Saturday, May 29, 2010

Story from the Mail & Guardian: New board, old chaos at SABC

Questions have been raised about SABC chairperson Ben Ngubane's role in lobbying for the adoption of Japanese digital broadcasting technology.

The department of communications caused an uproar in the broadcasting industry last month when it announced its intention to consider this Japanese technology, called ISDB-T. This was seen as an about-turn because the department had taken a decision in 2006 to use European technology (called DVB-T).

Now it has emerged that Ngubane met with Satoru Yanagishima, the global ICT business promotions director from the Japanese ministry of internal affairs and communications, on February 25 this year at Foxwood House, a hotel and conference centre in Houghton, Johannesburg.

At this meeting Yanagishima and his team gave Ngubane a presentation on the benefits of their ISDB-T technology.

The Mail & Guardian has a copy of the presentation that was left behind after the meeting. Officials from the Japanese embassy were also present, the M&G understands.

Ngubane was South Africa's ambassador to Japan from 2004 to 2008.

Two weeks after this meeting, Ngubane set up a meeting between SABC chief executive Solly Mokoetle and the Japanese, sources have told the M&G.

Ngubane has denied this. He told the M&G he suggested to the Japanese that they make a presentation to the SABC board but that they should arrange this with SABC acting chief operating officer Charlotte Mampane.

But SABC board members to whom the M&G spoke on condition of anonymity this week said they had no knowledge of any proposed meetings with the Japanese to discuss ISDB‑T and that the Japanese had never made a presentation to the board.

They had merely seen Ngubane with a Japanese delegation when they arrived for a scheduled SABC board meeting at Foxwood House.

Board members had to wait for Ngubane to conclude his meeting with the Japanese before the SABC meeting could start. They said the SABC chairperson had not told the board who the Japanese were or what their discussion had been about.

Ngubane said: "The director general of communications from Japan came to South Africa and I got frantic calls [from him, saying] he wanted to meet the SABC to discuss the technology. They thought that the SADC countries were going to use it [ISDB‑T], so we should have a common approach."

It was the communications department's prerogative to decide on a technology standard, Ngubane said, and his last contact with the Japanese had been at the meeting in Houghton.

"People mustn't come and talk all sorts of lies," said Ngubane. "I have served in government and I have never been corrupt."

Mokoetle was at a conference in China this week. When the M&G contacted him, he said: "I will not deal with anything right now. I am overseas," and hung up.

Meanwhile, the Independent Democrats have tabled questions in Parliament about a communications department trip to Brazil that was allegedly paid for by the Japanese. Brazil is one of the few countries to have adopted the ISDB‑T technology.

The department's about-turn last month left many in the industry claiming that a late move to the Japanese technology would cost South Africans broadcasters millions because they had already begun to invest in expensive trials and set-top boxes.

Industry players also argued that the move could set back South Africa's digital migration process by three to five years.

"I’m not sure if the department has given a valid reason why it wants to relook at the standards," said one industry insider. "It will cost the digital migration process quite a lot in terms of time and money."

"There must be a major reason to do a review," said the insider.

The insider said that because the European DVB-T technology was so widely used around the world, the economies of scale meant that the prices were much cheaper.

The insider said the Japanese set-top boxes were retailing for as much as $200 (R1 586) in Brazil, which would be unaffordable for South African consumers.

The migration process in South Africa is already running behind schedule and the use of the Japanese technology could lead to cross-border spectrum interference with SADC neighbours who have been considering the European technology.

The communications department's announcement last month prompted the Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association to warn the department that the Japanese ISDB‑T does not offer any technological benefits relative to the European DVB‑T.

"It's really looking like there will be a showdown over this," the association’s representative, Gerhard Petrick, was reported as saying at the time.

"No one has asked for a change in the standard other than the department of communications, which has been lobbied hard by Japanese and Brazilian lobbyists," he said.

The department of communications had not responded to the M&G's questions at the time of going to print.

www.mg.co.za

Friday, May 28, 2010

SOS Calls for the Chair of the SABC Board to Resign

SOS: SUPPORT PUBLIC BROADCASTING COALITION, PREVIOUSLY SAVE OUR SABC CAMPAIGN
SOS CALLS FOR THE CHAIR OF THE SABC BOARD TO RESIGN
28TH MAY 2010

The SOS Campaign representing a number of trade unions, independent producer organisations and a host of NGOs, CBOs, academics and freedom of expression activists endorses the recent statements released by our trade union partners and our working group member, Media Monitoring Africa.

SOS once again congratulates board members for swiftly dealing with the corporate governance breaches around the appointment of the Head of News. However, SOS sees these issues in such a serious light that we call on the Chair of the SABC Board, Dr Ben Ngubane, to do the honourable thing, and resign.

We believe that the statement he released last Saturday (22 May 2010) defending his actions, is in itself indefensible. Dr Ngubane admits to the fact that he took the decision re: the appointment of the Head of News on his own. He states categorically – “I made the decision as a leader to instruct the GCEO, Mr Solly Mokoetle to finalise the appointment of Phil Molefe as GE: News and Current Affairs, because he satisfied all the requirements as agreed by all Board members.” But the Chair is not empowered to make decisions without the co-operation of the Board. A sub-committee of the Board had been set up to do the interviews, this committee was to make a recommendation to the Board and then the full Board was to take the final decision. Dr Ngubane thus openly admits to circumventing the internal processes of the SABC, contravening good corporate practices and protocols as stipulated in the Broadcasting Act, Public Finance Management Act, the Companies Act and King III.

