Monday, August 31, 2009

SASFED Submission to Department of Communication's Public Service Broadcasting Discussion Paper to Amend the Broadcasting Act, 1999

SASFED Submission to Department of Communication's Public Service Broadcasting Discussion Paper to Amend the Broadcasting Act, 1999

Please download and view a copy of the final draft of the SASFED submission to DOC on their Public Service Broadcasting Discussion Paper to Amend the Broadcasting Act, 1999 (as amended). This was sent to DOC by 5pm today.

Please publish / circulate as you see appropriate. The document was drafted by Frezel Mamdoo co-chair of SASFED, and put out for comment by our board and many of you earlier today.

Unfortunately the timelines for submission were very tight.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Media coverage of the Protest Action on 27 August

The media coverage of the TVIEC protest action which took place outside SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg on 27 August 2009 has been excellent .

Videos are available on:


The Times

Articles can be seen in:

Business Day

Also take a look at the TVIEC video on:


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hard Hitting Protest "Theatre" outside SABC

27 August 2009

The TVIEC, in their continued efforts to rescue the television industry from the SABC's mismanagement, staged a protest today outside the SABC in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.

This time the TVIEC were protesting against the SABC's bid to turn itself around by cutting planned expenditure on local content amounting to R500-million. The SABC's only option is to fill our screens with a massive schedule of repeat programming, which it has been forced to begin.

Actors, writers, producers and other industry professionals again joined together to form a theatrical protest piece outside the SABC.

The SABC, represented by a hangman, tied a noose around the necks of actors wearing T-Shirts with words such as "Culture," "Stories," "Viewers," "Skills," "Jobs" and then proceeded to "hang" them as the actors chanted mournfully.

The protest was peaceful and well attended by the media. Michael Lee, now in his third week of a hunger strike against the inhumanity of the SABC's dealings with the independent production sector, was also at the protest.

The TVIEC continue in their efforts to rescue the television industry AND the SABC.

Protest Action 27 August 2009


In a bid to turn itself around, the SABC has stated it will have to axe planned expenditure on local content amounting to R500-million. Their only option is to fill our screens with a massive schedule of repeat programming, which it has been forced to begin. In light of this the TVIEC is continuing with protest action in a bid to save our stories and our industry.

This week writers and actors will take the lead in a visually powerful guerrilla action to send a stark and shocking message to the SABC that the industry is becoming increasingly angry and increasingly desperate as thousands of skilled labourers are without work in an industry that is crucial to job creation and to the dissemination of our national culture, debate and identity.

We are inviting the media to come and document the action and to engage with a select group of picketers who will be telling their stories. Some core players will be present for interviews. Also present will be Michael Lee – who has embarked on a hunger strike in protest at SABC’s slashing of local content. (Lee has entered his 16th day and now other activists within the industry are planning to join him.)

When and Where
Thursday 27 August from 1pm to 1.30pm outside Radio Park

We want to send a message that a country without a platform for its stories will lose its culture, it's power to educate and its power to entertain. It is the job of the public broadcaster to promote our culture and our stories. We need a responsible SABC that will put together a muscular business plan and streamline its management. We believe that an attempt to turn the SABC around by cutting their key product – programming – will cause irreparable damage to the independent production sector and to the SABC’s credibility.


This press release is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union).

Out in Africa Film Festival - Opening Night and Related Festival Parties

JHB - Nu Metro, Montecasino - 3rd to 13th September
CT - Nu Metro, V&A Waterfront - 10th to 20th September

For the first time in a long time, Opening Night tickets are being sold as a fund raising drive – R100 per ticket. Opening night in Jozi is on 3rd September at Nu Metro, Montecasino and in CT on 10th September at Nu Metro, V&A Waterfront. We are delighted that Pieter-Dirk Uys will be our Speaker at both these events. The festival opens with the 2007 Spanish feature Spinnin' (6 Billion Different People) by Eusebio Pastrana. This is the Spaniards at their wacky best – an exuberant award winning film set in Madrid.


We have two parties for you - one pre-Festival (hosted by V2 Experience) and one end of Festival (hosted by Citrus Lounge and Clique Events). Details below:

JHB pre-festival party on 29th August:
Saturday, August 29, 2009 at 9:00pm to 4am
Location: 38 Roger Street Selby (Lemon8) (Corn Webber and Roger Street), Johannesburg Phone: 083 862 5157

V2 says Express Yourself this time: Come as your Favourite Celebrity or your Favourite Movie Star or just as you - a prize will be given to those who make the effort to look different. This event is inspired by a book by Russel Simmons "DO YOU" - Russell Simmons is one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People of the Past 25 Years” - a “hip-hop pioneer” - his groundbreaking vision has influenced music, fashion, finance, television and film, as well as the face of modern philanthropy. Russell Simmons has been instrumental in bringing the powerful influence of hip-hop culture to every facet of business and media since its inception in the late 1970s. From producing and/or managing such early hip-hop artists as Kurtis Blow, Run DMC, Whodini and the Beastie Boys to signing seminal luminaries like Jay Z, Foxy Brown and Ludacris, Simmons’ groundbreaking vision was crystallized with partner Rick Rubin in the creation of the seminal Def Jam Recordings in 1984

Almost end of Festival Party: DON'T STOP DANCING TILL YOU REACH THE TOP ! Hosted by Citrus Lounge & Clique Events: See picture

The 4th World Summit on Arts and Culture

The fourth World Summit on Arts and Culture, a project of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA), will take place in Johannesburg from 22-25 September, hosted by the National Arts Council of South Africa. Mike van Graan, Programme Director for the Summit and Head of the Arterial Network’s Secretariat will write this weekly column in the build up to the Summit, raising some of the themes and provocative issues that will be debated at the event. With many on the Arterial Network database attending the World Summit, these columns will be sent to the database with the first four sent daily basis this week, after which they will be distributed weekly when they are published.

Two of the primary divides in the world today are poverty and culture. Culture has probably overtaken poverty as one of the greatest threats to global security. The recent debate about banning the burkha in France and the rise of nationalism in Europe generally, are responses to perceived threats from immigrant communities with a culture different to that of the status quo, and irrespective of even the middle class positions of many within the immigrant community. Similarly, while they share the misery of poverty, refugees from Somalia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique and the under-classes of South Africa are divided by culture, accounting for the ongoing xenophobic violence.

In a post-9/11 world, and with the Cold War and its ideological divides now assigned to the scrapheap of history, culture is the primary global faultline.

The World Summit on Arts and Culture – held every three years in a different country – will be held in a so-called developing country, and in Africa, for the first time. The event provides a unique opportunity for policy makers, funding agencies, development organisations, artists’ networks, think tanks and multilateral cultural bodies to reflect on the state of the world and its implications for the arts over the ensuing few years.

