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Newsmaker of the Year

At a breakfast hosted in conjunction with the Wits Business School (WBS) this morning, the Johannesburg Press Club (JPC) formally handed over its Newsmaker of the Year Trophy to the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela. The Award was made to her and the Office of the Public Protector at the end of 2012 but, today, was the first opportunity in the past year that it formally could be handed over.

Mixael de Kock, Chairman of Johannesburg Press Club (JPC) said that the time could not have been more opportune as at the end of 2012 the club’s members again had nominated Advocate Madonsela and the members of her team for the same award. “In the history of the Johannesburg Press Club, it had happened only twice that members repeated the nomination for an individual or institution in two consecutive years. The first was President Nelson Mandela and at the end of 2012, Advocate Thuli Madonsela and her team.”

Thuli Madonsela Jhb Press Club April 2013 059
The Public Protector, Advocate Thulisile Madonsela, Mixael de Kock, Chairman of the Johannesburg Press Club and Amina Frense the Deputy Chair with the Newsmaker of the Year Award 2011.

In accepting the award Advocate Madonsela said that she was both humbled and honoured to address the gathering attended by over three hundred guests. “The media and academic community are important stakeholders in the work of the Public Protector South Africa’s office. I would like to thank the Johannesburg Press Club and the Wits Business School for the opportunity it has given me this morning to highlight the role of active citizens in being key to good corporate governance.”

“The contribution of the media and the academic community in promoting public dialogue on the place and role of my office in our democracy, as well as specific activities, including the dissemination and evaluation of reports, can never be over-emphasised.”

In her address the Public Protector pointed out that most acts of corruption and other wrongdoing in the exercise of state power are being arrested because of good women and man who do something when they see wrongdoing. “Some have done so at the cost of their jobs and a few, their lives. It is for this reason that as one of the guardians of the Protected Disclosures Act and the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt activities Act, we have persistently called for the strengthening of whistle-blower protection.”

In illustrating ways in which ordinary citizens could address injustices Adv Madanosela said, “Many citizens and residents already work with my office in the pursuit of good governance and in the process, the strengthening of constitutional democracy. Some take their concerns to the media with many of these ending up as subject of complaints lodged with my office.”

“There can be no true peace anywhere as long as there is injustice somewhere. Whether we like it or not, our destiny is a shared destiny. Can you imagine what would happen if we were to stop pointing fingers and identify our respective roles in causing the maladministration and corruption as well as our roles in helping the country resolve these problems?

She concluded her address by saying that the future of our country lies in the hands of each and every single one of us. “We are co-architects of our democracy and the captains of our destiny.”

Professor Wendy Ngoma, Director and Head of the Wits Business School pointed out how important it was for a graduate school of business to interact with the media and to support the processes of open two-way communication. “All good business is dependent on an uninterrupted flow of accurate communication and, therefore, it is appropriate for our school to promote close relationships with the various activities and members of the Johannesburg Press Club. Wits Business School is in particular proud of its association with today’s award ceremony to honour Adv Madonsela.”

Mixael de Kock said that the Johannesburg Press Club’s annual award was not solely based on how much news a nominee generated during the year but also on the manner in which the news was generated and, to what extent the country benefitted from such news.

In handing over the award he concluded: “The prize you are receiving here today, Advocate Madonsela, is made of rare yellow wood: An indigenous wood of great rarity, of an exquisite colour and known for its hardness and lasting qualities. It reflects more than adequately the virtues that you and your team display every day of your working lives and it thus gives me great pleasure to hand to you and your staff this very historic, meaningful and significant trophy.”

Johannesburg, Thursday, 25th April 2013

More information

  1. In 1994 former President Mandela received Newsmaker of the Year, with Deputy President F W de Klerk, from the Johannesburg Press Club on May 25. the late Prof Kader Asmal received the award on September 29th that year. In 2001 he then received from the club the Newsmaker of the Decade, an award not yet given to any other person since then.

  2. The 2011 Award was made jointly to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and the Public Protector, Advocate Thulisile Madonsela. Archbishop Tutu received the award for being the most quoted social commentator and critic as well as Census 2011 ambassador, for his continuing moral leadership and, in particular, for his courage in addressing the issues around the Dalai Lama incident that year.

    Adv Madonsela was honoured for her unfailing, direct and courageous challenging of immoral activities, her particular work ethic and her commitment to leading the Public Protector of South Africa’s office. She was particularly lauded for her ongoing maintenance of cordial and positive working relationships with the media.

  3. The Johannesburg Press Club Newsmaker of the Year has become a sought-after award and the club’s members are called upon to nominate candidates.

Download Speech by Dr Mixael de Kock at Thuli Madonsela Newsmaker of the Year Event - 25th April 2013

Download Speech Thuli Madonsela at JPC Newsmaker Function

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