As SOS we nominated Dr. Ben Ngubane for a position on the SABC Board because we believed he had excellent leadership qualities, a good understanding of the arts, and a strong commitment to building a new vision for public service broadcasting. However, given his present actions we sadly no longer have confidence in his ability to the lead the SABC through its present serious problems (the paying back of its deficit etc.) to build a new vibrant, pro-democracy institution.

If Dr Ngubane is not prepared to do the honourable thing and resign then we call on Parliament to hold an urgent public hearing into the matter. SOS believes that very swift action is needed in this regard. Given the very pressing issues that the SABC needs to attend to we can ill afford to draw out this leadership crisis.

SOS notes once again the findings of the Auditor General’s Report that the SABC needs “leadership from the front” and impeccable adherence to good corporate governance procedures going forward.

Finally, the Coalition notes that the Draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill touches on the roles of the SABC Board and management and also the role of oversight structures such as the Minister, Department of Communications, Parliament and the independent regulator, ICASA. We believe these roles need to be clarified in the Bill. This is to ensure that the latter’s roles and responsibilities, reporting and accountability lines are clear. This is critical as regards the swift resolution of crises such as the crises outlined above.

For more information please contact:

  • Kate Skinner – SOS Coordinator - 082-926-6404
  • Patrick Craven – Cosatu Spokesperson – 082-8217456
  • Matankana Mathapo – Spokesperson CWU – 082-759-0900
  • Siphiwe Segodi – Freedom of Expression Network – 072-655-4177
  • William Bird – Executive Director Media Monitoring Africa – 082-887-1370
  • Melissa Moore – Acting Executive Director Freedom of Expression Institute – 082-924-8268
  • Rehad Desai – South African Screen Federation – 083-997-9204

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

AMAA Call for nominations - 2011

Dear Friends of the Media and Film Making Fraternity...

THE AFRICAN MOVIE ACADEMY AWARDS - AMAA - is calling for nominations for the 7th Edition of AMAA scheduled to take place in APRIL 2011.

Nominations from all stakeholders are welcome and open from the 29th May 2010 - 30th November 2010.

Please click here to see Media Release.

Best Regards

THE AMAA TEAM
SOUTHERN AFRICA
+27 72 355 0486

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

“KE NAKO” – the time is now for the SABC board

MEDIA MONITORING AFRICA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
“KE NAKO” – THE TIME IS NOW FOR THE SABC BOARD:
THE ONGOING CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING THE APPOINTMENT OF SABC HEAD OF NEWS!
25 May 2010

How did we get here? A brief outline of the key events over the past few days:
  • SABC Board Chairperson announces appointment of new head of news for SABC on 20/05/2010. This follows a period of over a year of Mr Phil Molefe filling the job as Acting Head of News;
  • Appointment refuted by SABC Board members, who say they had no knowledge of the decision and that processes had not been completed. Highlighted in several daily news media on 21/05/2010;
  • SABC Board Chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane released a statement saying the appointment of Phil Molefe as head of news was in his view legal on 22/05/2010,
  • SABC Board meets on 22/05/2010 and 10 of the 12 members declare the appointment of Mr Molefe null and void;
  • Reports emerge that Phil Molefe instructs journalists not to use any sources other than SABC Chairperson and or Group GCEO emerge suggesting censorship for self gain on 25/05/2010;
  • Report published in The Star that the Minister for Communications has indicated he will become involved and intervene on his return to South Africa on 25/05/2010;

Despite the breach in corporate governance in the appointment and announcement of Phil Molefe, as head of News, to date there has been no indication that the new SABC board is incapable of fulfilling its mandate. Accordingly the actions of the SABC board are to be applauded in seeking to resolve this breach of SABC’s corporate governance rules so speedily. We are however concerned that there has not yet been any announcement as to what action will be taken against the SABC board chairperson and the SABC GCEO and we call on the Board to inform the public about what processes and investigations are being undertaken to address the breach, and to ensure its speedy resolution.

Reports that the Minister of Communication will “intervene” to solve the issue are cause for alarm. While the Board clearly needs to be informing and updating the public, parliament, ICASA and the Department of Communication on an ongoing basis, it would be a serious blow to the new boards’ independence as well as that of the SABC if the Minister were to intervene and issue directives. The board needs to be given the space and support in order to resolve this issue without outside intervention, and there is little evidence to suggest that the board is incapable and in crisis.

MMA is also deeply concerned by media reports in The Star newspaper and others, alleging interference by the Acting Head of news Mr Phil Molefe. Reports in the Star highlight that Mr Molefe allegedly instructed SABC journalists not to use any other sources for reports on the appointment issue other than the SABC Board Chairperson or SABC group GCEO. Ordinarily it is clearly the role of the Head of news to determine ultimately what is included and what is excluded from the news. In the current instance however, there is a clear conflict of interest in Mr Molefe making such interventions about a story directly related to him and his position. If these allegations are true they indicate an abuse of SABC resources and power for self interest. Accordingly we call on the board to suspend Mr Molefe pending a full investigation into these allegations. Should these allegations then be found to be accurate MMA would expect the board to initiate formal disciplinary proceedings and take appropriate action.

