By Emeka Umejei

Carly Hosford-Israel. SANEFThe presence of China on the South Africa media landscape poses no danger to media independence, a South African editor has said.

Hopewell Radebe Associate Editor at Business Day in Johannesburg, said this in an interview with Open Society yesterday.  He was in Grahamstown to South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) meetings ahead of the Highway Africa conference, which begins this morning.

“I don’t subscribe to the group of people who see China as a danger,” Radebe  said. “China has a population of 1.3 billion and American has just 300 million which makes China a huge market.”

He said if the Chinese invest in South African media, it will be business and nothing more than that.

“If we allow the Europeans and Americans to invest in the media why should it be different with the Chinese?” he asked, “If they chose South Africa, it means we are being recognised as a force to be reckoned with.”

Radebe said he does not subscribe to the idea of painting China as a new imperial power because it will be “us who are dumb to not have proper and requisite regulatory framework to ensure transparent dealings.”

He emphasised that if China invests in South Africa, the South African government must ensure it plays by the rules.

However, Radebe said the much-hyped Chinese syndicate in Sekunjalo Holdings, the new owners of Independent Media remains a rumour because he is yet to see any document to that effect.

“I actually don’t know whether the Chinese syndicate is involved,” he said. “I have not seen a document these are the signatories or potential buyers and investors are interested to know the funders.”