Such a global gathering allows for key debates to be initiated, for visionary ideas to be launched and for networks to be consolidated so that the Summit is not be an end in itself, but a catalyst that will leave a lasting legacy for the global arts fraternity, and in this instance, for the African arts sector in particular.

South Africa has long been regarded as a microcosm of the world: wealthy elite on the one hand and a huge underclass burdened by poverty on the other, with the inherent tensions within and between these further layered by racial and cultural conflicts.

It is an appropriate time and place for a global gathering on the theme of the Summit: Meeting of Cultures: Creating Meaning through the Arts, a theme that resonates across a world that is increasingly divided by values, beliefs, religion, traditions and history – in short, by culture.

What do these cultural divides mean for the arts?

Music, theatre, dance, literature, film and the visual arts are seen by some policy makers and politicians as possible bridges between cultures, as safe, non-threatening points of entry into understanding “other” and as facilitators of “intercultural dialogue”.

Yet, the arts can also play a divisive role, reinforcing cultural faultlines as shown by the literature of Salman Rushdie or movies that spark protests by Christian groups or the drawings of a Danish cartoonist or exhibitions that depict religious icons as gay. What effect will the political imperative and the need for social cohesion across cultural divides have on the arts if they are burdened with facilitating intercultural dialogue? To help to make the world a safer place, are public authorities demanding “safe” art?

Many artists hate being – or feeling - conscripted for any cause, even ones they believe in. If they are to use their creative skills for “the public good”, then they want to choose to do this, or not. On the other hand, politicians, government officials, development agencies and public funding bodies often give the impression that when artists or arts projects are supported with public funds, it is legitimate to expect them to align their creative work with the “national interests”, as defined by those who inhabit political power at the time. In an increasingly security-conscious world in which culture is one of the roots of global tensions, is it acceptable for artists to be “conscripted” in the cause of building intercultural communities at local, national and international levels?

What would this mean for South Africa? What if the NAC makes available funds for artists to create art that rejects xenophobia and that affirms good relations with refugees from other African countries? This would be considered in the interests of the greater public good. But what if an artist decides to make an art work that calls for the country’s borders to be closed to foreigners in order for government first to address the needs of impoverished South Africans? Should the artist be prevented from receiving public funds to create this art because it is not consistent with “the national interests”?

For further information about the World Summit, see

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

SABC board nominee list


Nominee/ Candidates

1.Gerbrand Bothma
2. Rafiq Rohan
3. Dyers Sam
4. Thembekile Solomon Ndlovu
5. Max Du Preez
6. Andrew George
7. Mohammed Bhabha
8. Ellen West
9. Phyllis Denis
10. Khotso Moses Khumalo
11. Udo Wolfgang
12. Joseph Peter Kgomo
13. Peter Bruno Emanual Druren
14. Pumlani John Myakayaka
15. Webster Kutsana Masvikwa
16. Mahlomula Ephraim Tebakang
17. Peter N. Ewang
18. Liesel Eiselen
19. Muhammed Fadel Hassen
20. Kenneth Harold
21. Neville Arnold Kerr Gabriel
22. Phillipa Mary Green
23. Moose Lance Merrick Gullabhai Burger
24. Sean James Bosman
25. Neil Hetheringthon
26. Ernest Jacobus Du Preez
27. David Hlahane
28. Jonathan D. Jansen
29. Ronald S. Dyers
30. Michael Lowis
31. Mahmood Mai Mia
32. Thembinkosi Shezi
33. Siphiwe Nodwele
34. Noluthando Gosa
35. Anke Keyser
36. Bheki Khumalo
37. Suzanne Christina Vos
38. Sam Shabalala
39. Erika Klopper
40. Busisiwe Cosby Mbhele
41. Malegapuru William Makgoba
42. Khehla Humphrey Kaizer Khoza
43. Hope Zinde
44. Nomusa Keninde
45. David John Leendertz
46. Lumkile Mkwalo
47. Sello Molefe
48. Goerge Mfundisi Mabalane
49. Merle Constance O’Brien
50. Motsehoa Brenda Madumise
51. Thamagana Maxwell Mojapelo
52. Govan Reddy
53. Letia Mamatedile Makabinyane
54. Pitika Ntuli
55. Gabrielle Thono Magomolo
56. Andile Milton Mbeki
57. Pearl Luci Nomvula Mathibela
58. Christom Y. Mkhize
59. Luka David Mosoma
60. Jane Schafer
61. Viwe Sidali
62. Odette Sonya Roper
63. Goodman Mpilo Simelane
64. Sibongile Shongwe
65. Ailsa Tulloch Muldermont
66. Tebogo Makgatho
67. Gordon Muller
68. Rajendra Kumar Singh
69. Thembela Ngcukaitobi
70. Mitesh Mohantal Patel
71. Paul Mpheleleng Ranyabu
72. Daniel C. A. Venter
73. William Rowland
74. Ian D. Ward
75. Matome Mahasha
76. Marimuthu Subramoney
77. David Harris Lewis
78. Cyprian Malangu Suli Mulenga
79. Celeste Mathews
80. Daniel Plaatjies
81. Dennis Bongani Mkhabela
82. Letebe Maisela
83. Shiela Onkaetso Mmusi
84. Christopher James Moerdyk
85. Bongani Richard Khumalo
86. Rendani Moses Ralinala
87. Lefadi Lucas Makibinyane
88. Rusty van Druten
89. Asodren Sean Moodley
90. Michael le Cordeur
91. Babalwa Ngonyama
92. Nonhlanhla Mabusela
93. Fredirick Johannes Kok
94. Leslie Mckenzie
95. Perumal Palium Pillay
96. Assah Hawu Mbatha
97. Haroum Moolla
98. Richard Harry Norsworthy
99. Jane Barrett
100. Mabutho Kid Sithole
101. Sybrand van der Spuy
102. Celilee Phathudi
103. Nonkosi princess Cetywayo
104. Ryland Fisher
105. Mohau Samuel Mphomela
106. Bangiso Mhlabeni
107. Peter Bayer
108. Len Konar
109. Ntebo Peri
110. Wolhuter Backer
111. Anton de Waal Albertz
112. Jeanette Minnie
113. Sikelelwa Magida
114. Philane Shangase
115. Nwabilorho Joseph Tshawane
116. Wendy van Rensburg
117. Kwanele Gumbi
118. Tina Jaxa
119. David Niddrie
120. Tumisang Reginald Kgaboesele
121. Seeng Catherine Ntsaba-Letele
122. Eric Ntlapo
123. Sithembele Khala
124. Jane Duncan
125. Solomon Bongani Ngubane
126. De Clerq Abraham Johannes
127. Adriaan Louis Riaan Theron
128. Willem Hendrik Weber
129. Clifford Gervase Saunders
130. Naeem Jeenah
131. Mohammed Moegsin Khan
132. David Zukile Rhadebe
133. John Matisson
134. Devandiren Pillay
135. Lumko Caesario
136. Neville Michael Woudberg
137. Nkanyane Makhanyingi Ernest
138. Mandla Mdludlu
139. Tselane Tambo
140. Douglas John Anderson
141. Mpho Phillip Chaka
142. Amanda Buzo-Gqoboka
143. Maishe Maponya
144. Magatho Anthony Mello
145. Conny Keseabetswe Seoposengwe
146. Martin Locke
147. Nkomotane Clifford Motsepe
148. Paul Msibi
149. Joseph Mandla Maseko
150. Zola Luxolo Fihahla
151. Pieter(Petrus Jacobs Andreas) Fourie
152. Evert van Wyk
153. Jack Howard Phalane
154. Gladstone Sandi Baai
155. Janine Moolman
156. Mava Dada
157. Mpho Tsedu
158. Michelle Tager
159. Morutse Edward Tsoane
160. Themba Ximba
161. Mofele Raylock Phokanoka
162. Mazibuko Kanyiso Jara
163. William Gumede
164. Mpumi Gaba
165. Bennitto Motitsoe
166. Lieza Louw
167. Wandile Gxabuza
168. Michael John McCoy
169. Nothemba Simelela
170. Mabogale Oscar Phasha
171. Zoleka Magaret Languza
172. Amrichand Nanackchand
173. Doug Anderson
174. Sembie Danana
175. Clement Mannya
176. Ndyebo Grootboom
177. Faisal Ismail Suliman
178. Elizabeth Mobentle Smith
179. Mbulaheni Obert Maguvhe
180. Thamagana Mojapelo
181. Clare Frances O’Neil
182. Phembelani Mphaphathi
183. Kendall Petersen
184. Vukile Charles Mehana
185. Gazi Paulos Msibi
186. Thobile Nokulunga Margerman
187. Lionel Jean Michel
188. Tsepo Abraham Mosito
189. Hellen Kentse Makgae
190. Tinyiko Samuel Maluleke
191. Khensani Tinyiko Makhobela
192. Omar Moosa
193. Desmond Golding
194. Devi Rajab
195. Lynette Steenveld
196. Isaac Shongwe
197. Barbara Masekela
198. Bulelwa Mfinyezi
199. Christina Landman
200. Danfred James Titus
201. Shadrack Bokaba
202. Van Zly Slabbert
203. Judi Nwokedi
204. Charlene Deacon
205. Glenn Masokoane
206. Baldwin Sipho Ngubane
207. Val Pauquet
208. Lumko Mtimde
209. Shaun Harry
210. Zoyisile Patrick Fefeza
211. Tanja Estella Bosch
212. Ahmed C. Bawa
213. Peter John Harris
214. Nomalanga Rinah Jacquelene Djoge
215. Feleng Lorraine Sekha
216. Cedric Sabelo Gina
217. William Gumede
218. Christopher James Moerdyk
219. Welcome Nzimande(late submission)
220. Zama Qambi(late submission)
221. Bewyn Enver Petersen(late submission)
222. Nikkie Van den Berg
223. Freek Robinson
224. Margot Liuyt
225. Amanda Strydom
226. Mimi Coertse
227. Mamphele Rampele
228. Tim Modise
229. Mark Shuttleworths
230. Johan Botha
231. Gcina Mhlophe
232. Crain Sondien
233. John Pedman
234. Dannie Jordaan
235. Karel Schoeman
236. Barry Ronge
237. Antjie Krogh