MMA applauds the respectful tone and comments reportedly made by the parliamentary portfolio committee on communication Chairperson Mr Ismail Vadi. He was quoted as saying, that “at some point”, the committee would want a full, formal report from both the board and the chairperson about the process followed. These comments indicate that he is open to allowing the SABC Board to resolve the problem on their own but still holding them accountable for their actions. MMA notes with concern the deafening silence from ICASA on the issue. To date all other SABC oversight bodies have made their voices heard on the matter. As it is Africa day, Halala Africa, Ke Nako it is time! – The time is now ICASA let us hear your voice!

For more information contact William Bird 082 887 1370 or 011 788 1278.

Monday, May 24, 2010

SOS News SOS Press Statement - Way forward for SABC

SOS: SUPPORT PUBLIC BROADCASTING COALITION, PREVIOUSLY SAVE OUR SABC CAMPAIGN
SERIOUS CORPORATE GOVERNANCE BREACHES AT THE SABC – A WAY FORWARD
24TH MAY 2010

The SOS Campaign representing a number of trade unions, independent producer organisations and a host of NGOs, CBOs, academics and freedom of expression activists have noted that SABC Board members have now declared the decision to appoint the Head of News legally “null and void”. Board members stated clearly that the correct appointment procedures were not followed, as the full board had not approved the decision. We feel that it is important that board members have stood up against this serious corporate governance breach. This is an important step in the right direction. However, we still believe it is essential that the Board hold a full investigation into the appointment process and that appropriate action is taken against those who violated the SABC’s corporate governance procedures and protocols. The Coalition believes, given the seriousness of the breach, that once this investigation has taken place, the Board should, if appropriate, call on the Chair and CEO to resign.

Further, the Coalition notes that the Board plans to meet with the Minister of Communications. The Coalition believes that this is appropriate if the intention is to brief and update the Minister on recent corporate governance breaches and the Board’s plans going forward to rectify this. However, the Coalition believes strongly that the Minister should not be called on to directly intervene in the crisis, as we believe in terms of good corporate principles, and the stipulations of the Broadcasting Act, 1999, the Board needs to “take control of the affairs” of the Corporation.

Further, the Coalition notes that the SABC’s oversight structures should be called on to play an important role. We believe therefore that the Portfolio Committee on Communications should be briefed, as part of a public hearing,

Further, the Coalition notes that the Draft Public Service Broadcasting Bill touches on the roles of the SABC Board and management and also the role of oversight structures such as the Minister, Department of Communications, Parliament and the independent regulator, ICASA. We believe these roles need to be clarified in the Bill. This is to ensure that the latter’s roles and responsibilities, reporting and accountability lines are clear.

Finally, the Coalition notes the continuing absence of a Head of News at the SABC. We note the fact that this is seriously hampering the SABC’s ability to move boldly forward with a strong public service vision for news. We therefore call on the SABC Board to move as swiftly as possible to make this key appointment – or if appropriate – to swiftly re-structure the news department to ensure that one or several appointments are made. The SABC can ill afford to wait much longer in terms of putting forward a strong, bold, citizen-orientated vision for news.

For more information please contact:

Kate Skinner – SOS Coordinator - 082-926-6404
William Bird – Media Monitoring Africa – 082-887-1370
Rehad Desai – South African Screen Federation – 083-997-9204

SABC Board Release - Board decides appointment of Phil Molefe as Head of News is null and void

MEDIA STATEMENT

STATEMENT BY THE SABC BOARD

Johannesburg, 23 May 2010 –The SABC Board resolved that the purported appointment of the Group Executive News & Current Affairs, Mr. Phil Molefe is null and void and has no legal effect.

In a special Board meeting held yesterday, May 22nd, attended by 10 out of its 12 non-executive directors, the Board heard legal opinion that the appointment was not lawful because it had not been made by the Board in a manner required by the SABC’s Memorandum and Articles of Association.

The Articles of Association and Delegation of Authority Framework states that appointments at a Group Executive level must be made by the Board. This is couched in mandatory terms.

Thus the Board believes it would be failing in its fiduciary and oversight duties were it not to exercise this responsibility.

After deliberating for several hours yesterday afternoon and evening, the Board unanimously agreed that the appointment of Mr. Molefe as Chief Executive of News and Current Affairs was not legal.

It agreed that a process of assessing candidates, that had not yet been concluded, must continue.

It should be stressed that the Board regrets any embarrassment to any of the candidates for the position of Chief Executive News and Current Affairs. The decision taken by the Board is not intended to harm or prejudice any candidate but is solely aimed at conforming to corporate governance rules.

The Board stands by its commitment when taking office in January 2010 to oversee the reorganisation and revival of the SABC as a national public broadcaster worthy of the people of South Africa. The Board believes that the trust and credibility that needs to be restored in the SABC must start with transparent and clear rules of corporate governance.

‘FEEL IT, IT IS HERE’- THE SABC IS THE OFFICIAL BROADCASTER OF THE 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP.

ENDS

Issued By: Group Communications

Media Enquiries: Kaizer Kganyago (SABC Spokesperson)
082 306 8888

WoS invite you to Jo'burg Premiere 'Gugu & Andile'

WoS-Last Thursday Showcase
Invites you to come celebrate the Johannesburg Premiere of this multi award winning feature film by a talented women team!!

'Gugu and Andile'
(A South African adaptation of Romeo and Juliet)



Writer/Director: Minky Schlesinger Producer:
Bridget Pickering (Fireworks media),
Co writer Lodi Matsetela

Genre: Fiction, Runtime: 96min

Date: 27 may 2010 Venue: The Lab (Market Theatre) Time: 7.30 for 8pm
Free screening, (donation appreciated)
Food and cash bar available

This multi award winning drama is a love-story set against the backdrop of the war that raged through South Africa’s townships in the early 1990s. What ultimate sacrifice do they make for the sake of their love?

