Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Response to Sunday Times lead story of 3 January 2010

TVIEC Response to Sunday Times lead story of 3 January 2010:
‘Fresh Crisis Rocks SABC’

The TVIEC wishes to state that our position has been misrepresented in the above-mentioned article with regards the appointment of Mr Solly Mokoetle as GCEO of the SABC. We do not feel Mr Mokoetle’s appointment was ‘unfortunate’ as the article alludes. On the contrary, we stated publicly and to the Sunday Times that we had no problem with Mr Mokoetla’s appointment and welcomed him, however we found it unfortunate that this appointment was made on the eve of the SABC Interim Board’s departure and not left to the incoming board as they will be working closely with the new GCEO.

We went on to state that our major concern is that the Interim Board is leaving the SABC without meeting its promise to the independent production sector to pay all outstanding debt to producers, writers and actors by the end of November 2009. In this regard the new board and Mr Mokoetle will be inheriting a substantial debt to our sector.

We have in good faith negotiated with the Interim Board and acting SABC management to receive outstanding payments and feel let down. In addition, the SABC has allowed repeat broadcasts of programmes to go ahead without paying actors and writers for these repeats as is contractual, thus increasing the debt to independent sector. The Interim Board’s view that payment of repeats should be sorted out by management and was not their responsibility is very disappointing and the TVIEC views this as an abdication of fiscal responsibility.

Some eight months have passed since the TVIEC marched to the SABC demanding payment of debt and despite some small payments of amounts under R200 000 and countless promises, our members are still largely unpaid. The TVIEC will insist that the SABC now resolves the matter speedily.

Below we include a copy of the press release issued by the TVIEC on the 18th of December 2009 which confirms and clarifies the above.


1. Welcome to the incoming SABC board and GCEO

The Television Industry Emergency Coalition congratulates the new SABC board on their raitfication and welcomes Doctor Ben Ngubane as Chairman, Ms Felleng Sekha as Deputy Chair, as well as Mr Solly Mokoetle as GCEO. We are indeed pleased that 2010 will start of with fresh leadership and look forward to working with the new board and GCEO to turning the SABC around into a profitable institution that is answerable to the South African public and a jewel in our national crown.

However, while we welcome the new GCEO, we question why the interim board made this sudden and unexpected announcement and did not defer the appointment to the incoming permanent board given that they are weeks away from taking the helm of the SABC. This seems to undermine the incoming board from the outset. We trust the GCEO and the new board will meet as soon as possible to forge a relationship of their own.

We also wish to state that we are very disappointed that the SABC Interim Board has not kept its word to our sector in resolving the crisis around non-payment to producers and artists. There remain millions of rands in unpaid debt to the independent production sector and this amount is growing daily due to repeat broadcasts that are not being paid to actors, writers and production companies. Despite numerous promises by the Interim Board that paying the independent production sector was one of the clear objectives of their tenure, this has not been achieved and we feel duped.

We call upon the new board and GCEO to act swiftly in resolving the matter of outstanding debt to our sector as unfortunately the Interim Board and management have abused the goodwill of the independent production sector and people now demand payment to be made swiftly and without further delays. This must be a priority on their incoming Board’s agenda, together with resolving the ongoing operational crisis at the SABC. To this end we commit to working with the GCEO and board to ensure that this matter is now swiftly settled.

2. Formalised labour meets formalised business

The crisis at the SABC has seen a historic coming together of formalised business and labour in the film and television industry. The CWUSA (Creative Workers Union of South Africa), IPO (Independent Producers Association) and SASFED (South African Screen Federation) have committed to a two-day workshop on the 3rd and 4th of February to seek out and agree to a common vision and roadmap for the industry with a focus on building sustainable livelihoods for creative workers and businesses. Key issues will be intellectual property ownership, fair trade and financial agreements between broadcasters, producers and artists - and a revitalised focus on building local content.

Our industry has paid a heavy price for the management and financial crisis at the SABC. It has led to company closures, retrenchments and job losses. We cannot let that happen again.

We are committed to building a sustainable and responsible production sector that is able to meet the demands and needs of our democracy and economy, and offer sustainable employment in line with the objectives of our government.

Our sector has huge capacity for job creation and we are committed to growing and developing skills.
We commit our support to President Zuma’s call to the nation to continue working to create a united cohesive society out of our fragmented past. To continue promoting unity in diversity and to develop a shared value system based on the spirit of community solidarity and a caring society.
We are committed to become active citizens in the renewal of our country and within our sector to work together, to help where we can to speed up its economic growth and sustainability and to create decent work and sustainable livelihoods for all in our industry.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: tvcrisis@gmail.com
Charl: 082-6813680

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).