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06 November 2009

SABC, independent producers discuss new pay plan


PUBLISHED IN THE BUSINESS DAY

CHANTELLE BENJAMIN

PUBLISHED: 2009/11/06 06:26:23 AM

AN URGENT meeting was held this week between the SABC interim board and frustrated independent television producers to discuss a new plan to pay producers. This comes after the broadcaster, which owes them R60m, failed to meet its first payment agreements in September.

It was agreed at the meeting on Wednesday that R10,8m would be ring-fenced and used to pay producers owed under R200000, who were hardest hit as they tended to be the smaller companies. The series Generations is among the larger shows that have not been paid.

Desirée Markgraaff, spokeswoman for the Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC), confirmed that the agreed amount had not been paid in September.

It is estimated that the SABC owes producers R22m in “old debts”, some of which go back more than two years .

The broadcaster tends to pay shows in production in tranches.

A letter in Business Day’s possession written on Tuesday by the TVIEC to the board said efforts to obtain answers from SABC management had been unsuccessful, with delays being attributed to technical glitches in the system or lack of funds.

The letter says: “This morning we were informed that one production company has now been forced to auction its premises and another is closing its doors with close to R500000 outstanding from SABC.”

Markgraaff said the loss of the smaller companies did not just affect those immediately employed there but the additional labour employed to work on the programmes.

SABC interim board head Irene Charnley was not available for comment yesterday, but she has allegedly warned that disciplinary action would be taken if producers identified on the list were not paid by next Friday.

benjaminc@bdfm.co.za

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