PRESS RELEASE

Independent Media is proud to announce two new editorial appointments as part of its ongoing revitalisation and transformation of its newsrooms.

Veteran journalist Steve Motale, 52, has returned to Independent Media, to take over the editorship of The Sunday Independent. Motale is a former executive editor of the Pretoria News, which is part of the Independent Media stable. Motale left Independent just prior to Sekunjalo’s acquisition of Independent Media was consolidated, as he was headhunted by The Citizen to become its editor. He went on to edit The Citizen for three years.

Executive Chairman of Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé said that Motale has come back home to Independent.

“His appointment is aligned with our approach to transformation at senior editorial and executive level and supports our objective of pursuing black excellence in the media space. Mr Motale brings great diversity to our Gauteng publications where our readers can find contested views and opinions in our various titles including The Star, Sunday Independent, Saturday Star, Pretoria News and Isolezwe (Gauteng), as well as African Independent.

We are proud that our group emphasises a diversity of opinions, accuracy in reporting and fairness and has taken a non-partisan approach to political issues in the country. Independent’s titles as a whole are showing an increase in circulation and this can be attributed to readers increasingly trusting our balanced and diversified editorial viewpoints. Mr Motale’s appointment strengthens that diversity in our editorial appointments with our 24 titles and over 10 million daily readers online and in print.

I am pleased to welcome Steve back home.  I have every confidence in his ability to grow Sunday Independent’s niche readership base – both in print and online.  I wish him success with this exciting new challenge.”

Born and bred in the Free State, Motale matriculated in Kroonstad and qualified as a high school teacher, spending 16 years in the classroom before moving to journalism on a local community paper in Klerksdorp. Over and above qualifications in teaching and communication, Motale is a graduate of Wits University’s Management Advancement Programme. He is married with two children.

“It feels like a homecoming,” he said, “I’m very excited about the opportunity. The Sunday Independent is an iconic brand with huge potential and I look forward to taking it to where it belongs.”

Krisendra “Krissy” Bissety, has been promoted to the position of Editor of Post, Independent Media’s niche weekly publication for the Indian community in Kwazulu-Natal.

Bissety is a seasoned journalist who has spent 15 years in various roles at Independent titles, most recently as acting editor of the Post since November 2016.  In this position, Bissety is helping to steer the 62-year-old title into a national publication, circulating in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.

“I am greatly honoured to be given this opportunity to enhance the Post’s status as South Africa’s number one news brand around the Indian cultural identity. We want to showcase the successes of this community, cover its trials and tribulations, help preserve its heritage and culture and build bridges with other communities,” said Bissety.

He added that he is fully committed to executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé’s vision, and Independent’s mission, to lead the new media revolution.

“Steve and Krissy are both respected journalists who work with integrity and flair.  I have no doubt that their contribution to the quality of their publications will enhance the experience of both its readers and advertisers. I wish them and their respective teams every success,” said Dr Survé. 

Today it was revealed that Manuel Rodrigues, a blind child rights activist from Guinea-Bissau, has been selected to receive the child rights award, The World’s Children’s Prize (WCP), often called the ‘Children’s Nobel Prize’ by the global media. This is the result of the Global Vote, by millions of children around the world. Manuel was honoured in recognition of his work for children with disabilities, who face being kept hidden or abandoned to die.

Since the launch in 2000, a total of 40,6 million children have participated in the World’s Children’s Prize programme, the world’s largest annual educational initiative for children on rights and democracy.

Two other child rights activists, 90-year-old Rosi Gollmann, from Germany, and Molly Melching, from the USA and Senegal, are also being honoured today. Rosi Gollman’s work includes rescuing tens of thousands of girls in India from being killed at birth, and Molly Melching has led pioneering initiatives to tackle female genital cutting and child marriage in West Africa. Both receive the World’s Children’s Honorary Award.

Previous prize laureates include the children’s Decade Child Rights Heroes Graça Machel and Nelson Mandela, Ann Skelton, Hector Pieterson and Nkosi Johnson (the latter two, posthumously).

 Today, Åsa Regnér, Sweden’s Minister for Children, became a new patron. Others who have shown their support for the WCP by becoming patrons include the late Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven.

