Tutu, Madonsela are Newsmakers of the Year

ARCHBISHOP Emeritus Desmond Tutu and Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela have jointly been named the Johannesburg Press Club's 2011 Newsmakers of the Year.

The club's chairman, Mixael de Kock, said: "Both the archbishop and the Public Protector have displayed extraordinary courage, commitment and consistency in fulfilling their respective duties to the people of South Africa and, in particular, they have been nominated for the excellent manner in which they interacted with and made themselves accessible to the media."

Tutu will receive the award for being the most quoted social commentator and social critic, for his Census 2011 ambassadorial duties, continued moral leadership and, in particular, for his courage in addressing the issues around the Dalai Lama incident.

Madonsela is being honoured for her unfailing, direct and courageous stance against immoral activities, her particular work ethic, veracity and devotion.

She is also being lauded for her ongoing maintenance of cordial and positive working relationship with the media.

De Kock said the club's decision was "not solely based on how much news a nominee generated during the year but also on how the news was communicated and to what extent the country benefitted from such news".

"Both the archbishop and the Public Protector responded immediately, accurately and with integrity regarding issues during 2011 and, in their respective fields of influence, they ensured that the values of democracy were upheld and that freedom of speech and access to information were assured at all times," De Kock said.

Madonsela said in a statement that she would be accepting the award on behalf of her team at Public Protector South Africa.

"I would like to express my gratitude to the Johannesburg Press Club for the honour bestowed on my team. We are humbled by the gesture," Madonsela said.