Changes in SA's newspaper industry

By Drum Digital
18 April 2013

There have been a number of new appointments and changes in South Africa's newspaper industry recently.

The latest was the appointment of Rachel Jafta as Media24 board chairwoman.

Jafta is the first woman and first black woman to chair Media24. She has been a board member since 2007. She succeeds Prof Jakes Gerwel, who died in November.

BDFM publisher and editor-in-chief Peter Bruce on Wednesday announced new appointments at the Financial Mail.

Tim Cohen and Ron Derby were appointed editor and deputy editor respectively.

On Monday it was announced the Times Group Media (TMG) reached an agreement with Pearson Overseas Holdings to acquire Pearson's 50 percent shareholding in BDFM Publishers.

According to Business Day, the deal was struck through its subsidiary Avusa Publishing Proprietary Limited. The acquisition would mean Avusa Publishing would be BDFM's sole shareholder.

There have also been changes at the country's largest English newspaper group, Independent Newspapers.

Earlier this month a local consortium announced it had signed an agreement to buy Independent Newspapers and Media SA (INM SA) from its international owner.

The Sekunjalo consortium signed a binding agreement with Irish-based parent company INM to buy INM SA's entire issued share capital for R2 billion.

The final handover is still subject to certain conditions, including approval by the SA Reserve Bank and Competition Commission.

INM SA publishes 18 newspapers, including The Star, Pretoria News, Cape Argus, Cape Times, Isolezwe, The Mercury, The Daily Voice, and various community titles.

The Sekunjalo consortium is part of a larger group of South African companies involved in investments and fund management.

Chris Whitfield, editor-in-chief of the Cape Times, Cape Argus, Weekend Argus, and Daily Voice confirmed on Thursday that Cape Argus executive editor Gasant Abarder was leaving the paper.

Abarder was moving to Primedia where he would be head of news in the Western Cape. He became executive editor in 2009 after being deputy editor of the Daily Voice.

In February Sunday Times editor Ray Hartley was replaced by Phylicia Oppelt, the previous editor of its sister paper The Times.

Hartley's deputy Marvin Meintjies was appointed editor of TMG's Sunday World.

Stephen Haw was appointed editor of The Times.

The Daily Dispatch in the Eastern Cape in February also announced the appointment of Bongani Siqoko as its new editor.

Siqoko would take up his new position at the East London newspaper on June 1. Outgoing editor Brendan Boyle would join The Sunday Times as an executive editor.

In March Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport appointed senior deputy editor Waldimar Pelser as its new editor. Pelser would take over from Bokkie Gerber, who is retiring, on June 1.


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