Thursday, November 26, 2009

CT TV Marches for Freedom!

26 November 2009

CTV marches for freedom

Supporters of Cape Town TV (CTV) marched on Parliament yesterday to demand government support for the channel, and for community broadcasting in general. The marchers, most of whom were drawn from CTV’s membership base of NGOs and unions, staged a colourful procession through the CBD to the gates of Parliament.

A memorandum stating their grievances and demands was handed to the Secretary of Parliament, Zingile Dingani , by the Chairperson of the CTV Board, Martin Jansen. CTV is fighting to remain on air in the face of several threats to its existence.

Says Jansen, “The state is not maintaining the vision of democracy that we fought for when we defeated apartheid. Today the government favours the interests of big capital ahead of those of the people. We have to fight for our right to communicate and to keep community television on air.”

CTV is demanding the following actions from government:
That CTV is not switched off when ICASA licenses a new cell phone TV operator next year but that a frequency is allocated to carry the channel.
The creation of a interim support fund for existing community TV stations, in addition to the speedy implementation of the Public Broadcasting Fund.
That Sentech provides CTV with a good quality signal and transmission for free or at a significantly reduced rate.
That community TV is protected during and after the migration to digital terrestrial television.

There are several factors that now directly threaten the existence of community television stations, and CTV is calling on the South African government to meet its commitments to a real developmental state by keeping community television alive.

Firstly ICASA intends to switch off all community TV stations in South Africa next year because of the migration to digital broadcasting. Government structures have no clear plan in place to secure community TV’s space on the airwaves when digital broadcasting arrives. Community television cannot continue to broadcast on analogue frequencies when viewers are switching over to digital television; and ICASA has only provided space on digital multiplex 1 to the Christian broadcaster TBN, which has a community television license. There is also no clarity on how other community television channels can be accommodated on local or national multiplexes.

Funding for community television is another urgent issue. Recently CTV had to go off air because it could not afford to pay the commercial rates charged by the state-owned signal provider, Sentech. Government funding is vital for this type of public service television to survive without being unduly commercialised.

CTV supports the proposed Public Broadcasting Fund, but it could take years for community TV to benefit from it. In the meantime community television stations are under constant threat of being cut off. Government must address the issue of funding community television now in order to secure the people’s right to communicate and to receive the information they need for community development.

Licensing is a third factor. Community TV operators struggle to attract financial support because they are licensed through one year “temporary” licenses, which means they are not seen as secure long-term investment prospects. The licensing period must be longer for community TV to be sustainable – and this must be effected much sooner than 2012, when the envisaged seven-year ‘class’ licenses may come into effect.

Comments Jansen, “Most citizens are simply not aware of these threats to community television and have not made their voices heard. If we want to save community TV as the people’s voice, it is critical that we stand up for our right to communicate.”

For further information, contact CTV Chairperson Martin Jansen on 021 447 2727 or Karen Thorne on 021 447 8377.


Supporting Public Broadcasting - The official position of former SAVE OUR SABC campaign


25 NOVEMBER 2009


The SOS Coalition, representing trade unions, media NGOs, independent producers, academics and freedom of expression activists welcomes the fact that the SABC has been given government guarantees. The SABC is suffering from serious liquidity problems, and the guarantees should enable the Corporation to borrow money more easily and cheaply. The easing of liquidity problems should create the space for the SABC to be stabilised and restored to a sound financial footing. One of the key tasks of the interim Board was to ensure this stabilization. It appears that significant progress has been made in this direction.

Going forward it is important to ensure that any public money drawn down is well spent. Again SOS is supportive of the fact that the initial R1 billion will be made available immediately but that the remaining R473m will be dependent on the development of a detailed project plan that commits the SABC to explicit revenue targets and cost cutting measures. This is important – the SABC needs to be held to account.