Public Service Broadcasting Discussion Document workshop

The Department of Communications will be hosting public consultation workshops regarding the Public Service Broadcasting Discussion Document.

The worksho
ps will be held as follows:


Date: 26 August 2009

Venue: SABC Building, Radio Park, Cnr Artillery & Henley, Auckland Park

Time: 09H00 – 17H00

Western Cape

Date: 28 August 2009

Venue: SABC Building, 209 Beach Road, Sea Point, Cape Town

Time: 09H00 – 17H00

You are thus invited to provide your invaluable input to this important process by participating in the workshops. Please confirm your availability using the contact details below.

Thanking you in advance

Ms Miyelani Khosa | Deputy Director: Broadcasting Policy

cid:image001.png@01C9D939.E7DC2F60+27 12 427 8174 | cid:image002.png@01C9D939.E7DC2F60+27 12 427 8059|e-mail:

399 Duncan Street | iParioli Building| Hatfield | Pretoria | Switchboard: +27 12 427 8000


25 August 2009


In a bid to turn itself around, the SABC has stated it will have to axe planned expenditure on local content amounting to R500-million. Their only option is to fill our screens with a massive schedule of repeat programming, which it has been forced to begin. In light of this the TVIEC is continuing with protest action in a bid to save our stories and our industry.

This week writers and actors will take the lead in a visually powerful guerrilla action to send a stark and shocking message to the SABC that the industry is becoming increasingly angry and increasingly desperate as thousands of skilled labourers are without work in an industry that is crucial to job creation and to the dissemination of our national culture, debate and identity.

We are inviting the media to come and document the action and to engage with a select group of picketers who will be telling their stories. Some core players will be present for interviews. Also present will be Michael Lee – who has embarked on a hunger strike in protest at SABC’s slashing of local content. (Lee has entered his 16th day and now other activists within the industry are planning to join him.)

When and Where
Thursday 27 August from 1pm to 1.30pm outside Radio Park

We want to send a message that a country without a platform for its stories will lose its culture, it's power to educate and its power to entertain. It is the job of the public broadcaster to promote our culture and our stories. We need a responsible SABC that will put together a muscular business plan and streamline its management. We believe that an attempt to turn the SABC around by cutting their key product – programming – will cause irreparable damage to the independent production sector and to the SABC’s credibility.


This press release is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union).

Monday, August 24, 2009


24 August 2009, Johannesburg

Johannesburg producer/director Michael Lee has now entered the third week of eating nothing and drinking only water as a protest in support of local content.

He is taking this action in the face of threats to slash local content by local broadcasters, with fatal consequences for programme diversity and production industry livelihoods.

This actually began as a personal, week-long water fast. Then, on day 2, August 12, the SABC announced what seems to be its turnaround plan: cutting spend on local content next year by over half a billion rand, threatening the death of some of the country's most popular shows, and the survival of much of the TV industry.

This was too much now,” Lee says. “Their solution is to stop making programmes? Isnt that their core business? Making quality shows that build the voice of the nation? What will World Cup visitors see when they turn on our TV?”

So he announced on Facebook his fast was now a protest in support of local content and the response was encouraging. “I decided to see how long I could go. So far, I'm on 15 days. That's twice my original goal. I don't think I've gone 15 hours without food before, but it's not hard. Lots of people do it actually.”

Lee says his method is designed to highlight the inhumanity of the approaches being used by the supposedly public broadcaster and its seeming lack of concern for anything but itself.

