2009 was Zuma's year

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has been named the Newsmaker of the Year for 2009 by the National Press Club-Glenrand MIB.

The announcement was made by National Press Club Chairperson, Yusuf Abramjee who said 2009 was "Zuma's year".

"President Zuma was in the news for various reasons throughout 2009. He dominated the centimetre column space in the print media and much of the airwaves in the electronic media," said Abramjee today.

He added that the award was made on the grounds of impact, news value and media attention.

According to Monitoring SA, President Zuma was mentioned no less than 22 300 times in the South African print media, nearly 33 000 times in the broadcast media and over 12 500 times on online media during 2009.

Zuma is the fourth head of state to be named newsmaker of the year. Previous recipients were FW de Klerk, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

In 2005, Zuma was named by the press club as Newsmaker of the Year when he was Deputy President of the ANC. At the time, he was in the midst of various legal battles.

"He was on the election campaign trail for months. Then, corruption charges against him were withdrawn, sparking much discussion and debate... It also made international headlines."

"He was subsequently elected President, inaugurated as the Head of State, appointed his cabinet, gave his first state of the nation address and then got down to work.

"During the year, Zuma made surprise visits to areas affected by service delivery, launched the Presidential hotline, announced his choice for the appointment of a new Chief Justice at the National Press Club, appointed a new National Director of Public Prosecutions and National Police Commissioner, made foreign visits, and we can go on and on and on... He was certainly in the news big time," said Abramjee.

He said that his first year as President also saw him engaging the media much more than his predecessors.

Other nominees for the 2009 newsmaker title included ANC Youth League President, Julius Malema, athlete Caster Semenya and former Springbok rugby captain Joost van der Westhuizen.