However, SOS believes that the SABC is not an ordinary state owned enterprise. It has special position in our society as an institution committed to the deepening of democracy through the expression of a rich diversity of views, voices and political perspectives. It is thus important that the shareholder compact – that will be signed between the new SABC board and the Minister of Communications - is focused on ensuring the effective and efficient spending of this public money. The compact should not dictate the vision of the SABC – or influence issues of editorial independence. From a good governance and democratic perspective, this compact should be made public to ensure adequate transparency. Further, going forward, we believe that government should move to de-corporatising the SABC. We have put forward proposals calling for it to be transformed into constitutionally protected Chapter 9 institution such as the Human Rights Commission. In future then it would be unnecessary for the SABC to sign a shareholder compact with the Minister of the government of the day.

We believe rather that it is essential that key oversight structures are strengthened including Parliament and ICASA. We believe the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications needs to strengthen its rigour and oversight role as regards the scrutinizing of the SABC’s corporate plans, annual reports and financials. Further it is essential that ICASA holds the SABC to account in terms of its Charter and license conditions. As SOS we believe this clarity of roles coupled with the strengthening of governance and oversight structures is absolutely critical to the SABC’s good health going forward.

For more information please contact;

Kate Skinner – SOS Coordinator – 082-926-6404
Tawana Kupe – Dean of the Faculty of Humanities – 078 459-6041
William Bird – Director Media Monitoring Africa – 082-887-1370

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Broadcaster gets its State bail-out

South African Communique
25 November 2009

Broadcaster gets its State bail-out

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda announced on 24 November 2009 that the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) will receive a state bail – out of R1, 473billion. This follows the approval by the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. “We hope that the financial injection by government will help the SABC meet its urgent needs, such as payment of outstanding of debts and other matters of priority,” Nyanda said. Department of Treasury said R1 billion will be made available immediately and the remaining R473-million will be subject to the broadcaster presenting a plan with clear revenue targets and cost-cutting measures, to enable effective oversight and monitoring.

Interim SABC board chairwoman Irene Charnley said the interim board had already started identifying cost-cutting measures and putting in place governance systems to guard against wasteful expenditure. Cost – cutting measures and a turn-around strategy implemented by the interim board in the past four months had saved the corporation R65million. Communications ministry spokesman Tiyani Rikhotso said the intervention would help stabilise the SABC after prolonged periods of uncertainty among staff members and the public.


MISA-SA Information Officer
Tumelo Tshabalala
Tell: 011 339 6767
Fax: 011 339 9888
Cell: 082 7156 927

Community TV to close down for mobile TV

South Africa Communiqué
25 November 2009

Community TV to close down for mobile TV

A number of community television stations around South Africa are set to lose their frequency and may have to close. Cape Town's community television channel (CTV), received a letter from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), stating that various community television stations had been issued temporary licences, due to the lack of available frequencies. The letter stated that CTV was currently using a frequency allocated for mobile TV and during the rollout of mobile television, their service would have to be switched off. An Icasa spokesman told the Cape Argus that community television was working on a temporary basis, and would have to give way to mobile TV once it was rolled out."We are trying to get other means to cater for them (community TV stations)," he said.

CTV station manager Karen Thorne said all of these would be affected, including Richards Bay TV in KwaZulu-Natal and Tshwane TV in Pretoria. She added that Richards Bay TV had been constantly under threat of being shut down and Thswane TV had not been allocated a frequency by Icasa from March 2009. Thorne questioned why licences had been issued in the first place if frequencies had not been set aside for community television. The role of community TV was important in shaping and building communities, she said. It was also a space for freedom of expression as it was owned and controlled by the community.


MISA-SA Advocacy
Rosemary Nkosi
tel: 011 339 6767
fax: 011 339 9888
cell: 071 499 2951



Johannesburg, 24 November 2009-The SABC is pleased to announce that the Government has approved its application for a Government Guarantee for R1.473 billion for the corporation.
The Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan has stated that the Guarantee will be released in tranches, with a draw down of R1billion available immediately, and the release of the remaining R473 million dependent on the development of a detailed project plan by the SABC committing the public broadcaster to explicit revenue targets and cost cutting measures to enable effective oversight and monitoring of projections by Government. Minister Gordhan has highlighted that these undertakings should be captured in a Shareholder’s Compact to be signed by the new Board of the SABC and the Minister of Communications Siphiwe Nyanda within three months of their appointment to facilitate oversight and monitoring.