The total fast goes back more than 2000 years, mainly as a personal protest against nonpayment of debt, usually on the offender's doorstep,” Lee states (an echo of the SABC’s current debt of millions to independent producers, because of mismanagement and extravagance).

“Over the last 150 years, the fast became a form of individual and collective stance against society-wide unfairness, tyranny, and inhumanity. This action is aimed to highlight local broadcasters' inhuman approach to this situation, and total abdication of their public responsibilities.”

With his protest, Lee is not only highlighting the situation for his friends and colleagues who are struggling to feed their families; he aims also to call attention to the bigger picture: the starving of local content and how that will narrow the public conversation in this country.

Local content is vital to South Africa's identity and economy,” Lee points out.” Slashing local content will violate regulatory mandates, crush diversity that has taken years of sacrifice to achieve, and cause massive job losses and company collapses, reducing the programme makers to a few favored companies cranking out in bulk. Ultimately it's the audience that doesn't get value for their TV licences, and the nation's identity and unity that suffers.”

Lee demands that the SABC put a stop to this devastating plan and commit to a way forward that takes the public and the economy into account.

Lee has called on others who support the cause to join this protest. “Audience, industry, anyone,” he says. “Even for just a day or two. Let's let the broadcaster know in a clear, communal way, we won't tolerate the starving of local content.” He advises such a fast be done under the consultation of a doctor, if it goes longer than two days.

Lee is a board member of the South African Screen Federation (SASFED) and will be in attendance at the action planned at the SABC this Thursday by the Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC).

For more information, contact Khalid Shamis, Co-Secretary, SASFED,, 083 700 0149.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Update on IP meeting with SABC

Dear all,

Myself (Neil Brandt), Thandi and Rehad attended on behalf of the IP subcommittee. Apologies
given for Desiree and Pule.

SABC was represented by Nhalanhla Sibisi, Sabelo Silinga and Webster Mfebe.

SARRAL and SAMRO where there but did they did not really contribute. CWU was
also represented.

After much heated discussion the following has been agreed;

1) SABC will provide a written point by point response to the
commissioned IP reports final recommendations. We thought that this was the
point of this meeting but we never made it to any substantive issues as
discussion was primarily around process. This will be received by September
1st. The IP committee should do the same. I will do a first draft for

2) We shall meet again on the 15th September to briefly respond to each
other's positions, but main purpose of this meeting will be to set the
agenda and "ringfence" the issues that will be the subject of an intensive 2
day workshop between the SABC and the IP subcommittee. I imagine this will
happen around the end of September. This will be critical, as the real meat
of what it means to share ownership will be fleshed out. SABC will insist
that all affected stakeholders will also participate in this meeting.

3) Out of this workshop we should have draft positions on the table
that will be put to the industry at an IP Indaba. It is my strong
recommendation that we utilize the resources that the GFC has to host an
industry Indaba to dovetail with this. I am recommending to the GFC that the
main focus of the INDABA (whether we like it or not they are going ahead so
lets make the best of it - currently planned for November) be IP and how
this relates to building a sustainable industry. This can work on a basic
training level for producers on IP, but more importantly also to use the
forum to bring all stakeholders together to negotiate a win-win situation
for the, bring the DTI, CIPRO, SAMRO, NFVF, SABC, SASFED, IPO
ect to the table with pre planned solutions with a view to really once and
for all finding a way that we can work together seamlessly and unlock

4) All the above based on the premise that SABC willing to contract out
of the Commissioning Exception. A parallel process should be undertaken in
which we tackle the long-term vision of changing the relevant laws.

Input welcomed.

Neil Brandt

TVIEC slogans

Dear All TV Industry colleagues

Since the fantastic marches in JHB and Cape Town we have held back from calling any direct action. With the imminent threat that will see 70% reduction in spend on commissioning we have no option to keep up the pressure on the SABC to make an appropriate application for a short term finance plan to the DOC/ Treasury who if accepted will put it to parliament. This will only happen if we are able to bring to the attention of the public and their elected representatives the very real consequences of such a cut. We cannot accept our local content quota’s being met by SA corporate funding who then determine who tells our stories and how our stories are told. Our rallying call for a plurality and diversity of voice has to be defended.

To this end we have some planned activity for next week that we need to build support for - get people out to attend. In addition we are planning action for the following week which we need assistance to pull off.

Furthermore Cape Town need to plan an action outside parliament – and attend the interviews for the SABC Board we need to send a message through our presence that they are being watched.

Joburg TVIEC protest action comm. meeting at Atlas Studio Thursday 20th August 4 pm sharp boardroom – this is a task orientated meeting. Please attend if you can help.

Some ideas for slogans

Bail Out Now

for SABCs 24 million viewers

Bail Out for SABC or Bail Out of Viewers

SABC is Public Service that requires support

Advertising Funded Programmes is not the answer

Editorial integrity under threat by Advertising Programmes

Only public funding can guarantee editorial integrity

A CEO for SABC who is a champion of local story telling

We need ideas for slogans.

Rehad Desai

Further Update on SABC Payment 17 August 2009

Dear Producers,

Following our meeting with the SABC this morning and in response to the queries raised with them around verifications, please note that a special email has been set up and that your enquiries should be sent to The email address will be up and running tomorrow (Tuesday) from midday.

We have consolidated the SABC and TVIEC lists to form one list from which we will work moving forward.

Critical Issues for you as Producers:

1. You need to contact Mandy Branch (use the email address above) to ascertain where in the verification process you stand i.e. what is still outstanding that you need to get to the SABC in order to settle 100%? If this is not done, you will default to a 50% claim, with a further 90 days in which to provide the relevant information so that you can claim the balance owing to you. This has been confirmed by the SABC (one of the queries listed in our earlier mail to them).
2. Category 1 companies/payments have been granted an extension to 19 August 2009 for their submissions.
3. Please ensure that you obtain copies of the bank statements for the production periods. This is critical.
4. We’re awaiting a checklist of deliverables from the SABC which we will forward to you. This will allow you to “tick boxes” against production deliverables so that verification is not further frustrated by a “technicality” e.g. music cue sheets, assets, etc
5. We’re awaiting an SABC revert regarding the date that the invoices must carry (SAP-related issue). We will share this with you as soon as we have word.
6. Interest will be paid, but will be dealt with as a separate issue and invoice.
7. Royalties and repeats will be dealt with separately but is on the agenda.
8. We have asked that the one-on-one meetings with Mvuso and Henk be provisionally rescheduled from the 22nd of August to the 29th of August. We await confirmation of this date. We will inform you, within the next few days, of the process for the scheduling of these meetings.

Levern Engel

Monday, August 17, 2009

Local TV Producer Michael Lee on hunger strike against SABC



Johannesburg-based TV producer/director Michael Lee is now entering the second week of a fast in which he is not eating anything, only drinking water. He is doing this in support of local content, the importance of it to South Africa's identity, and the attacks on it by local broadcasters.

