New project funding process for MDDA

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA) is implementing a new project funding application process to streamline the agency’s application process, enhance efficiencies, and enable it to effectively deliver on its mandate. 

The agency made the announcement on Tuesday as its funding cycle for 2019/20 opened for applications. The closing date for funding applications is 4 October 2019.

“With some 15 years of the MDDA funding projects, we have reached the stage where we urgently need to review and reassess the process of and criteria against which we fund projects as the environment in which we are now operating is very different to that of the early years of the Agency,” MDDA Acting CEO Zukiswa Potye said in a statement.

The major change in the new project funding application process compared to the previous system is the introduction of a call for funding applications, with an application submission deadline (cut-off date).

All applications submitted by the cut-off date will be considered, with those applications that are successful and those not successful being informed timeously.

“This means that as opposed to the previous application process, which used the principle of first come, first serve when selecting projects for funding, resulting in an enormous backlog, the agency will not retain projects on a waiting list.

“Projects are welcome to reapply in the next cycle of board funding approvals if they feel they have addressed the reasons given for rejection by the MDDA,” the agency said.

Potye said the challenges that demand a new approach include the enormous backlog of projects accumulated with no prospect of being able to clear, given the agency’s limited funds.

“Such a backlog and the principle of first come, first serve has meant that in some cases we are required to select projects for approval that applied in 2012, which may no longer be compliant or have relevance in the current landscape.”

Projects considering applying for MDDA funding have been requested to consult the MDDA website ( for details of the application process.  

Set up by an Act of Parliament in 2002 (MDDA Act No 14 of 2002), the agency funded its first project in 2004 and has to date supported more than 250 media projects, covering both community radio, print and small commercial print.

“While this has meant that it has contributed significantly to the transformation of the media landscape in South Africa, there are still communities, including special interest groups, such as the youth and those people with disability that are underserviced by the media.

“In addition, greater emphasis needs to be placed on correcting gender imbalances as well as equipping the sector for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  This has highlighted the urgent need for a more targeted approach by the MDDA to requesting project funding applications,” the agency said.

The MDDA is a statutory development agency deriving its mandate from Section 16 and 32 of the Constitution Act No. 108 of 1996, thereby providing for freedom of expression and access to information.

As a partnership between the South African government and major print and broadcasting companies, it promotes and assists in the development of community media and small commercial media in South Africa and the transformation of the media by providing support (financial and capacity building, etc.)

The agency also aims to raise public awareness with regard to media development and diversity issues, and to encourage media literacy and a culture of reading. –

Department of Labour to conduct inspections in Brits

Monday, August 5, 2019

The farming, wholesale and retail sectors in Brits in the North West will be under the spotlight this week when labour inspectors visit the area.

The Department of Employment and Labour’s Inspection and Enforcement Services Unit will embark on a two-day blitz inspection from 6 to 7 August 2019, targeting the farming and wholesale & retail sectors.

These blitz inspections will see a number of farms and retailers being inspected to check compliance with labour laws.

The sectors were identified by the North West provincial office of Employment and Labour as some of the sectors that have challenges in terms of compliance with labour laws, thus disadvantaging employees.

The team of inspectors, other law enforcement agencies, government departments and the Madibeng Local Municipality’s representatives -- led by the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi; Executive Mayor Jostina Mothibe; the Inspector General; the Chief Director of Provincial Operations (North West) and the Provincial Chief Inspector -- will visit the area to inspect and enforce compliance on labour legislations.

During the inspections, those found to be non-compliant will be brought to book.

Prior to the inspections, Nxesi will launch and hand over branded National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA) vehicles to the National Minimum Wage ambassadors.

The National Minimum Wage Act, which came into effect on 1 January 2019, is a tool to close the wage gap and to overcome poverty. –

Centre to broaden digital footprint of SA’s languages

Monday, August 5, 2019

Higher Education and Science and Technology Deputy Minister Buti Manamela will on Wednesday launch the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) in Potchefstroom, North West.

This is a platform that creates and manages digital resources and software supporting research and development in language technologies and language-related studies in all South Africa's official languages.

SADiLaR is a multi-partner distributed research infrastructure, comprising the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the University of South Africa, the University of Pretoria, and the Inter-institutional Centre for Language Development and Assessment.

The centre is a response to the Use of Official Languages Act of 2012, pertaining to the equal development and use of the 11 official languages of the country.

SADiLaR is the first of its kind in Africa and promotes existing links with similar entities globally, especially with CLARIN, the European Research Infrastructure for Language Resources and Technology.

Hosted by the North-West University's Potchefstroom Campus, SADiLAR is one of eight research infrastructures established through the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) so far under the South African Research Infrastructure Roadmap (SARIR), intended to provide research infrastructure across the public research system.

The department said that the development of SADiLaR began in 2016 and has two programmes, these include a digitisation programme, which entails the systematic creation of relevant digital text, speech and multi-modal resources related to all the official languages, and the development of appropriate natural language processing.

It also includes a digital humanities programme, which facilitates the building of research capacity by promoting and supporting the use of digital data and innovative methodological approaches in the humanities and social sciences.

“So far it has benefited over a thousand students, and approximately 90 researchers and developers. This virtual infrastructure hosts a resource portal that provides a single point of entry with access to over 200 language resources and tools.

“Fields of research include language, literary and heritage studies, history, music, sociology, journalism, philosophy, psychology, media studies, and visual and graphic art. In turn, the availability of large data sets facilitates the development of a variety of language technology applications for the public good,” the department explained.

The Deputy Minister will be joined by the North West University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dan Kgwadi, SADiLaR Director, Professor Attie de Lange, and CLARIN Executive Director, Professor Franciska De Jong. –


PMembers of various law enforcement agencies together with brand owners, on Thursday morning 01 August 2019 tactically withdrew from an intelligence-driven operation targeting counterfeit goods in the Joburg CBD. This came after a violent crowd of foreign nationals attacked police with objects including bricks and petrol bombs.

Due to the volatility of the situation, police retreated to avoid a situation where they would be forced to use live ammunition. Of priority at this point was ensuring that there was no bloodshed or death.

No law enforcement members sustained injuries, while two of the brand owners and one paramedic sustained serious injuries.

The situation is calm while police are closely monitoring the area to make sure no further violence erupts.

The Provincial Commissioner of police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has condemned the incessant undermining of the authority of the state by these foreign nationals in the Johannesburg CBD. "Such lawlessness cannot be allowed to go unpunished," emphasized the Commissioner.

In her reaction to the incident, Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, MEC Faith Mazibuko cited, "We condemn the attacks on police and members of other law enforcement agencies. We condemn all criminal elements hell-bent on undermining the rule of the law in this country and making this country ungovernable. We can’t co-govern with criminals, especially foreign nationals who want to turn our country into a lawless Banana Republic. Working together with SAPS, JMPD, Home Affairs and SARS Customs, we will conduct a joint operation in that area. We will assert our authority and show ungovernable foreign nationals that there are laws in South Africa and they must be respected. We will also liaise with the Minister of DIRCO to engage embassies to encourage their citizens to respect the Laws of this country."

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