Dr. Blade Nzimande, the South African Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, expressed his deep sorrow over the recent passing of David Niddrie. Niddrie was a crucial adviser on national skills development policies and strategies and contributed immensely to the Department of Higher Education and Training and the Department of Science and Innovation.
Contributions to National Skills Development
Minister Nzimande acknowledged Niddrie’s role in advising on the strategic framework and criteria for National Skills Authority (NSA) funding allocations and implementing the Skills Act. He was also instrumental in liaising with Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETA) to implement the National Skills Development Strategy (NSDS) and Sector Plans.
Political Involvement and Journalism Career
Niddrie’s commitment to the liberation movements of the South African Communist Party (SACP), the African National Congress (ANC), and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) was evident throughout his career. He was also a respected media specialist with a journalism career from 1972. He was an editor for several publications, including the SACP’s Communist and Umsebenzi. In addition, he contributed to media outlets like the Benoni City Times, IPC Publications in London, Rand Daily Mail, Sunday Tribune, and City Press.
Leadership Style and Advocacy for Media Freedom
Niddrie’s selflessness, discipline, and concern for the poor and needy were hallmarks of his leadership style. He always trained young journalists, ensuring they had the skills and knowledge to succeed. As a staunch advocate for media freedom, Niddrie co-founded the Campaign for Open Media and Independent Broadcasting. He served on the organizational structures of these organizations, striving to transform South Africa’s apartheid-era state broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), into a public broadcaster.
Legacy and Accomplishments
In addition to his numerous accomplishments, Niddrie held directorships at the Public Broadcasting Initiative, Mopani Media (Pty) Ltd, Yarona FM (Botswana), YHM (Pty) Ltd (Botswana), SABC, the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), Southern Africa Report, and Intengu Consulting (Pty) Ltd. His legacy as a champion of skills development and media freedom will be remembered fondly by all those whose lives he touched. His revolutionary spirit and dedication to improving the lives of others will continue to inspire those who share his vision for a better South Africa.
Reflections on David Niddrie’s Impact
As we remember the life and accomplishments of David Niddrie, it is essential to recognize the impact he had on the fields of skills development, media freedom, and national policy. His work in these areas will continue to shape the future, as his legacy lives on through those inspired and mentored by his leadership.