Usually it's called a hunger strike but I prefer hunger protest or protest fast. Whatever you call it, this form of non-violent action against injustice has a long, noble history, dating back at least to India in 750 BC, as well as Medieval Ireland. It was used as a method to publically shame a person in order to recover debts or for otherwise wronging the protestor. Only in the 20th century did it become used primarily as a political statement to challenge the inhumanity of tyrannical governments.
Usually when we think of hunger strikes we think of Gandhi and Bobby Sands. Gandhi never went longer than 21 days in his several protest fasts, based entirely on a principle of non-violence, and died later of an assassin's bullet. Bobby Sands was an IRA soldier who starved to death after 66 days (along with 9 other comrades). Both of them, as well as the thousands of other recorded hunger protestors were aiming at the same results: raise awareness, increase public outrage.

I am not comparing myself to Gandhi or Bobby Sands. I'm not saying our cause is the same magnitude as an entire nation's liberty. And this is by no means an action against the SABC only, although the SABC is certainly at the center of it. Its turnaround plan to get it out of crisis is to save half a billion rand on local content, by stopping commissioning of new programs, cutting more than 70% of those commissioned last year, and bundling production into a few very large companies, wiping out the hard work of building hundreds of small companies over the past few years.

Good business sense?

Perhaps. But the SABC is a public broadcaster that must meet regulatory mandates. Let's look at the impacts:

Since democracy, it has been law that a rich local voice reflecting the spectrum of the nation must be maintained. There is no way under the current plan that the SABC can meet this mandate.
The local production industry is a significant contributor to the economy, as each production also employs many companies from other sectors. Broadcasters are mandated to grow this sector. The diversity of this same sector, providing exactly that diverse voice, is about to be crushed out. Producers, directors, writers, actors, and many many others are finding it impossible to feed their families.
The already restrictive policies on intellectual property make it impossible for the producer to raise additional money for the projects, and thus keep the quality of local programs low by international standards. Amidst the “crisis”, this issue is not being addressed.

So in a way, perhaps this IS about South Africa's freedom, after all.

My demands


Treat the local production industry with respect, as a partner.
Stop making promises that don't get met.
Commit to solutions to the crisis that don't destroy the local industry and the viewer's experience.
Make agreements with us that are legally binding.
Act with maturity, integrity, and compassion.

The details of all that, I will leave to organisations doing great work on these issues, such as the TVIEC, the IPO and SASFED.

My request

I am calling on others to join me in this protest. Just stop eating. I'm blogging on it at SangoNet if you want to keep track. I also have lots of references and research about fasting. It's really not so bad actually. I've only lost about 2 kg so far. Join in. You can do it.

Women Of the Sun Producer Seminar - with Angus Finney

Producer Seminar - with Angus Finney

Date: Thurs, 20 August 2009 Venue: Atlas Studios Time: 9:30am for 10:00am

Cost: Women R100, Men R150 RSVP: with Eve 072 143 1825 /

The NFVF has been running a high level producer course led by Angus Finney and Women of the Sun have now obtained Finney's services to share some of his secrets in this very special one off Seminar.

Producers who are aiming to make films for both local and international audiences should not miss this rare chance to participate and learn about the business of film from one of the world's experts.

Angus Finney has been MD of Renaissance Films, a UK-based development, production, financing and sales company a leading international sales company, has executive produced many films incl. Neil Armfield’s CANDY staring Heath Legder (Official Selection, Berlin 2006). And now runs London's premier film finance market, the PFM. Finney has been involved in the raising of more than $120m towards independent film production over the past decade.

Participants should realise that the value of the seminar is made even more worthwhile by the notes/MBA style course pack, which is worth the fee even before they have benefited from the actual seminar.

WoS seminars are aimed particularly to empower women filmmakers, bringing our members together to learn and network, but we encourage all producers both female and male and of all levels to attend.

The Seminar
· The Film Value Chain
· Creative material selection
· Project Management
· Financial Packaging Business models and business plan
An MBA style pack will also be available to the attendees. This will cover a range of key issues on international film business.

The Participants

This seminar is aimed at SA producers of:

· local Film & television product drama and documentary;

· international product, that could find TV distribution/multi platforms in key territories beyond SA/Africa, and

· international feature films (including documentaries that cross over to theatrical) that require non-SA financing for distribution and exploitation on a world-wide basis.
Booking Details
Pay at the door or to:
Women of the Sun
Bank: Nedbank,
Branch: Killarney
Acc no. 1916 074804

Out In Africa Film Festival - Meet the guests and help raise funds for OIA

Fabulous opportunity to Meet the Guests and help raise funds for the Festival

Out In Africa has a number of functions during the Festival – usually only for our guest filmmakers and funders. This year, in an effort to raise funds for the Festival and to make our social events less exclusive, we are offering Festival patrons the opportunity for ‘quality time’ with our guests.... at a price. There will be 10 places available at each event.

They are as follows:


Sunday 6 September:
Lunch at a really gorgeous country venue about 45 minutes outside of Johannesburg. The repast includes a three course buffet meal and wine in a relaxed atmosphere from noon to 3pm. Dress code is casual. R650 per person. Up to date 8333 members are eligible for a 10% discount. Bookings close Friday 28 August.

Tuesday 8 September: A buffet dinner at the Residence of the Ambassador of Argentina, in Pretoria. This will be a glittering event with a guest list of queer who’s who, diplomats, OIA funders and guests. Queer and mainstream press will be invited to cover the event. Dress code is smart casual. R850 per couple. Up to date 8333 members are eligible for a 10% discount. Bookings close Tuesday 1 September.

Wednesday 9 September: A three course dinner, with wine, at an exclusive restaurant at Montecasino, from 7pm to 9.30pm. Again, all Festival filmmaker guests will be in attendance, as well as a number of funders and diplomats. Dress code is smart casual. R650 per person. Up to date 8333 members are eligible for a 10% discount. Bookings close Tuesday 1 September.

Details for the Cape Town event on Sunday 13 September will be available shortly.

* If you are interested please email to book your place. Please write “Meet the Guests” in the subject line of your email and, of course, the event / date and how many you wish to book for in the body of the mail. Please include your cell number.

* Reservations will be confirmed upon payment. If you are not already an 8333 member you will automatically become one and you will be eligible for give-aways throughout the year, and you will receive an invitation to the 2010 Opening Night in either city, after which your membership will lapse. 8333 membership can be renewed by visiting 8333 on our website

* Cancellations will be refunded if submitted 10 days before the event.

Opening Nights in JHB and CT
Please note – if you are not on our guest list for Opening Nights this year, we have made 100 tickets available to the public. Tickets are R100. This includes the Opening (Pieter-Dirk Uys is the speaker), the film and the reception afterwards. OIA Opening Night invitations for JHB will go out today. Bookings for Opening Night will be open next week, Monday 17 August.