(Winner Best South African Feature - Cape Winelands Film Festival 2010)
(Winner Best African Language Film - African Movie Academy Awards, 2009)
(Winner best youth film - Lola Kenya Screen 2009),
(Official selection Rotterdam 2010) (In competition, Best TV Feature, FESPACO 2009)

It has been seen all over the world and honoured with awards, and now don't miss your chance to see it, network with the filmmakers and other women of the sun.

See you there!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

SAPA release - SABC chair backs Molefe

The following news update from - SAPA on the SABC head of news issue as issued by SABC. While SASFED formulates a response, please feel free to comment as to the tone of the response from the SABC board chair or any other related issues in this post.

SABC chair backs Molefe
2010-05-22 16:02

Johannesburg - There was no "breach of corporate governance" in the appointment of Phil Molefe as head of SABC News, the broadcaster's chairperson Dr Ben Ngubane said on Saturday.

"I have noted all the issues raised in the public domain around the process of this appointment," he said in a statement.

"I believe that all processes were followed and there was no breach of corporate governance."

He also urged the SABC board not to publicise internal matters.

This after board member Pippa Green told media that Molefe's appointment was not approved by them.

Ngubane said he authorised the appointment because he felt that Molefe satisfied all requirements for the position.

"After considering all the factors before me, that necessitated the speedy finalisation of this process, and after going to the SABC booklet on criteria for interviews, I made the decision... because he satisfied all the requirements as agreed to by all board members," he said.

Molefe was appointed on Thursday after a year of acting in the position.

"The board and I are happy that this matter has been brought to finality as promised as this was a key vacant position that needed to be filled to stabilise the corporation," he said.

- SAPA

Friday, May 21, 2010

Media Monitoring Project comment on "Furore over appointment of SABC Head of News"

A message received from the Media Monitoring Project 18h15 21 May 2010.


We note with great concern the apparent procedural irregularities in the appointment of the new head of news for the SABC. It is deeply disappointing that the SABC should have followed such a lengthy interview and appointment process for the new head of news only for it to be sabotaged in the selection and announcement of the successful candidate.

MMA supports calls by SOS and others for an urgent investigation by the SABC Board into the processes that were, or were not followed in announcing the appointment of Phil Molefe as the new head of News.

If on proper investigation by the Board, it emerges that the decision to appoint Mr Phil Molefe was improper and contravened Corporate Governance of the SABC then it would seem the best option for restoring trust and credibility of the new board would be served by the board chairperson Dr Ngubane and the GCEO, Mr Mokoetle tendering their resignations.

It is critical however, that in conducting such an investigation that the processes followed are public and transparent. Further we urge that the oversight bodies of the SABC work together, including putting in place mechanisms and prevention strategies to ensure the same or similar breaches are not repeated.

The oversight bodies, Parliament and the President, (as the appointing authorities for the board) also include the constitutionally guaranteed independent regulator ICASA. ICASA it should be noted has the key mandate, ”to regulate broadcasting in the public interest”.

MMA calls on ICASA to play its role as a key oversight structure of the SABC. ICASA has the responsibility to take a position on this issue, because of the potential affect it could have on SABC programming and overall health of the institution.

ICASA is the independent body that has the responsibility to check if the “public interest” is being served and protected and is the only body mandated to do so. ICASA’s “silence” to date and failure to make its voice heard and assume any clear position in past SABC crises have allowed for the other oversight bodies to step in without any independent body checking on the potential compromise of the public interest.

In the run up to the World Cup it is crucial that the current furore is overcome and that the board is stabilised. We call on all involved to resolve this matter urgently and in the public interest.


For more information contact William Bird 082 887 1370


Sincerely,
--The Team at MMA

Call William Bird 082 887 1370 for Further information

SOS News - Report back - SABC head of news, seminar on "Structuring&financing PBS in the digital age",Community TV Workshop 24-26 May, FES media site

Hello all

As usual there are many important issues. Firstly there seems to be some problems with the appointment of the head of news. To see Business Day article click here.

Secondly, a reminder about the DOC's community TV workshop happening next week from the 24th to the 26th. Please find details below.

Thirdly, I wanted to give you all some feedback on Wednesday's seminar at Wits. Thanks so much to all of those who came. It was a good discussion. Indra discussed some of the important big picture principles for PBS such as the need for public accountability. Jane looked at the importance of maintaining the SABC's dominance in the media landscape to protect the long term viability of public broadcasting. I will send you more details later today. Also, I will be circulating the mins early next week.

Finally, do have a look at the German funder, FES's new website - www.fesmedia.org. It is an excellent resource for African media docs.

Best
Kate

Please receive an invitation to attend the Community Television Policy Workshop to be held as follows:

Date: 24-26 May 2010

Venue: Birchwood Hotel

Please note that the workshop programme will follow in due course. It is however anticipated that the key strategic issues to be discussed will include the following:

  • Community TV: international models and experiences
  • Community Radio and lessons for community TV in South Africa
  • Funding content: can community TV manage?
  • Regulating community TV: current and future scenarios
  • Various Community TV business models and legal implications
  • Public Service Broadcasting Bill and Community Broadcasting Charter
Also note that as part of the Workshop, the Department will be hosting a gala dinner on the evening of 26 May 2010 wherein delegates will be expected to dress in either traditional or smart casual wear.

