SA is’best place to be a journalist’

Lee-Anne Butler

SOUTH Africa is one of the most exciting places to live and one of the best countries in which to be a journalist, says veteran reporter and executive producer Debora Patta.

She was the guest speaker at a South African Council for Shopping Centres breakfast, hosted by the organisation’s Eastern Cape chapter in Newton Park yesterday.

The award-winning journalist, who has two children, this week announced her resignation as host and executive producer of e.tv’s Third Degree show. She said she was sad to leave but excited about taking up a new international opportunity.

“I am not leaving journalism or South Africa. South Africa is simply the best place in the world to be a journalist and while this can be an incredibly messy and murky place there is no other place I would rather be,” she said.

“I never wanted to be one of those people where someone would say ‘Is she still doing this?’ So I am moving on after 15 years.”

Patta, who will appear in her last Third Degree current affairs show on Tuesday, said she was proud to have reported on South Africa’s change from apartheid to a new democracy and on Nelson Mandela’s ascension to the presidency.

“I am hopeful about the future. We have the National Development Plan, headed by Trevor Manuel, which provides a roadmap for where South Africa should go.

“We have a capable revenue service which is collecting money, but the problem comes in how this money is spent, or misspent or not spent at all. I do, however, feel that we have the capacity to get things right.

“Before, the worst thing that could have happened to me as a journalist was that I would be detained or kept in solitary confinement. Today, the worst thing that can happen is that a politician can refuse to speak to me. But this does not stop us from going after them anyway.”

While the secrecy bill was “worrisome” she did not believe it would be implemented as it was unconstitutional and the constitutional court would not allow it.

“We are an entrepreneurial nation and have always been creative.”

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