Bookings for all other screenings are already open.

Best wishes
OIA Team




Dear All,

Following a meeting with the SABC around payments, we have finally reached a point where a proposed payment schedule, which takes cognizance of the SABC’s cashflow situation, has been put forward as well as a set of underlying principles that will govern the payments schedule. The SABC contact person for verification and payment related issues, is Mandy Branch, (x6764) at Office 1926, SABC Radio Park Building. Any queries regarding verification, your payments as well as your invoices (as part of the final verification process) will need to be delivered to her.

In short, the SABC has finalised a list of companies to whom monies are owed. They have categorised these companies according to both amounts owed and the “age” of the debt.

The proposed principles governing the payments schedule sees the smaller numbers being cleared early with larger amounts being pushed to later in the year when they anticipate they will begin to feel the benefit of the cost-cutting measures they’re proposing. Please bear in mind that this is directly linked to the SABC’s cash flow situation. We raised the issue that while there are numerous payments in category 1 (individual payments that amount to under R50k), the bulk of the larger payments sit in schedule 5 and 6 and are scheduled to happen in November/December, this may prove to be a challenge. For this reason, individual companies will need to use the one-on-one meeting with Mvuso (more about this later in the mail) as a platform not only to clear disputes on individual projects, but to present a strong argument for payments to be expedited i.e. that the principle of the categories is wavered in order to prevent a company from going under. This will however be assessed on a case by case basis and will not include the steering committee.

The broad principles governing verification and final settlement of outstanding debt are as follows …

On each production (and where it is appropriate):

@ All assets as stated must have been/must be returned to the SABC.

@ All reports including the relevant supporting documents to be received by the SABC by each due date (these dates are contained in the attached powerpoint presentation).

@ All verifications to be finalised by the set deadlines, if information is not received by the set deadline then SABC will pay 50% of the outstanding amount in full and final settlement.

@ If report is received with all the relevant supporting documents by the SABC in line with the timeline, including the return of assets, and the verification is not finalised by the set deadline, then SABC will pay in full on condition that all the assets and bank statements have been received.

@ If there is under-spend on a delivered programme, the SABC will pay 50% of the savings in line with contract and the principles above.

The steering committee has reverted to the SABC with the following queries:

@ SABC and producers need consensus on the verification process i.e. how do the individual companies know that they have been verified. This is not clear.

@ We’ve made a request for individual companies to meet/speak with Mandy Branch to facilitate this process before their submissions on the 19th and certainly before their one-on-one’s with Mvuso and Henk on the 22nd of August 2009.

@ We’ve asked for clarity on how companies outside of Johannesburg be dealt with in terms of the one-on-ones?

@ In the slide 4 of the powerpoint presentation made last week Friday by the SABC, it states that all verifications to be finalised by the set deadlines, and that if information is not received by the set deadline then SABC will pay 50% of the outstanding amount in full and final settlement. Our understanding from the discussion on the day is that SABC would pay 50% in good faith and that the producer would have the opportunity later on to make an argument for the remaining 50%. We’ve asked for clarity on this.

@ We have raised the issue of interest and await a response.

@ The deadline for the submission for Category 1 has lapsed. We’ve request that this deadline for submission be extended to the 19th of August as per Category 2.

Moving forward ….

1. Payments have been categorized and scheduled so that outstanding payments can be dealt with between now and the end of January 2010. Please find attached a power point presentation which outlines the various categories.
2. Any verification disputes that individual companies have, must be submitted in writing (concise and succinct please) to Mvuso Mbebe, copying Mandy Branch and Hank Lamberts no later than the 18th of August 2009. Please ensure that all your documentation is in order and that your submission will not be rejected on the basis of a technicality (this is critical and a part of the process which you need to take extra care with. Please be organized).
3. Individual companies need to schedule one-on-one meetings with Mvuso Mbebe for the 22nd of August 2009 (Saturday) in which verification disputes will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and a decision taken within the meeting to “unblock” payments. Please note that your preliminary submissions must be in by the 18th of August.

It has been a long and arduous process, but we are slowly making headway. It is essential that we all understand that we are willing to travel this road with the SABC, but until we see concrete results and some form of resolution to the payments crisis, we do not endorse the proposed plan. Having said as much, the reality is that it is the only workable and reasonable plan for the moment.

If you have any queries, please feel free to call and discuss. Your TVIEC contact person is Levern Engel. Her contact details are as follows:

Mobile: 083 629 0831

Landline: (011) 799-2200



This letter is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union).

Friday, August 14, 2009

WIFTSA Women’s Film Festival

Women in Film and Television South Africa (WIFTSA) will be hosting its third annual women’s film festival on the 27th August 2009 starting at 6pm at the Alliance Francaise, 155 Loop Street, Cape Town.

‘Step Into the Spotlight’

The evening will consist of a variety of inspiring films making up two hours of viewing enjoyment. The festival features a variety of genres, including documentary and animation created by a mixture of talented newcomers and established filmmakers. The films will be in English or an African language with English subtitles. We will also be holding a Q&A session with some of the Directors/Producers so that you can find out how their films were made from initial concept through to final completion.

This is the only film festival focused on promoting films made by and about women in South Africa. It is a vital showcase for the achievements of local women filmmakers. Other than being a platform for women filmmakers and offering them crucial exposure, the event also inspires up-and-coming women filmmakers and helps them to visualize what is possible. Held in Women’s which is women’s month, the film festival is designed to celebrate women’s accomplishments.

WIFTSA is delighted to be supported by the Alliance Francaise who will provide their welcoming creative space for our screening.

WIFTSA’s Background:
Women in Film and Television South Africa was founded in 2005 and has grown steadily into an active organization focused on providing a professional platform for women in the film and television industry to network and learn. WIFTSA is an inclusive organization for women of all backgrounds. Our members work at all levels of the industry - from the owners of production companies to directors, entertainment lawyers, actresses, camerawomen, make-up artists and students. As an affiliate of WIFT International, a group that spans 14 countries and has over 10 000 members, WIFTSA offers its members access to contacts all over the world.
(for more background on WIFTSA please refer to our website

Please join us for what promises to be a great evening.
R.S.V.P. to

Durban plans film mart for 2010

The Durban Film Festival has stepped in to fill the film market void created by the 2007 demise of the Sithengi Film and Television Market, South Africa’s leading mart.
by Christelle de Jager

Organizers of the Durban fest announced this week that its 2010 event would feature the first Durban FilmMart, an international co-production market for Africa.

The Sithengi mart, held in Cape Town, was cancelled because of financial difficulties after its 11th edition.

The Durban Film Office and Durban fest said they had been planning the new market for 18 months.