If you are interested in attending the Workshop, it is critical to confirm your attendance, on or before Wednesday, 19 May 2010 by contacting Mr Linda Mazibuko on xolo@doc.gov.za or Mr Robert Makatu on robertm@doc.gov.za ,012 427 8000

Thanking you in advance and hoping to see you at the Workshop!

Kind regards

Ms Miyelani Khosa | Deputy Director: Broadcasting Policy

Story from the Mercury web site: SABC board's news revolt

Siyabonga Mkhwanazi, Political Bureau, The Mercury, Durban, 21 May 2010

The new SABC board has been plunged into controversy over the appointment of Phil Molefe as head of news, with its chairman Ben Ngubane accused of dancing to a different tune and acting unilaterally.

No sooner had Molefe's appointment been announced by Ngubane, the former Kwazulu-Natal premier and arts and culture minister, than his deputy, Felleng Sekha, denied it.

Sekha, the chairwoman of the board's news sub-committee, said the board had yet to take any decision.

An emergency meeting has been called.

Mysteriously, an interview recorded by Sekha for the SABC's PM Live radio programme - in which she distanced herself from the decision - was not broadcast as planned.

The appointment was announced in a 3pm SABC radio news bulletin yesterday, which was the first time some board members heard about it.

Questions are now being asked about why Ngubane decided to go it alone on the decision to appoint Molefe, who has been acting in the position since Snuki Zikalala's axing 13 months ago.

Board members contacted by The Mercury last night said Molefe's appointment had been a surprise. A panel delegated to consider candidates had yet to lay its recommendations before the board, they said.

Sekha said the board had not been presented with the name of any successful candidate.

"The board of the SABC has not appointed anyone for the position (of head of news). Whoever has been appointed to that position has not been appointed by the board," she said.

Surprised

She also did not know why her radio interview had not been aired.

Fellow board member David Niddrie said: "I was surprised to learn of the appointment. There was a panel delegated to consider and recommend to the board (a suitable candidate). We have not received those recommendations."

Cedric Gina, another board member and the president of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, said: "I have not been part of a board that took a decision to appoint Phil Molefe."

It is understood the board had agreed to review the appointment process for the critical post and discuss it at a meeting early next month.

A statement issued earlier quoted SABC group chief executive Solly Mokoetle as saying: "The board and I are happy that this matter has been brought to finality as promised, as this was a key vacant position that needed to be filled to stabilise the corporation.

"The appointment of Mr Molefe will go a long way in moving the news and current affairs division forward."

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said earlier yesterday that Molefe had been selected after a lengthy short-listing of candidates, but would not name others on the short-list. The board's decision to appoint Molefe was based on his experience of more than 25 years.

Last night neither Ngubane nor Mokoetle could be reached for comment and Kganyago was also no longer answering his cellphone.

The new board took over the reins in January from the interim board chaired by businesswoman Irene Charnley, that was appointed after months of instability and a rapidly deteriorating financial situation at the public broadcaster.

It re-advertised the head of news position to broaden the search for a suitable candidate - a process begun by Charnley's board in the second half of last year.

Click here to read article on the The Mercury Page.

Media release: location filming arrangements in Gauteng during the World Cup

NEWS FOR RELEASE

20 May 2010

Business mostly as usual for Gauteng during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup™

With the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ just around the corner many filmmakers are wondering whether filming will be affected during the World Cup period.

To answer this question the GFC has compiled useful information on filming requirements for the film and TV industry in Gauteng which will apply during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. As the GFC receives further updates from the host cities, the Local Organising Committee and FIFA, such communiqués will be circulated to our production community.

Johannesburg
The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) has given assurances that it will be business as usual across the metropolitan area. The only areas which will be directly affected will be the official World Cup restriction and exclusion zones and certain locations and facilities (including transport facilities such as the Rea Vaya, Gautrain, Park and Ride facilities etc.).

Producers wishing to film during the World Cup period in non-restriction or exclusion zones can still approach the GFC for assistance in submitting applications for filming permits and the standard procedures and rates will apply. The GFC would like to recommend that producers and production companies avoid locations that are in close proximity to stadiums, fan parks, Public Viewing Areas (PVAs), official hotels, training facilities and major transport arterials in favour of those that are not impacted by the World Cup.

In the case of micro shoots it is recommended that you contact the GFC who will notify the relevant permitting authority.

Restriction and Exclusion Zones in Johannesburg
The following areas have been declared World Cup restriction and exclusion zones:

  • Ellis Park Stadium, Doornfontein
  • Soccer City stadium and International Broadcasting Centre, NASREC
  • Innes Free Park (FIFA Fan Park), Sandton
  • Elka Stadium (FIFA Fan Park), Soweto
  • Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown
  • Park Station, Johannesburg CBD
  • Gautrain Station/ FIFA Accommodation venues, Sandton Central
  • No.3 Square (Football for Hope), Alexandra
  • Orlando Stadium, Soweto
On non-match days filming permits for restriction and exclusion zones may be applied for through the relevant South African Police Service (SAPS) station. On match days though special approvals will need to be secured through the LOC and the City of Johannesburg. Filming of actual matches requires FIFA accreditation.