The Chairperson of the Interim Board of the SABC says the granting of the Guarantee is evidence of the commitment by Government to public broadcasting in South Africa .

“I would like to thank both the Ministers of Communications and Finance for the support they have given the SABC to assist the Corporation in applying for the Guarantee. The Government Guarantee together with the October approval in the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) of an additional R200m will enable the SABC to begin the turnaround to developing a vibrant and viable public broadcasting service responsive to the needs of all South Africans”.

“The SABC incurred a loss of over R900 million at the end of March this year and the application by the Corporation is aimed at both paying back creditors and implementing a turnaround strategy. As stated in Parliament recently, the SABC Interim Board has started the process of identifying cost cutting measures and putting inplace governance systems to guard against wasteful expenditure. It will be up to a new Board to develop in depth strategies to effect a turnaround.”


Media Enquries
Kaizer Kganyago
SABC Spokesperson
082 306 8888

Monday, November 23, 2009

FAPACI is having another event, please see details below.

Dear Friend,

Warm greetings to you from all of us here at FEPACI. We know you have all been wondering about the November event. Well here it is!

We have joined forces with one of our stakeholder partners the FEDERATION OF AFRICAN MEDIA WOMEN OF SOUTHERN AFRICA - FAMW-SA in a collaboration to support the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign.

Please click here to find your invite and we look forward to seeing you at the SAB World of Beer on Saturday 28th November 2009 @ 14h.00 as usual in Newtown.

FoFSA Team
011 836 1528

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seminar: Alternative funding methods

Hi All,

Please take note of this extremely useful seminar being offered through Women of the Sun:

Date: Monday 23rd November 2009
Venue: Atlas Studios
Time: 9:45am for 10am – 2pm
Cost: Women R 100, Men R 200
RSVP: or 072 143 1825

This seminar will demonstrate that the SABC decrease in local productions (Crisis) does not spell the end of filmmaking for producers - It's not all doom and gloom and in fact, there may be some hope. It is possible to make films without the contribution of the SABC. Even where the SABC is the corner stone financier, filmmakers need to know how to bring more value into their productions.
This Seminar will also be helpful in preparing producers for the upcoming NFVF Film Indaba, for them to be able to ask the right questions to the various financiers and stakeholders and ensure that they get the most out of that event.

The aim for this seminar is to introduce new producers to fundraising:

sensitise producers to possibilities of alternative financial/funding models,
show ways to make filmmaking a sustainable business,
provide information that producers can put to use immediately

This seminar will cover:
  • How and what is required to access other government funding i.e. NFVF, DTI, IDC, and SARS 24F – by Kevin Fleischer
  • What international funding is available and how to access it - How to use film festivals and Markets most effectively - by Dezi Rorich
  • Sponsorship - how you go about acquiring it, at which stage of the production, and how that works with the different broadcasters – by Preean Armugan
  • Other funding models – by Batana Vundla and Ziggy Homayer of Joziewood
Helen Kuun will chair the seminar and will also talk about:
  • the different distribution deals and how they may contribute to the funding of the film
  • ways/models of distribution and the impact on your the revenue (potential) of the film.

Kevin’ is an Emmy-award nominated producer whose career has mixed creative and financial. He worked in Corporate Finance in New York and London. He has been involved in media, telecommunications, IT, fine arts and venture capital. He helped manage two TV production companies (Newsforce and what is now ‘Bomb’). He is the Consigliere on Stepping Stone films ‘White Wedding’ and ‘Paradise Lost’, and advises the IPO and government on policy in the film and TV production industry.

