonso Jorge from Angola, Mr Gaseitsiwe Moruakgomo from Botswana, Mr Patson Phiri from Zambia, Mr Msibi Nkosini Samuel and Mr Dennis Tshetlhane from South Africa.
Tonight is the occasion where the SADC Region and all 15 Member States celebrate the winners of the SADC Media Awards Competition – on the side-lines of the 37th SADC Summit, which ended earlier today under the theme: “Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”. I am not going to make my opening remarks a long speech. We are here to celebrate our winners.
As a country we are honoured to be the current chair for SADC especially in this its Silver Jubilee year. Our commitment to the SADC agenda is unwavering and the practical roadmap outlined at the close of the Summit by our heads of State today, a golden communication opportunity for the collective of public communicators in this region. Indeed, SADC has moved from institutionalisation and building its mechanism, to delivering a programme to radically unlock the potential for employment and growth.
The theme of the SADC Summit is relevant – as we strengthen the partnership with media. It is our conviction that media have a huge role with government communicators to popularise the work that all SADC states are implementing.
We have always advocated for free media as a country. Press freedom is one of the guarantees enshrined in the Constitution. An open and free press is a characteristic of democracy and is vital for shaping the public narrative and creating an informed citizenry. South Africa’s system of democracy, openness and accountability strengthens the media’s contribution towards moving the country forward by shaping public narrative, creating an informed citizenry, and strengthening democracy.
We have always encouraged our media to tell positive Africa stories whenever they find them. The industrialisation programme is a massive positive SADC story that is boosting the economic and regional development and has much potential to better the lives of regional citizens. Please join us in telling this story in more colour and detail.
The SADC region like the rest of the world is industrialising. South Africa has launched its own Black Industrialists Development Programme in August last year which is aimed at creating more than 100 black industrialists within three years and put black industrialists at the forefront of South Africa’s industrialisation efforts.
The programme promotes the participation of black industrialists as manufacturers for the key sectors identified in the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) as well as other sectors driving economic growth and development.
The industralisation programme is one of many projects that are currently being implemented in the SADC Region. Media are invited to help build the story of how SADC is industrialising.
SADC leaders have, at the highest level, committed SADC to facilitate popular participation of the peoples of this region by putting in place mechanisms to facilitate and enable the citizens of the region to become the driving agents of regional integration. All members states are expected to implemented the SADC communications strategy.
The SADC communications strategy seeks to reposition SADC communications. As Member States we have the daunting task of affording the people of the SADC Region the opportunity to become architects of their destiny through communication and information flow.
The SADC Media Awards Competition was established with a view to promoting regional integration through information dissemination as well as promoting journalism excellence in the SADC region. 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. We encourage all journalists in the SADC region to continue to cover stories that promote regional integration.
As I conclude, let me state that African stories need to be told by Africans. And the time to do that is now.
I thank you.