South Africa Mourns Loss of Media and Education Icon David Niddrie at 69

  • David Niddrie, a key adviser to the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr. Blade Nzimande, and an influential figure in developing national skills policies and strategies, has passed away at 69.
  • Niddrie was a stalwart of several political liberation movements, including the South African Communist Party (SACP), the African National Congress (ANC), and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). He also had an extensive career in media, working as an editor for several publications and advocating for media freedom.
  • He was instrumental in transforming the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) from an apartheid state broadcaster to a public broadcaster, and held directorships at various media and technology organizations. His dedication to training young journalists and his selfless concern for the welfare of the poor were notable aspects of his leadership.

South Africa mourns the loss of David Niddrie, a renowned media specialist, political stalwart, and a respected adviser to Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr. Blade Nzimande. Niddrie passed away at his Johannesburg home on the evening of May 9th, 2023, aged 69.

Niddrie was a vital figure in the development of national skills policies and strategies, serving diligently in the Department of Higher Education and Training as well as the Department of Science and Innovation.

Minister Nzimande expressed profound sorrow at the loss of Niddrie, praising his tireless service to the nation. “Niddrie was advising me on the strategic framework and criteria for the allocation of funds from the National Skills Authority (NSA), and on regulations for the implementation of the Skills Act,” Nzimande revealed.

As a trusted adviser, Niddrie played an influential role in the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA) liaison, contributing to the implementation of the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDP) and Sector Plans.

Beyond his contributions to education and skills development, Niddrie held significant standing in the nation’s political liberation movements, being a stalwart of the South African Communist Party (SACP), the African National Congress (ANC), and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Niddrie’s rich career in media and journalism spanned over five decades, beginning as a trainee journalist at the Benoni City Times in 1972. He went on to hold editorship roles in esteemed publications including the SACP’s Communist and Umsebenzi, and worked for media houses such as IPC Publications in London, Rand Daily Mail, Sunday Tribune, and City Press, among others.

“Niddrie’s media activism is testament to his dedication to truth and free speech,” said Minister Nzimande. “He was not just a leader, but a mentor to many young journalists, investing time in training them.”

A staunch advocate for media freedom, Niddrie co-founded the Campaign for Open Media and the Campaign for Independent Broadcasting, leading the charge for the transformation of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) from an apartheid state broadcaster to a public broadcaster.

In this role, he jointly drafted the criteria for membership of the first independently appointed SABC board, marking a significant milestone in South Africa’s media history. Niddrie also held directorships at the Public Broadcasting Initiative, Mopani Media, Yarona FM, YHM, the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), Southern Africa Report and Intengu Consulting, among others.

As the country remembers his life and contributions, Minister Nzimande and the South African government extend their condolences to the Niddrie family, friends, and comrades, saying, “May his revolutionarily soul rest in peace.”

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