Helen has been spearheading local films as head of distribution for Ster-Kinekor for many years having released dozens of local feature films. This year she started her own distribution company to specialise in the distribution of South African films. If there is anyone who knows about South African film and South African Audiences and how to match the two to get the most bums on cinema seats or eyeballs at the television, it is Helen Kuun.

Dezi’s extensive experience span over 20 years in the industry in the marketing of South African Producers and productions internationally. She worked with video vision and now through her highly successful company Metal Moon)

Joziewood films was formed in December 2008 by Ziggy Hofmeyr, Charles
Vundla and Batana Vundla. Joziewood is a low-budget feature film
producing company. To date Joziewood films has produced three full-length feature films; The List,Friends and Need.

Booking Details
Bank: Nedbank,
Acc no. 1916 074804
Branch: Killarney
Alternatively, pay at the door

President Zuma shouldn’t blame artists for violence

An article from the Times Live
Posted: November 17th, 2009 | By Ray Hartley

For original article - click HERE

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s interaction with local artists today offered a disturbing insight into how he sees the relationship between media and violence.

Here’s what he said: “Whatever we present is part of societal education. If you listen to… [radio] short stories you are exposed to conspiracies, to killing, to murders, everything you can think of and the young people… are looking at it and choosing their own characters. And we sometimes wonder why society is so violent.”
Then there was blood, violence and sex on television. “It is brought into our living rooms whether we like it or not. Then we wonder why our society is so violent and there is so much
rape and everything. We contribute.”

It seems that Zuma believes that there is a causal relationship between consuming media and acting in an anti-social manner.

This is a highly contentious link to make. It has been shown time and time again that people are able to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

In any event most images of violence speak to people’s fears, not their fantasies. If anything they may confirm the average person’s desire to avoid violent confrontation out of fear.

What makes the tiny minority act in a violent or anti-social way is often a much more direct motive such as greed or a dysfunctional environment in which peers influence behaviour negatively.

What Zuma has said it pretty harmless. But what about the next step? What about those images of police violence at a protest? Are they inciting further violence too?

What about harsh criticisms of delivery failures? Do they incite violence.
At what point does concern for the well-being of citizens become censorship?


A SAGA meeting will be held in Cape Town on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at Lecture Venue 1, AFDA Studios, 18 Lower Scott Road, Observatory from 10H30 to 12H30. The SAGA meeting in Johannesburg will be held on Monday, 23 November 2009 at the UJ Theatre from 19H30 to 21H30.

Why is it important to diarise and attend these meetings? The time has come for you to make your mark and we do not want you to miss this opportunity. We need to vote on two issues. 1. Do you want SAGA to be a Trade Union? 2. How much are you prepared to pay for membership fees?

The Agenda for the meeting in Cape Town and Johannesburg will be the same:

1. Welcome

2. SAGA Funding - ACT and another source

3. Website update

4. Registration as a Trade Union update

5. Department of Labour Research

6. Vote for Actors Union

7. Vote for Membership Fees

We will send a meeting notification out to all agents, members on our database and on our Facebook Site. However, some of our fellow colleagues might slip through the cracks and we therefore need you to spread the word as well.

Well, that's a wrap, for now! Until next time.....

The SAGA Team
Corine Broomberg

Update from SOS on: Name change for SOS, Letter to the Minister of Communications, and SOS's 1st draft of a submission on the new Broadcasting Bill.

Hello all

Thanks for all the inputs re: our new name. We have decided to go with the name suggested at our working group meeting - "SOS - support for public broadcasting". The understanding is that from now on we will be supporting public broadcasting principles across all three tiers of the media - public, commercial and community. However, a central focus remains the transformation of the SABC.