The aim is to give African filmmakers the opportunity to pitch projects to financiers and world sales agents, as well as get feedback from internationally reputed directors and producers in order to form alliances for future collaborations.

"We envisage the establishment of an international co-production market that has the potential to act as a key driver in raising the visibility of film from the African continent," said DFO chief executive Toni Monty.

Peter Rorvik, director of the fest’s Center for Creative Arts, said by providing a funding and co-production forum, the Durban FilmMart aimed to redress the paucity of film production on the continent and make a contribution to film financing and industry development "in a time where stability and growth is sadly sporadic."

Organizers said the support of the city of Durban had been secured for the event, which it was hoped would help establish the vibrant southeastern coastal city, home to filmmaker Anant Singh’s Videovision Entertainment, as a leading South African filmmaking destination.

The Durban fest is the longest-running international film festival in South Africa and has grown in popularity over the years.

Last month’s 30th edition drew a record number of visitors, despite the fact that there were 26 less screenings this year due to a cut in funding. There were 5,500 more visitors than last year, with a total attendance of 22,471 people at the 280 screenings, said Rorvik, with workshop and seminar attendance also up.

Help save the industry

Dear Colleagues, Comrades, Friends,

I have been dismayed at the very muted response from the industry to
potentially the greatest crisis we ever faced. The SABC will spend R500
million less on independent production this year and next, effectively
bringing our industry to a standstill for this period and beyond, most of us
won't survive.

We have one shot at reversing this we have to lobby, protest, shout, scream
and demand that government intervene and insure the survival of our
industry. We don't have much time and we need every single one of you to
participate, we need your energy, ideas and support. If this happens I'm
confident we can get government to listen to us.

Robbie Thorpe

Thursday, August 13, 2009


13 AUGUST 2009

August 4 mass meeting
New protest action
New report-back system
Press release August 12

August 4 Mass Meeting

At the August 4 mass meeting of the TVIEC, the steering committee reported back on our meetings and dealings with the minister, SABC operations and the SABC interim board. The protest march and subsequent lobbies have given us a powerful voice – but the struggle for a new SABC has only just begun.

As was reported at that meeting, the SABC seems intent on slashing local production over the next year as a means of saving money. See the press release at the end of this document for our position on these proposed measures.

Our industry is facing yet another very serious crisis and we have decided that we have no option but to continue with our protest action strategy.

Next Protest Action

Within the next few weeks the TVIEC will be staging a guerrilla theatre protest action at SABC. This will be a mediation and picket, not a mass protest action. The plan is to stage industrial theatre that depicts the death of local stories and local content. Media will be invited to document the action and to interview picketers. We need to keep the pressure on.

The plan is to stage similar protests regularly after this. We are urgently calling on TVIEC members to join us. Bring us ideas for protest pieces and help the protest committee stage these. We need volunteers to join us on 20 August for a meeting to plan the protest action.

Writers and actors, express your outrage at the SABC’s killing off of local content. We need passionate individuals to join the pickets and speak to the media about their concerns. Contact Charl on 082-6813680 if you can help.

As the protests continue, the thrust will increasingly be on job losses. Actors, writers, service providers and crew need to come forward and tell their stories. The focus will also be on viewers. Soon SABC will be serving us a diet of repeats. Do you have any ideas on how to engage with the issue of viewers? Let us know.

Reporting Back: A New System

It is proving difficult to effectively report back to TVIEC members and affiliates on the myriad meetings and lobbies that we are engaged in – such as nominations for the new SABC board and issues of payment and operations at SABC.

We are proposing that each member body of the TVIEC nominates two to four people that can meet with us for report backs. They will then report back to their members. Please can you nominate members and let us know by mailing us on

12 August 2009


The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) is raising a red flag in alarm at the proposal by the SABC to freeze, cancel and delay various local productions in order to cut costs.

As per the SABC’s 2008 Request for Proposals (RFPs) from the independent production sector, we have been informed that only 12 out of the 47 productions due to have been incepted in April 2009 will be going ahead this year. The balance will be delayed or cancelled. There will be no 2009 RFPs for production in 2010. Furthermore, numerous existing/renewable contracts have been postponed or deferred.

This appears to be the turn-around plan that has been proposed to the interim board. If implemented, the move will save the SABC an estimated R500-million over the next year. Instead of the SABC creating a viable new business plan, the independent production sector will end up taking the hit for the broadcaster’s internal mismanagement. While the SABC will appear to have a quick turn-around, the impact has deep consequences that the industry, viewers, and next board will have to face:

• Companies will close and many will find themselves in debt and potentially liquidated as they had geared for the anticipated annual work flow. Only a very few big production companies with long running soaps will be able to survive.
• The substantial investment made by SABC in training and developing new entrants in the industry will be lost – people will have to find other employment.
• Key creative talent will migrate and be lost. This is no small issue – producers, writers and directors take years to develop and are pivotal to production success.
• Suppliers and facilities will be forced to sell off equipment – most likely outside of the country – which will leave the local industry with an increasingly smaller pool of suppliers, pushing up prices etcetera.
• The SABC will enter into a schedule of repeats (which has already started) even in prime time slots, thus directly affecting audiences and very likely future revenue. As viewers decrease, so do advertising rates. Surely this must also have serious effect on the SABC meeting its ICASA requirements – but no reliable quota statistics are forthcoming from either the broadcaster or the regulator. Furthermore, the TVIEC is concerned about how and when repeat fees will be paid – given the fact that final payments have still not been made on some of the properties that are now going to be repeated!
• What happens to the SABC staff employed to commission, oversee and work on the many productions that will be cancelled and deferred? Will they be retrenched as part of the cost saving exercise too?

In addition we are being informed that the SABC intends to “bulk commission” local programming to further reduce costs. While we can see that this may provide some savings, we highlight that it will only serve to grow a handful of production companies that have capacity to manage bulk. These are mainly established facility owner/producer companies and will most likely advantage the already advantaged. We believe this goes against the very spirit of the SABC’s commitment to diversity and developing the industry – as well as ICASA’s recommendations. Bulk commissioning is a dangerous notion of cost savings as it is not applicable to all genres (eg drama or documentary) and will thus start to shape the type of content the SABC puts on air – cheap and studio-based. It is also open to abuse and inappropriate commissioning. We are concerned that there are already discussions on bulk commissioning taking place with large facility/producer companies, and that open and fair tender will by bypassed.

We believe that an attempt to turn the SABC around by cutting their key product – programming – will cause irreparable damage to the independent production sector and to the SABC’s credibility. In our view this can be likened to an airline making a saving by buying less fuel. Cost savings must be made from areas of fat or that are non-core to the SABC’s business. Programming is at the core of their offering to viewers. We strongly oppose this process.

