Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé congratulated Siyavuya Mzantsi on his appointment as Cape Times editor. Picture: Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - From humble beginnings in Tsolo in the Eastern Cape, newly-appointed Cape Times editor Siyavuya Mzantsi says he hopes his success will show millions of young people from the townships and rural areas that anything is possible.

In a historic move, Independent Media this week announced a number of game-changing appointments to its editorial team, including selecting Mzantsi as editor of the Cape Times.

Mzantsi is the first black African editor of the Cape Times in its 143-year history. At 26, he is also the youngest editor in the group.

Mzantsi takes over the reins from Aneez Salie who has been appointed to the position of editor-in-chief of the group and will be responsible for the overall editorial oversight of the group.

“I am humbled and grateful for the support from colleagues, management and most importantly my family.

“I am inspired by this appointment to continue serving all our communities without fear or favour,” said Mzantsi, who has a journalism degree from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

In 2016 Mzansti won the Vodacom Journalist of the Year regional award.

He added that the media had a huge role and responsibility in promoting transformation.

“I’m proud to have experienced the Cape Times’ transformation under the leadership of Aneez Salie, the now editor-in-chief of the group, and Gasant Abarder with the support of Indy’s new owners.

“Our ethos has always been bridging the race, gender and economic gaps and building bridges between and within our diverse communities.

“I hope my appointment will inspire millions of young people from the townships and rural areas where I come from. This indeed is a very historic moment for our country’s media.

“It is a privilege for me to make a contribution to this very important cause,” Mzantsi said.

Salie said: “The fact that we should in 2019 still be referring to the first black this or that, is a painful reminder of how power and privilege have remained in the same hands.

“That it has taken 143 years for the first black African to be appointed editor at the Cape Times is a crying shame.

‘‘It shows just how unrepentant were those whites who previously ran the show, and belies their public postures.

“We have observed with sheer delight how, since they joined us as interns six years ago, young people like Siya have blossomed under a new ownership and leadership which is uncompromising about transformation. Given the chance, they have flown, reaching heights way beyond their years.”

Newly-appointed Cape Times editor Siyavuya Mzantsi, left, along with Francesca Villette, centre, and Lisa Isaacs at their graduation in 2015. Villette and Isaacs were appointed joint news editors in May. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Argus editor Aziz Hartley said he witnessed Mzantsi grow from an inexperienced intern, to one of the most gifted journalists in the company.

“I admire his determination and work ethic. I’ve had the honour of mentoring him when I was deputy editor at the Cape Times, and it pleases me to see him growing all the time. I’m certain he’ll take the Cape Times to greater heights.

“The group’s management must be saluted for what I’d call a masterstroke.

“Siya’s appointment is testimony to the transformation and empowerment the newspaper and its sister titles have gone through over the last six years.

“It also speaks volumes about the talent there is at Independent Media,” Hartley said.

Independent Media executive chairman Dr Iqbal Survé said the recent editorial appointments reflected the company’s ongoing commitment to the transformation agenda of not only the media industry but the country.

On Wednesday, along with Mzantsi and Salie’s appointments, Yogas Nair, editor of The Mercury, was appointed to the position of deputy editor-in-chief of the group, and Melanie Peters was promoted to the position of editor of Weekend Argus Sunday.

“We have worked hard to transform the company into a proudly black-owned and managed South African media company.

“At the heart of this transformation process is a deliberate strategy to create a diverse workforce at all levels of the organisation, to develop and nurture young talent and to upskill existing staff members,” said Survé.

“Siyavuya has proved his mettle and under Aneez Salie’s tutelage he has excelled in all aspects of the editorial and management process.

“We are all immensely proud of Siya’s achievement,” Survé said.

Cape Times