The contacts for the relevant SAPS station in Johannesburg are as follows:

Station / SAPS Station / Phone / Fax

Ellis Park Stadium / Jeppe Police Station / 011 624 6000 / 011 624 6096
(EPS)

Soccer City Stadium / Booysens Police Station / 011 433 5200 / 011 433 5272
(SCS)

Elkah Stadium / Moroka Police Station / 011 527 0000 / 011 984 4447
(ES)

Innes Free Park / Region E Office CoJ / 011 582 1400
(IFP)

Public Viewing Area / Joburg Central Police / 011 497 7000 / 011 497 7582
(PVA) Mary Station
Fitzgerald Square
(MFS)

Football for Hope / Alexandra Police Station / 011 321 7600 / 011 321 7628
Festival (FFHF)

Orlando Stadium / Orlando Police Station / 011 983 4800 / 011 935 2284
(OS)

City Improvement Districts
In terms of all City Improvement Districts (CIDs) in Johannesburg, special arrangements have been reached that micro shoots (crew sizes of 10 and less crew members) do not require any permits as long as the shoot does not involve road closures or the parking of trucks etc. This is with the exception of restriction zones in Newtown and Sandton which may require special approvals. Where crew sizes exceed 10 people or road closures are needed you would need to secure prior permission and the standard tariffs will apply.

City Improvement Districts in Johannesburg are:

  • Sandton Central
  • Rosebank Management District
  • Illovo Boulevard Management District
  • Central Improvement District (inner city)
  • South Western Improvement District (inner city)
  • Retail Improvement District (inner city)
  • Braamfontein
  • Randburg
  • Wynberg
  • Benrose
  • Civic Legislature
  • Sloane Precinct (Bryanston)
  • Newtown
  • Constitutional Court (Braamfontein)
  • Main Street Mall, and
  • Gandhi Square.
For film shoots in any of the above locations contact the GFC for assistance.

Tshwane

The City of Tshwane has confirmed that business here will also be as usual across the Metro. Road closures and access restrictions in the area around Loftus Versfeld Stadium (Loftus) will be very much the same for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ as those put in place during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2009. There will be a lockdown of the area immediately around Loftus from a few weeks prior and of a larger area on match days only. Access to these areas will be restricted. During this time there will only be access restrictions on the roads immediately surrounding Loftus, i.e. Kirkness Street and parts of Jorissen Street, Lynnwood Road, Ayton Street and Bond Street.

The City is currently finalizing a list of other restriction zones which will be communicated to the industry.

Ekurhuleni and O.R. Tambo International Airport

In the case of the City of Ekurhuleni filming arrangements will be as usual. However, certain restrictions may apply in and around the O.R. Tambo International Airport, the Ekurhuleni Welcome Village, official hotels and training facilities, as well as all major routes to and from the O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Note that the Airports Company South Africa in conjunction with the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department and the South African Police Force have scheduled, planned road closures at O.R. Tambo International Airport. As of Monday 10th 2010, the lower road way which is normally used for pick- ups (Arrivals), will be closed to the general public. Motorists who wish to drop off passengers will be directed to the upper roadway (Departures), those who are there to pick up arriving passengers are advised to make use of the parking bays. The airport has a 15 minute free parking grace period in all parking areas, which gives enough time to collect passengers and drive off.
The closures will be implemented on the following days throughout the month of May:

Mondays 06h00 – 09h00
Wednesdays 10h00 –14h00
Fridays 14h00- 20h00
Sundays 17h00- 20h00

This exercise will ultimately result in complete road closures in some areas for members of the public from June 1st until the end of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site

Filming in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site (including Sterkfontein caves and Maropeng), requires that filming applications be forwarded to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA), but only when a live broadcast is envisaged. The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site advisory personnel in this regard are Ms Reshma Lakha-Singh who can be contacted at 011 355 1402 or reshma.lakha-singh@gauteng.gov.za; and Mr. Hein Pienaar who can be contacted at 011 355 1596 or hein.pienaar@gauteng.gov.za respectively.

Dinokeng

Filming in Dinokeng requires one to seek guidance from Ms Reshma Lakha-Singh, who can be contacted at 011 355 1402 or reshma.lakha-singh@gauteng.gov.za

2010 FIFA World Cup™ matches

The filming of 2010 FIFA World Cup™ matches require prior accreditation and approval from FIFA. For more information please visit www.fifa.com.

For information about match days and venues visit www.fifa.com.

World Cup ICASA Media Rights

The GFC has been advised that live satellite transmissions require prior approval from ICASA. Note that fees apply.

For assistance please visit www.icasa.org.za

Commercial Producers Association (CPA) advocates ‘common sense’

The CPA has advocated a “common sense approach” for commercial producers wanting to film during the World Cup. This means an acknowledgement that locations that are in close proximity to stadiums, fan parks and major transport arterials should be avoided in favour of those that are not impacted by the World Cup. These include private residential and corporate properties, suburbs, townships, rural and remote areas and City locations that are not in close proximity to World Cup venues and activities.

From an insurance perspective the industry’s leading insurers have confirmed that all the insurance usually taken out by agencies and production companies in the production process will be available for the duration of the World Cup. They too advocate that all parties use common sense when deciding on locations to ensure that filming does not impact on World Cup activities and vice-versa.

Says Bobby Amm, CEO of the CPA, “the CPA is satisfied that the World Cup will not hinder the production of commercials and we encourage any agency or client who has concerns to discuss these with the production company concerned or with the CPA. We sincerely hope that there will not be a drop off in production because agencies and clients have been misinformed. It’s business as usual albeit under rather unusual circumstances.”