Thanks for all the excellent inputs as regards the letter to the Minister. To download the final draft click here(39kb). Please note that the most important points are as follows:

  • That we are very glad that the Minister is focusing on the critical issue of public broadcasting
  • As SOS we want to continue to play a constructive and forward-looking role re: public broadcasting
  • The Bill introduces major policy shifts - and therefore we still believe that there should be a proper policy review process and then arising from the policy process a Bill. At the very least we need more time for comment. The deadline of the 7th of December is too short. We respectfully request more time for debate, consultation and research. We need until the end of March 1010. (South Africa closes down over Christmas, so any time before that won't allow for proper consultation.)
  • We believe that rushing this Bill will create a whole lot of new problems - and won't sort out the ones that are there.

Also, please click here to find attached the very first draft of our submission to the DOC on the Bill(110kb). AS SOS we need to be as constructive as possible. We are certainly not sitting back! Here are our intial thoughts. Do send your comments. Please note the following re: the document:

  • The document consists of two parts - a summary of SOS's submission to the DOC re: the Public Service Discussion Document (Annexure B) and an excellent and comprehensive legal opinion done by our broadcasting expert Justine Limipitlaw. Please click here to download attached doc(244kb).
  • Please note that we still need to integrate the comments made at the Roundtable, discussions on the email, the findings of other research projects e.g. Afrimap.
  • Further, OSF has very kindly agreed to pay for an international input on the Bill. This will be integrated at a later stage. (I will give you more information on this in a follow-up post.)
  • Also, as discussed yesterday, Prof Tawana Kupe and I will be working closely on this - and we will be sending you through the various drafts. Finally, please note that at this stage the document does not include anything on the community media sector. This will be rectified shortly. I will be working closely with all communiy media formations to ensure we get these issues covered.

Warm regards and thanks

SOS Coordinator
(082) 926-6404

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


12-29 August 2010

The organisers of ENCOUNTERS, the annual South African International Documentary Festival, are calling for entries from South African and International filmmakers for 2010 the 12th edition of the festival.

ENCOUNTERS will show a selection of documentary films from around the world, with a particular focus on South African work.

Filmmakers must guarantee, should their film be selected, that permission from the rights holder are secured for a minimum of six screenings at this Festival.
The deadline for submissions is 31st March 2010

Encounters is the only South African distributor dedicated to distributing documentaries to the South African public. Encounters promote and sell films to television, through DVDs and in cinemas.

For additional information feel free to contact Nazeer Ahmed at

Best regards,
The Encounters Team
Tel: +27 21 465 4686
Fax: +27 21 461 6964

Monday, November 16, 2009

President Zuma to address the plight of the local creative artists

President Jacob Zuma will meet with musicians and actors to discuss their role and contribution to social cohesion and nation building, as well as report back on issues they raised during his first meeting with them in 2008.
The President will meet primarily with musicians and actors, at the Sandton Convention Centre on 17 November 2009 10:00. He will be fulfilling a promise made during the response to the State of the Nation address that government would meet with the creative industry sector to discuss issues affecting them.

Issues of concern to the artists relate to broadcasting content, intellectual property rights, industry unity, anti-piracy, tax education and participation in 2010 FIFA World Cup activities.

The President is scheduled to be accompanied by the following Ministers:

• Ministers in the Presidency Trevor Manuel and Collins Chabane
• Minister of Arts and Culture, Lulu Xingwana and Deputy Minister Paul Mashatile
• Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan
• Minister of Higher Education, Dr Blade Nzimande
• Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Jeff Radebe
• Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies
• Minister of Communications, Siphiwe Nyanda.
• Premier of Gauteng, Ms Nomvula Mokonyane.

Please RSVP with Jonas Mashigo at

Distributed by Internal Communication

SASFED Communications - Marc Schwinges

SASFED is The South African Screen Federation, representing the interest of most film and television industry organisations as a collective federation.

Non Profit Organisation - NPO 52-633
Tel No: 083-901-2000 (Not a cell)
Fax No: 0866261744

The Writer's Guild of South Africa are looking for an administrator


The Writer’s Guild of South Africa is an organisation to support, promote and protect the professional and artistic interests of writers for TV, film, radio, theatre, books, online and video games across South Africa.

