Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TVIEC to demonstrate against SABC

Dear SASFED Affiliate,

The following article just appeared on the Screen Africa STOP PRESS on its website. It is a result of interviews with SASFED today and a draft of the minutes of yesterday's industry meeting which will be released here shortly. We URGE all affiliates to advise their members of this demonstration next week. We need ALL industry members to attend! We will keep you posted on the date and meeting venue as soon as confirmed!

As per a meeting held in Johannesburg on 18 May, the Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) is planning to hold a demonstration protesting against public broadcaster SABC’s non-payment to production companies.

At last count, the overdue amounts in final payments owed to production companies by the SABC are in the region of R38m, however an additional approximately R20m in recent late cash flow payments has also been observed. These amounts have yet to be confirmed by the SABC, which has remained silent of late.

No date has been set for the demonstration yet, but it is likely to be next week. In the meantime, a TVIEC committee is planning the demonstration in as broad a manner as possible, to include participation from production companies, industry organisations, friends of the industry, actors who star in SABC soapies, the various unions and the public at large.

Organisers have stressed that the campaign be run in as “responsible” a way as possible. To this end the committee is in the process of applying for permission from the police to hold a legal demonstration as they anticipate the participation of about 1,000 people.

The Coalition repeatedly met with a high level group of SABC executives, including Mvuso Mbebe of Content Enterprises, over the last months but has received no firm feedback to date on the SABC's commitments made at these meetings. In the past week the Coalition has enjoyed no response or dialogue form the SABC, despite numerous attempts.

While planning the demonstration the TVIEC plans to simultaneously engage with the new Minister of Communications. Should nothing come of this campaign, the TVIEC members will collectively withhold material from the SABC, a tactic already resorted to by the producers of the soapie Isidingo.