GFC Contacts

For more information visit www.gautengfilm.org.za

For general location enquiries contact:
Seitiso Mogoshane
Locations Officer

Gauteng Film Commission

56 Main Street Johannesburg, 2108 South Africa
PO Box 61601 Marshalltown 2107,
Tel: +27 (0) 11 833 0409
Fax: +27 (0) 11 833 0282 / 0865055772
Cell: +27 (0) 83 608 4324

E-mail: seitisom@gautengfilm.org.za
Web: www.gautengfilm.org.za

Ends.

For media enquiries or additional media information, please contact
Jacques Stoltz of the Gauteng Film Commission on +27 (0)11 833 0409 or +27 (0)83 455 9688 or jacques@gautengfilm.org.za

SABC Media Statement - SABC Appoints GE-News and Current Affairs


SABC ANNOUNCES GE: NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS APPOINTMENT


Johannesburg, 20 May 2010 -In line with the stated objectives of the SABC Board, when it took office in January 2010, to fill key vacant positions, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) today announces the appointment of Mr. Phil Molefe as the corporation’s Group Executive: News and Current Affairs, for a period of five years effective from 1st June 2010.

Mr Molefe’s appointment as the successful candidate to head the SABC News and Current Affairs Division follows a lengthy process of selection and short listing that was commenced by the Interim Board in August 2009 but was not finalised when its short term ended in early January 2010.

In order to ensure further transparency the new SABC Board reopened the appointment process by re-advertising the vacancy for another two weeks at the end of March 2010. The name of Phil Molefe emerged as the successful candidate for the position from a short list that was conducted by a panel of Board members.

“The Board and I are happy that this matter has been brought to finality as promised, as this was a key vacant position that needed to be filled in order to stabilise the corporation. The appointment of Mr. Molefe will go a long way in moving the News and Current Affairs division forward.” said Mr. Solly Mokoetle, SABC GCEO.

The decision to appoint Mr. Molefe was based on his more than 25 years experience in news and current affairs broadcasting at an executive and senior editorial level. He was currently the GM: International Affairs and also Acting GE: News and Current Affairs since the post became vacant in 2009. Mr. Molefe has also previously served as Head: TV News and Current Affairs, Head: SABC Africa and Political Editor.

“FEEL IT, IT IS HERE”

Media Enquiries

Kaizer Kganyago

SABC Spokesman

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Business as usual for GFC following merger announcement

Following the recent announcement by the Gauteng Provincial Government that the agencies of the Department of Economic Development will be restructured, the Gauteng Film Commission wishes to assure the film and TV industry that it will be business as usual for the GFC for the remainder of the current financial year.

The Department of Economic Development has confirmed that the process of reducing the existing agencies to the three proposed agencies, namely the Growth and Employment Agency, the Tourism Promotion Agency and the Industry Regulation Agency, will be completed by the end of this financial year (March 2011). The restructuring will entail the merger of existing agencies and the rationalisation of mandates and functions into the three new proposed agencies. During this period the industry and other stakeholders of the GFC will be consulted.

The review of the Gauteng Provincial Government and its agencies were undertaken with the objective of rationalising and improving service delivery in the Province. The Gauteng Provincial Government has given assurances that the implementation of the new structures will take place in a carefully managed environment ensuring that government leverages existing capacities and competencies and target a simplified operational model to address problems and weaknesses identified during the review process.

Ends.

For more information, please contact:
Jacques Stoltz, Senior Marketing Manager: Gauteng Film Commission on +27 (0) 11 833 0409 or +27 (0) 83 455 9688 or jacques@gautengfilm.org.za

SAGE acronym evening

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The South African Guild of Editors invites you to an evening where we honour this year's recipients to use the SAGE Acronym as recognition of their achievements in the craft of editing.

The recipients are:
Alan Hynes
Andrea Shaw
Bronwyn Mackellar
Kat Turner
Kirsten de Magalhaes
Melissa Parry
Tracy Clayton
Ziggy Hofmeyr
Richard Starkey
Uta Frey

Venue: Postmasters Auditorium
24 Ditton Ave, Auckland Park, Johannesburg
Date: Thursday 3rd June 2010
Time: 6:30 pm

Please RSVP on our Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=124291624256844 or email Tanya Rosenberg on paste@mweb.co.za by May 31st, 2010.

Friday, May 14, 2010

On the Sowetan website: Plan to merge all provincial government agencies

13 May 2010

To view the article on the Sowetan site click here.

DETERMINED : Premier Nomvula Mokonyane
Merger of agencies on cards

GAUTENG plans to save more than R100million by merging all provincial government agencies into three, premier Nomvula Mokonyane said yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting of her executive council in Johannesburg, Mokonyane said the council had considered a report on a review of all agencies with a particular focus on those in the department of economic development.

They included the Gauteng Economic Development Agency, the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, the Gauteng Tourism Authority, the Gauteng Film Commission, Blue IQ and the Gambling Board.

The review had said the agency model had proven successful and was recommended as the best practice mechanism for economic development.

However it had also said there were strategic, structural and human weaknesses across the agencies.

Mokonyane said it had been found that some of the agencies performed similar functions, while others were not fully aligned to “strategic objectives” of the department.

The review had recommended that the agencies be retained, but with major changes to address the weaknesses and challenges.

Mokonyane said the agencies would be reduced to three: Growth and Development, Tourism Promotion, and Industry Regulation.

Agencies such as the Gauteng Liquor Board would now fall under the Industry Regulation Agency and any agency that dealt with tourism would now fall under Tourism Promotion.

She said this new-look agencies would still fall under the department of economic development.