The WGSA seeks a polished, articulate, and detail-oriented Administrator. This individual must be highly proactive, quick to anticipate organisational needs, and should seek opportunities to provide funding suppourt to the guild.


Core administrative function: to run the organisation and its daily activities.

updating the database, and email list.
Sending out the newsletter and job alerts,
responding to standard queries from writers and producers and forwarding them to the correct person if they require more than the standard information.
Perform follow-up calls and/or written correspondences to incoming requests from partners and stakeholders for information, assistance, referrals, etc., including those coming through the website
Maintain up-to-date government and organisations contact list
Provide cradle-to-grave meeting planning coordination and support
Communicate actively and frequently on status of assignments; brief board weekly on tasks and progress
creating and maintaining filing systems, archiving: organising and storing paperwork, documents and computer-based information. Taking minutes of meetings.
maintain presentations, spreadsheets and databases;
devising and maintaining office systems;
Management duties include

Set up protocol structures for the organization, so that people understand due process.
Set up and run the workshops (including booking the speakers, confirming the venue, arranging catering, arranging travel and accommodation for the overseas guests, printing, notifying membership of workshops, organising volunteers for the workshops to meet, greet and lobby, marketing the workshops to the industry and the industry media and informing the various film schools of the workshops as well)
Set up the volunteer system.
Set up the lobbying group and supply information regarding the structure of the organization.
Establish and maintain positive partnerships with various organisations and departments such as the Department of Arts and Culture, the Department of Labour, Unions, SASFED, the South African Bar Association, and the IPO.
Nurture strategic relations with international and regional stakeholders, such as International and African writers organisations.
Set up a mentorship program
Contribute to the WGSA’s strategic planning.

Finance and fundraising

Set up the financial structure for the running of the organization.
Invoice members;
look after budgets;
facilitate compliance with fundraising constraints and regulations, financial reporting requirements, tax regulations, and legislation.

The ideal applicant will be

Highly organized, dynamic and motivated; A solution orientated person with excellent organisational skills who can formulate and implement strategic plans;
Have strong interpersonal, problem solving, analytical and negotiating skills.
Be able to prioritise and handle a diverse and heavy workload.
Have empathy with organisational goals.
Have a good understanding of organizational running
Have knowledge and proficiency with a variety of office equipment an software applications, including PC, scanner, printer, fax, MS Word, Adobe Acrobat, Power Point, and Outlook. Good Excel skills, to set up a specific macro structure for running the various departments are an asset.
Own transport would be an asset
Patience & a sense of humour are essential!
Ability to make a 6-month commitment.
To apply

Applications should be sent by Monday 23rd of November 2009, by e-mail to with the following documents:
• A motivating letter
• Curriculum Vitae
• The contact details of two referees

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Minister of Communications responds to public reaction regarding Public Service Broadcasting Bill

This article was published in the Business Day. It is a direct response from Minister Siphiwe Nyanda regarding the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill.

"Time to set record straight on the public broadcaster"

PUBLISHED: 2009/11/06 06:27:39 AM

REACTION to proposals contained in the draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill has been varied and interesting to read. Not only does most of it border on ignorance, but it also appears to have the hidden intention of scaring the public.

Could it be the fear of the unknown? I doubt if this could be the case, because the draft bill is unambiguous about the objectives it aims to achieve. One can therefore also conclude that there’s an element of fear of change. Or is it resistance to change? To bring oneself down to the level of overlooking all the good intentions the draft bill seeks to achieve and instead perpetuate untruths is neither patriotic nor activist.

In my maiden budget vote speech in July, I said the following in relation to this matter: “I have looked at the challenges facing the public broadcaster, which include governance and management capacity. A new vision and mandate for public broadcasting services in line with SA’s developmental agenda is required. The governance of the SABC needs to be strengthened.

