Monday, August 17, 2009




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).