In Guinea-Bissau, it is hard for children with disabilities to go to school. Many have been kept hidden away, or abandoned to die. Through Manuel’s work, however, both attitudes and legislation are changing rapidly, so that children with different abilities can grow up in safety, attend school, and have a good life.

Manuel was one of the three nominees for the award, nominated by a child jury whose members are experts on the rights of the child, through their own life experiences as refugees, slaves and soldiers, amongst others.

Prize laureates honoured in Sweden

All three nominees for the award were honoured at a ceremony today at Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred, Sweden, where children from 15 countries were assisted by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden in presenting the prizes. The prize money, totalling SEK 700,000, is split between this year’s child rights hero (SEK 350,000) and the two honorary award laureates (SEK 175,000 each) and is to go towards the prize laureates’ work with children.

Abatsha, a young band from Cape Town, South Africa, played at the WCP Ceremony. Five of the band members are pupils at Chris Hani Secondary School in Khayelitsha, where the World’s Children’s Prize programme is implemented annually, and where the band members and other pupils are trained as WCP Child Rights Ambassadors. Band members are: Simbongile Sam, Zintle Kati, Aerin Van den Bergh, Deaviah Moodley, Vuyisani Mkwambi, Athenkosi Halu, Bonga Hatana and Clayton Seas.

 More info and press photos at worldschildrensprize.org/media

 Empowering vulnerable children

The majority of the millions of children who participate in the programme live in countries affected by poverty and conflict, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and Zimbabwe. Through the WCP programme, they have learned that they have rights and have been able to make their voices heard, many for the first time.

The WCP is supported by almost 70,000 schools in 115 countries, and by over 750 organisations, institutions and departments of education. Since the launch of the programme, half a million teachers have been trained to teach their pupils about children’s rights and democracy in their schools.

Global legends as patrons

Many public figures have shown their support for the WCP by becoming patrons, including the late Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden, and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Today, the Swedish Minister for Children, Åsa Regnér, became a new patron. South African patrons also include the late Ahmed Kathrada, Dr Iqbal Survé and the singer, Vusi ‘The Voice’ Mahlasela.

We are behind the World’s Children’s Prize
The World’s Children’s Prize Foundation (WCPF) is supported by donors including the Swedish Postcode Lottery, Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), Forum Syd, Julia & Hans Rausing Trust, Care about the Children (H.M. Queen Silvia’s foundation) and the Survé Family Foundation (part of Survé Philanthropies).

Contact in South Africa

Marlene Winberg: marlene.winberg@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. 083 392 5153

Contact in Sweden
Carmilla Floyd: carmilla.floyd@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. +46-709-507407

Magnus Bergmar: magnus.bergmar@worldschildrensprize.org Tel. +46-705-155839

More information and press images at worldschildrensprize.org/media-room

PRESS RELEASE

The Executive Chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings and Independent Media, Dr Iqbal Survé, is pleased to announce the appointment of Howard Plaatjes as Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Independent Media.

Plaatjes, who currently holds the position of Group Executive: Trading Performance and Operations, joined Independent Media in August 2013.  During this time, he was responsible for overseeing the alignment of the company’s printing, distribution and circulation operations with a focus on optimizing efficiencies and cost saving.  Plaatjes was also responsible for establishing and monitoring performance reporting systems and participated in the development and co-ordination of operating budgets and strategic plans.

“In the evolving media environment, Howard’s penchant for risk assessment and building turnaround strategies is going to be critical to ensure that Independent Media achieves its growth strategy.  I have every confidence in Howard and wish him success with his new portfolio,” said Dr Survé.

Commenting on his promotion, Plaatjes said that he was inspired and encouraged by the entrepreneurial approach and strategy of Independent Media.  “I look forward to working with the experienced team members as well as the energy of the many talented young people who have joined our organization over the past 18 months.  Together we will work towards transforming Independent Media into the leading content provider on the Continent,” said Plaatjes.

Recently, Plaatjes was at the helm of Independent Media’s redesign process and the implementation of the company’s new business strategy which started in mid-2016. This process has culminated in the expansion of Independent Media’s operations to include specialized content business units for lifestyle, sports, business and politics.

Plaatjes has been a senior transformation and business performance turnaround specialist for over 25 years with experience in several sectors including telecommunication, retail, financial services, media, FMCG, online and oil and gas.

Ends.