The province wanted to conclude the mergers within the 2010/11 financial year. No jobs would be lost.

Mokonyane also congratulated the newly-elected Gauteng chairperson of the ANC Paul Mashatile and his executive committee.

“The executive council looks forward to forging a healthy and strong working relationship with the chairperson and the entire ANC provincial leadership,” she said.

She said there would be no changes from the way her executive council used to work with the provincial ANC before its new executive was appointed. – Sapa

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Story from BusinessDay website: A pressing need to get Icasa back on track

Anton Harber

ON ITS website, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), the broadcasting and telecoms regulator, manages to list only two “frequently asked questions”. You can’t blame them, because we have stopped asking them the right questions. It is time to pay attention to this body, which is in such a poor state it is starting to outsource its most basic functions.

Civil society activists, trade unions and others concerned about broadcasting have been focusing on the SABC and the plans to fix it. But rotting away at the side has been the organisation that should have been strong and independent enough to protect the SABC when it mattered, and failed to do so: Icasa.

When the SABC started to squander money and make dubious editorial decisions, such as blacklisting certain political commentators or pulling material critical of then-president Thabo Mbeki , Icasa should have been the first body to step in and deal with it to protect the independence of the broadcaster.

But Icasa was absent without leave, most notable for its silence on the difficult issues. It was seemingly unable to use its powers of oversight, and was apparently in thrall to the then minister of communications. Even when the matter was brought before it, in the form of a complaint about the blacklisting issue, Icasa’s complaints and compliance committee declined to deal with it properly, saying it was an internal journalistic matter.

It was the decision of a body trying not to dirty its hands on difficult problems, even though these issues are central to its mandate.

Earlier this year, without much fanfare, Icasa announced that it was not going to proceed with the issuing of long-awaited new regional radio licences and would be appointing outside consultants to assess the bids.

Deciding on and issuing licences is the most basic function of Icasa. If it can’t do that, and do it efficiently, then there is something fundamentally wrong. Bidders spent millions of rands on their applications, only to have them sit around for months gathering dust.

Those licences have still not been issued.

Then there is the fiasco over mobile television technology. It is a complicated saga, but suffice to say that MultiChoice has been testing its technology for more than two years, and managed to launch its service in other African countries, while waiting for Icasa to get to the issue. It had promised to do so before the World Cup.

Now, at the last minute, Icasa is attempting to rush it through, and in the process causing havoc, conflict and potential dispute.

And yesterday it was reported that MultiChoice’s licence application arrived and was accepted a few minutes past the deadline. It may be a small point, but that is the kind of slackness that leads to costly and time-wasting legal dispute.

The problem is that a weak regulator leads to a weak industry. It is almost inevitable that incumbents — who have the legal and regulatory teams, the research and the budgets — get a hold on a vulnerable regulator. Nobody likes a weak regulator more than an incumbent, which is in the best position to exert influence on it.

Those who suffer are the outsiders who want to enter broadcasting, the small players who can’t afford expensive legal action and expansive lobbying — as well as the public, who have a less competitive market, less choice and less dynamism.

A weak and indecisive regulator stifles innovation and boldness in the market, for who wants to sit around for months or years waiting for them to make up their minds?

Parliament is interviewing potential candidates to be new Icasa councillors, including a new chair. It is a chance to get the organisation back on track.

We have learnt time and again that you can have the right structures, and the promises of independence, but unless you have in place the individuals with the strength and the skill to make up their own minds and use these structures effectively, then bodies such as Icasa run into trouble.

- Harber is Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits University.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

¿Sería Buenos Aires? / Maybe Buenos Aires? (2006)

Award-winning documentary, now free to watch online.
(Spanish with English subtitles)

A universal story that touches upon many of the themes that cross the modern world we live in: dislocation of people, destruction of their dreams overnight by crises they are not responsible for and their efforts to survive.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1603491

About SASFED and their affiliations

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

Full SASFED Member Organisations: DFA - The Documentary Filmmakers Association / IPO - The Independent Producers Organisation / OSCA SA - The Official South African Casting Association / PMA - The Personal Managers' Association / SAGA - South African Guild of Actors / SAGE - South African Guild of Editors / WGSA - Writers Guild of South Africa / WIFTSA - Women in Film and Television SA / WOS - Women of the Sun

SASFED is also formally affiliated to: FEPACI - Pan African Federation of Film – Makers / SOS: Supporting Public Broadcasting / TVIEC - Television Industry Emergency Coalition

Non Profit Organisation - NPO 52-633
Tel No: 083-901-2000 (Not a cell)
Fax No: 0866261744
Web: www.sasfed.org
E-Mail: info@sasfed.org

WGSA Seminar

Dear Friends

The Writers' Guild of South Africa is hosting its next seminar on 29 May 2010 at AFDA film school, 41 Frost avenue, Auckland Park, at 10h00.

Please do not miss this one! You and your entire team are hereby invited (non-members pay R50 entrance fee.)

PLEASE RSVP NOT LATER THAN 26 MAY 2010 END OF BUSINESS DAY

The topic is Fundraising with a Producer. Guest Speakers are Mike Dearham, Kevin Fleischner and Paul Raleigh.

We will have WGSA T-Shirts available for sale at R100.00 each.

Kind Regards,

E.J. (Thea) Aboud
Administrator
Writers'Guild of South Africa
Mobile: +27 82 575 6901
Fax number: 086 654 1972
E-mail: admin@writersguildsa.org
Website: www.writersguildsa.org