“The Department of Communications will therefore amend the Broadcasting Act. The amendment will bring the charter in line with international best practice and ensure that the public broadcaster is best suited to our young democracy. The department will explore an appropriate funding model to ensure that the public broadcaster is not left to the vagaries of the markets.”

In response to this policy pronouncement, my department committed itself to introduce a draft bill before the end of the year and this was submitted as part of the department’s legislative programme for 2009.

Subsequent to this, the department released a discussion paper in July, soliciting input on the vision of public service broadcasting that complements SA’s envisaged developmental state.

A total of 32 submissions were received by the extended closing date. The inputs came from a wide variety of quarters, including academia, industry, labour and civil society, and commented on the various issues contained in the Public Service Broadcasting discussion document.

Areas of interest for those who participated in the process included the public mandate, the charter of the corporation, the current hybrid funding model, the role of the minister of communications and that of national signal distributor Sentech.

The proposed changes to the current Broadcasting Act of 1999 seek to, among other things, align the broadcasting system to developmental objectives of our country.

They take into consideration the rapidly changing landscape, which gives birth to the profound need for the government to position public entities such as the public broadcaster as strategic vehicles to achieve these developmental goals that we have set ourselves.

SA is not the first country to explore the proposed method of funding a public broadcast service. India and New Zealand have been successful in imposing a tax levy to fund the mandates of their public broadcasters.

We have learned through such experiences that an end to a licence fee regime can free up the public broadcaster to focus on its core business: delivering quality and reliable broadcast services to the public.

The draft bill contains as one of its proposals the broadening of the scope for local content. Currently there is no effective monitoring mechanism for the acquisition and usage of local content. The draft bill advocates such a tool.

The proposal for an advisory body on content has also been met with a cold reception in some quarters. Let’s set the record straight. The main and sole responsibility of this proposed structure will be to advise me on issues that relate to content quota and its implementation thereof. The notion being perpetuated that this body will seek to shadow the communications regulator, Icasa, is gibberish. It is the same producers whose interests the draft bill seeks to protect who will serve on the advisory body.

A lot of noise has also been made about the proposal for community radio stations to forge partnerships with their local municipalities. One commentator asserts that this is a ploy to undermine the independence of the community stations. Once again, this is utter nonsense disguised as activism on behalf of the community radio stations.

Community radio stations are in any way funded by the state, and if we were hell-bent on dictating the content they must carry, we would have done so already.

The following points need to be acknowledged as facts in dealing with this matter:

n It is important to note that this is simply a process aimed at getting the nation to provide input on how best the public broadcaster could be resourced to ensure that it meets its mandate of delivering quality, reliable services to the public.

n No decision has been taken with regard to the collection of revenue to establish and sustain the proposed Public Service Broadcast Fund.

n The draft bill raises several proposals on the best possible way of creating a sustainable funding mechanism through which the SABC can efficiently deliver on its mandate.

n The idea of raising funds for the public broadcaster through a tax levy is one of a variety of options being proposed in the discussion document.

n It is also important to note that tax policy resides in the Treasury and any decision that relates to tax matters would have to be taken in consultation with the Treasury. Exploratory discussions have, however, taken place between the Department of Communications and the South African Revenue Service to discuss a possible collection system.

n The present manner in which the public broadcaster raises funds cannot be relied upon. Hundreds of thousands of people do not honour their obligation to pay television licence fees.

This leaves the SABC in a dire situation, in which it has to spend millions of rands on debt collection services in a bid to recover the revenue due to it.

The notion being perpetuated that I am seeking to exert government control over the SABC is unfounded and misplaced.

The role of the minister is to draft policy in consultation with his cabinet colleagues, and not to enforce or implement it.

I understand the importance of independent media that serve as a watchdog for the public, and have no intention of undermining this principle.

We will not be deterred by the naysayers from exploring reliable and sustainable ways through which the SABC can best respond to the needs of the public.

Nyanda is communications minister.