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South African Press Association

The South African Press Association, commonly known as SAPA, is the national news agency of South Africa.


The agency was established on July 1, 1938,[1] by major South African newspapers to facilitate the sharing of news.[2] Reuters had dominated the internal supply of news in South Africa until 1938. When SAPA was founded, Reuters retained the exclusive right to supply it with world news. Reuters ended this partnership in 1995, when it began expanding its own Southern African activities in competition with SAPA.[3] In February 1938, the constitution for the new agency was framed, and by April that year, it became a co-operative news agency under the control of every British and Afrikaans newspaper that wished to join.[4]

During the apartheid era, it was criticised by the ruling National Party for inadequate reporting of the government's viewpoint and Afrikaner culture.[5]

From 1964 to 1981, SAPA owned a subsidiary in the Inter-Africa News Agency (IANA) in neighbouring Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe), which was later taken over by the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust.[6]

Present day

The non-governmental agency continues to function under the ownership of South African newspapers.[7] SAPA is the major news supplier of foreign and domestic news to South Africa, providing all forms of media – newspapers, television, radio and web-based – with news, videos and photographs.[2] Its newswire provides a constant feed of news to newsrooms in South Africa. The agency also maintains a picture and news video service, press release service called link2media.[2] Traditionally, SAPA has relied on its regional newspaper members for regional South African news, in addition to reporting by its own staff.[8]

Its head office is in Johannesburg, and it has bureaus in Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein and Pretoria.[2] Its primary area of distribution is in South Africa, although it does have clients abroad as well as exchange agreements with other major news agencies.


SAPA will cease operations on the 31st of March 2015 after its assets are liquidated. Three companies Gallo Images, KMM Review Publishers, and Sekunjalo Investments Holdings have expressed an interest in setting up an operation on similar lines as the agency, which is a special category of non-profit that may not be sold. [9]

Notable journalists

See also


  1. ^ Hachten, William A. (1971). Muffled drums; the news media in Africa. Iowa State University Press. p. 257.
  2. ^ a b c d Shrivastava, K. M. (2007). News agencies from pigeon to internet. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 235. ISBN 978-1-932705-67-6.
  3. ^ Boyd-Barrett, Oliver; Rantanen, Terhi (1998). The globalization of news. SAGE. p. 165.
  4. ^ Storey, Graham (2007). Reuters' Century 1851-1951. READ BOOKS. p. 200.
  5. ^ Merrett, Christopher Edmond (1995). A Culture of Censorship: Secrecy and Intellectual Repression in South Africa. Mercer University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-86554-455-0.
  6. ^ Eribo, Festus; Jong-Ebot, William (1997). Press freedom and communication in Africa. Africa World Press. p. 169.
  7. ^ Storey (2007), p. 257.
  8. ^ Boyd-Barrett (1998), p. 155.
  9. ^

External links