For Immediate Release
SASFED (South African Screen Federation) is the national federation of independent film, television and audiovisual content industry organisations in South Africa. SASFED represents a broad spectrum of industry players, via affiliates representing several thousand individual members and hundreds of member companies employing up to a hundred staff. SASFED as such represents an industry which has been severely damaged by the ongoing financial crisis at the SABC and will continue to be further damaged if the SABC is left to literally dwindle into the abyss.
We are convinced that the SABC can be a viable independent public broadcaster with an independent board and a good management team. However none of this is possible without the SABC being able to access a loan to dig itself out of the present crisis. Besides our concern for workers at the SABC, we are deeply concerned about our industry - we have already cut staff, lost companies and some have still not been paid revenues owed to them by the public broadcaster. It is clear to the entire media eco-system that the present crisis needs first to be averted before serious work can be put into turning the institution around.
We would like to make a call to all the present stakeholders to avert the crisis - to stop the tide of resignations, the impasse, the infighting and re-enter into a working relationship to save our national broadcaster.
It is with dire concern for our industry that we align ourselves with the following statements released by SOS Coalition and the Media Monitoring Africa.
First – the Board cannot be allowed to become inquorate and unable to operate: It needs stability not another interim/final Board circus – which would be the fourth in just over a decade.
Second – the National Treasury, together with the President must immediately provide the SABC with a government guarantee – which we stress is not a bailout, it is a guarantee, giving the SABC’s lenders and creditors a measure of comfort that the Board and management has political support.
Third – given the tension and uncertainty that this has raised, we call on the SABC Board to withdraw the section 189 Notice with immediate effect. The withdrawal does not have to be indefinite. But we recognise that temperatures are such across the political spectrum that this is not serving the public interest at this time.
SASFED calls on all stakeholders to come back to the table to immediately avert the collapse and support the SABC to rebuild this institution that is in the public interest.
Lwazi Manzi & Pat van Heerden
Pat van Heerden: 083 258 3226