We are of the view that the SABC should be looking at a combination of selling off non-core assets, downscaling internal units that have been overstaffed, cutting back on unnecessary spending in non-program areas and applying for funding in the form of a bail-out or a loan whilst implementing long term cost savings within its business models.

The TVIEC will continue to campaign. We will lobby all stakeholders and mobilize public opinion for a short term policy intervention which will require Treasury to allocate additional budget to the SABC in 2009 so that its anticipated schedule of local content can be produced.


This letter is written on behalf of the TVIEC (Television Industry Emergency Coalition) which consists of: IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance), DFA (Documentary Filmmakers Association), WGSA (Writers Guild of South Africa) as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union).

Friday, August 7, 2009

From GFC: DOC invites comments on Public Service Broadcasting Discussion Paper

Article from the Gauteng Film Commission

The Department of Communications (DOC) has gazetted the Public Service Broadcasting Discussion Document as a process towards the amendment of the Broadcasting Act and is calling on interested persons to furnish comments on the discussion paper.

In fulfilling its mandate of developing an overarching policy framework for the broadcasting industry, the DOC is embarking on a policy process that is aimed at developing a comprehensive approach to the policy framework for public service broadcasting in South Africa.

The primary purpose of the discussion document is to give all stakeholders an opportunity to inform the process. It is envisaged that the public engagement process will result in the publication of a Public Service Broadcasting Bill to eventually repeal the Broadcasting Act.

The closing date for comment is 20 August 2009.

For more information click here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

SABC - PRODUCTION INSURANCE - An industry objection 5.8.09

Production insurance is an absolute necessity for risk management of any production.

Throughout the world Film and TV productions are financed with a simple proviso that the production will have FPI (Film Producers Insurance), which is a standard line item in any budget. There are only a handful of insurers that specialise in this;

The SABC insists that they will provide the insurance cover for any SABC commissioned production directly through their own supplier who offers them bulk discounts.

The requirement by the SABC that producers must accept insurance through the SABC’s insurers is extremely problematic for the production sector because there is a direct conflict of interest in risk management. (Note this was implemented approx 2 years ago and has never been needed in the past as contracts required producers to take appropriate FPI cover)

Producers sign an SABC contract that we accept all risk and that we will deliver on time, within budget, etc. However we have no control over the insurance which is managed by the SABC – so if claims are not paid on time, or the SABC defaults on a payment and thus leaves the producers uninsured – the producer de facto carries double risk. It is the producer who has to carry the burden and risk with no recourse to the insurer or SABC

An Example of this is recently a well respected production company has been sued by a vehicle rental company as the SABC insurance has not paid a claim. The producer had to sign personal surety and is thus now personally liable.

As it currently stands, the producer cannot elect to use an alternative insurer and receive better cover or a more competitive service. As the SABC has made itself the “processor” or “conduit” for any claims, the producer carries the risk whilst the SABC wrangles with the insurer. The producer once again is at risk and has no control.

The SABC in many instances may not have any incentive to help process a claim on behalf of a producer, their employees and/or contractors as the SABC’s overall discounted insurance arrangement could be adversely affected by any such claim and more importantly, the SABC has not personally suffered any loss. It should be noted that the SABC’s current Terms of Trade have several onerous indemnities to avert any risk which the SABC may be exposed to and accordingly the IPO is of the view that there is a low risk to the SABC.

Also producers sign all contracts with cast, crew and suppliers. In the event that the SABC defaults on insurance – the producer is 100% liable to all its contractual obligations and thus sue-able. So if a person is hurt on our set, we are liable. If the SABC insurance defaults – we have no recourse as we are not the primary holder of the policy.

When the SABC insurance office does not manage paperwork or flow, we are vulnerable – it is an individual’s word that they submitted, etc. It is untenable to have a hands-off relationship with the insurer.

For as long as the risk lies with the producer, the more significant the risk, the more prejudicial the possible outcome to the producer in the event of non-payment of a claim.

Also, there is a concern around turnaround time from submission of claim to payment of such claim. Some companies have waited for over a year for payment (EG: Moja is currently awaiting payment for an incident that occurred on 10 October 2008. “We filed a claim that day. The SABC was completely non-responsive – not a word, not a mail. We eventually dealt directly with the insurance company. We are still awaiting payment, but there has been some communication this week.”)

The nature of production is that we often need to make last minute changes to schedules to accommodate availability of actors, location problems, weather etc. This requires an extremely flexible and personal relationship with an insurer based on trust and personal track record.

Professional producers build relationships with insurers that enable them to get production matters covered instantly, sometimes in the middle of the night. Claims are also processed within particular parameters which producers have managed to negotiate to minimise their risk and exposure. And if a chosen insurer does not meet such needs, they can be changed.

Managing ones risk is a very personal choice.

Even the banks are not allowed to force a homeowner to use their insurer when they lend you money to buy a house. They can insist you have adequate cover – but they cannot force you to take their cover.

We believe the current approach by the SABC is anti-competitive. However, it has not been our intention to create a forum for conflict – in fact we have now tried to make the SABC insurance work for 2 years. But this has just reaffirmed for us the dangers of the current situation

If the SABC is to insist on its insurers being used, then it should similarly be prepared to assume the risk in the case where a claim is not met within a reasonable time period - 3 months. Also, the SABC must then not request producers to accept all risk for delivery. However, the SABC will argue that it has no control over the production and cannot accept the risk. Similarly, producers will argue that they have no control over the claims procedure and more importantly, if claims are run through the SABC and any administrative error occurs, then an insurer may repudiate a claim and the producer may be liable for the risk where there is a fault on the part of the SABC. This will entail unnecessary, costly and protracted litigation to try to resolve that issue. This creates an untenable situation for all.

It is not only about money and risk but about service levels as well. Producers are often able to secure and make arrangements quickly and efficiently and deal with the claims on particular merits where a globular policy can never provide the same level of satisfaction. This is also a key aspect of insurance arrangements.

As such we request that this matter be discussed at the highest levels as a matter of urgency and that we be allowed to manage our own risk.

NOTE: We are not averse to the SABC having a selection of insurers that are preferential service providers to SABC at a competitive rate and that producers may chose any one of them at such rate This allows us to keep them competitive and responsive. But we must also be allowed to choose our own insurer and pay in any difference in rate.

An example of increased risk to prod co’s.

One of our members had 2 productions for which insurance was provided by SABC. In both cases, they had not received any confirmation or any other documentation from SABC confirming that they were covered.

In one instance, they requested if a presenter had to go for a medical test. The SABC office was unable to help, and instead they referred the prod co to the underwriter, GIB Insurance. While talking to GIB the prod co found out that even though they had submitted their Insurance form to SABC weeks prior, the insurance company had not received any information, and therefore could not confirm that the production was covered.

Note: We believe the micro management with regards things like insurance and how the independent producer manages his risks undermines the producer’s independent status and could lead an inexperienced producer unwittingly to reckless trading.