Meet the team behind the new DStv channel Newzroom Afrika

Thokozani Nkosi and Thabile Ngwato owners of Newzroom Afrika were today announced as the successful bidders for the vacant news channel on Dstv.
Thokozani Nkosi and Thabile Ngwato owners of Newzroom Afrika were today announced as the successful bidders for the vacant news channel on Dstv.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Newzroom Afrika has been announced as DStv's brand-new channel. The announcement was made by MultiChoice's Yolisa Phahle at a press briefing earlier today.

The new channel replaces the Mzwanele Manyi-owned Afro Worldview (previously known as ANN7).

The channel went offline on August 20 after DStv's parent company MultiChoice earlier this year decided to take the channel off the airwaves following controversy surrounding its previous owners the Gupta family.

Television production entrepreneur Thokozani Nkosi (Eclipse TV) of Newzroom Afrika said the company was independently owned by him and his partner Thabile Ngwato of Rapid Innovation. 

Nkosi formerly presented religious talk show Crux. He then started Eclipse TV which has produced popular shows such as Gospel Time, The Chatroom and Big Up.

Ngwato, who earlier this month resigned from the public broadcaster, had been a news anchor at the SABC for 5 years. She also hosted the weekend edition of Morning Live.

According to a statement released by MultiChoice, accomplished television executive Zanele Mthembu will head the broadcast operation; while the newsroom will be under the leadership of veteran news media executive and journalist Malebo Phage. There will be an editorial ethics oversight board spearheaded by Joe Thloloe and Dinesh Balliah.

Ngwato said former Afro Worldview employees would be given priority in the hiring process.

"Afro Worldview employees would be given priority during the recruitment process. Everyone will go through the process of applying but former Afro Worldview will be prioritised."

According to MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela they received a total of 111 bids for the channel.

Making the announcement, Mawela said: "We wanted to have a new and independent news channel that is free from any political influence."

The channel is 100% black owned and 50% female owned.

The channel will go on air in early 2019 said Nkosi.

Selection criteria used by MultiChoice

The requirements for the new channel were publicly communicated and required the channel to:

• Be owned, managed and operated by an independent black South African owned company

• Be a South African, predominantly English –language, news channel that takes into account the history, diversity of cultural backgrounds, languages and socio-economic circumstances in South Africa

• Broadcast 24 hours per day

• Provide anchor- based, live broadcasts in the style of Al Jazeera, CNN, Sky, ENCA, SABC news and others

• Specially focus on national, regional, local and African news, actuality, current affairs and sport with less focus on International affairs

• Focus on training and development of news and broadcast industry personnel

• Foster strong ownership mentality with employees and partners through mechanisms such as employee equity and/ or incentive schemes

• Be independent, non-partisan, unbiased and critical - MultiChoice to have no editorial control or ownership

• Be widely distributed on DStv packages

• Receive funding from MultiChoice and other sources

• Add to media diversity and plurality

• Encourage new entrants into the media fraternity

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