The Minister in the Presidency, the Honourable Mr Collins Chabane has tabled the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA)'s annual report for the period 2009/10 to Parliament on the 7th September 2010. The Agency has again obtained an unqualified audit opinion, yet another proof of the MDDA's commitment to being one of the leading examples in the area of financial reporting, good governance and accountability within the public sector. The Agency has always received unqualified audit opinion and this year it received a congratulatory note from the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA).
As required by the MDDA Act, the Minister has to table, in Parliament, an annual report which includes audited financial statements. The report also incorporates performance information measured against predetermined objectives on how the Agency performed in key areas such as grant funding, research and training, advocacy for media development and diversity, fundraising, public awareness, promoting media literacy, customer perspective, internal business processes, human resources, financial management, audit quality assurance, employment equity and broad-based black economic empowerment.
The MDDA is a statutory development agency for promoting, supporting and ensuring media development and diversity, set up as a partnership between the South African Government and major print and broadcasting media companies, in terms of the MDDA Act No. 14 of 2002. In 2004, broadcast media (SABC, Primedia Broadcasting, M-Net, Kagiso Broadcasting, Midi TV) together with print media (Media 24, CTP, Independent Newspapers and Johnnic Publishing Ltd) committed to supporting the noble work of the MDDA for five years. They renewed this commitment from 01 April 2009.
Amongst other notable achievements in the year under review, the Agency has supported 36 projects and accumulatively from its establishment in January 2004, 284 as at 31 March 2010. 213 people were trained in the year under review in areas ranging from financial management, essentials of broadcast management, advertising and marketing, media literacy, compliance, media laws, ethics, marketing and branding, community mapping, writing and presenting reports, effective media management, etc. The Agency builds capacity of its projects through mentorship and coaching programme, where mentors are sent to assist projects learn on running a successful project, develop policies, systems and procedures, and design templates that will make it easy for projects to use on the departure of the mentors, kind of hold my hand assistance. The readership and listenership of supported projects has grown, community radio seeing significant 22% listenership growth according to RAMS figures. The current reported listenership of community radio is 7.4 million.
The Agency takes the opportunity to thank the Government (whose valuable support for the Agency through GCIS and the Presidency has made its work manageable) and the funding partners of the MDDA [SABC, Multichoice Africa (Pty) Ltd, Primedia (Pty) Ltd, M-Net, e.tv (Pty) Ltd, Jacaranda FM, East Coast Radio, Midi TV, Algoa FM, OFM, Capricorn FM, Yfm (Pty) Ltd, Media 24 Ltd, CTP Limited, Independent Newspapers Ltd and Avusa Media Ltd].
We look forward to signing new funding agreements with other broadcast service licensees (who have not yet signed the partnership) to join us in strengthening our work together towards ensuring that each and every South African citizen has access to a choice of a diverse range of media. Many Broadcasting Service Licensees have joined as partners from April 2009, contributing 0.2% of the annual turnover derived from the licensee's license activities to the MDDA, in line and in compliance with the ICASA Regulation: Prescribed annual contributions of licensees to the Universal Service and Access Fund (USAF) (Notice No. 31499) published on the 10th October 2008. The regulation as per the Electronic Communications Act No. 36 of 2005 recognise the relationship between broadcasters and the MDDA thereby provide that such contributions made to the MDDA will be set off against the prescribed annual contribution to the USAF.
Further, the MDDA would encourage other new print media groups to join our hands in assisting the building of an environment where a diverse, vibrant and creative media flourishes and reflects the needs of all South Africans.