Press Council announces Carmel Rickard as the new Press Ombud

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Carmel Rickard has been appointed the new Press Ombud. (Twitter, Carmel Rickard)
Carmel Rickard has been appointed the new Press Ombud. (Twitter, Carmel Rickard)
  • Carmel Rickard is the new Press Ombud.
  • Rickard replaces Pippa Green who resigned in December 2020.
  • The Ombud would have deputies for the first time due to the Press Council's restructuring.

The Press Council of South Africa (PCSA) announced the appointment of Carmel Rickard as the new Press Ombud on Monday. 

The council also announced Rickards' deputies are Herman Scholtz and Tyrone August. 

The veteran journalists only recently took up their positions, the organisation's executive director, Latiefa Mobara, said.

Rickard replaces Pippa Green who took up the seat in 2019. 

Mobara said Green had resigned in December to take up a job at the University of Cape Town. 

She added the council previously did not have deputies, but because it was restructuring, it had introduced the position. 

"This is a completely new structure. It's a Press Council restructuring in order to ensure that we have a far more faster turnover of resolving complaints and to ensure efficiency," the executive director told News24. 

In a statement, the council said the three part-time appointments were made from applications received by its independent Appointments Panel chaired by Justice Yvonne Mokgoro.

It said Rickard, Scholtz and August would work alongside PCSA public advocate Fanie Groenewald.

Mobara said the new team was settling in and had not dealt with complaints as of yet. 

Green replaced Johan Retief, who resigned after almost a decade in the post, News24 reported. 

Rickard has extensive experience as a journalist and has contributed to newspapers and radio.

She started working as a journalist at the Daily News in Durban before working her way up and eventually becoming the legal editor of the Sunday Times. 

The veteran newshound and author also holds an LLM from the University of Natal

August was a former editor of the Cape Times and Leadership magazine, while Scholtz is an advocate at the Pretoria Bar.

Scholtz is a former journalist with 13 years experience in newspapers, magazines and broadcast media. 

Press Council chairperson Judge Phillip Levinsohn, welcomed the new appointees and said they would undoubtedly be a credit to and greatly enhance the workings of the Press Council.

In a statement, Mobara said: 

They join Public Advocate Fanie Groenewald in dealing with complaints. Each year we receive between 500 and 600 complaints from the public, including complaints from business and politicians. In terms of our Complaints Procedure, Mr Groenewald receives complaints and attempts to mediate between the complainant and the title. If he is unable to resolve the matter, he will refer it to the Press Ombud or one of her deputies for arbitration.

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