The DFA was established in 2007 to promote and protect the interests of doc filmmakers in South Africa. To contact the DFA, please use the contact form: here . The DFA website is at: Membership applications can be made through the website here.

26 May 2009

Cape Town joins TV Crisis March - URGENT MEETING for Cape Town

Kali of the DFA Cape Town Board is kindly arranging a simultaneous action in Cape Town.

to organise an effective and creative national demonstration for change within the SABC

Enough is Enough!

we need to take collective action NOW!
fighting for a transparent, fair and sustainable SABC

date: THURSDAY 28th MAY
time: 2PM - 4PM
(Park Street, Cape Town)

 –  Park street is off Kloof street behind the Long Kloof Studios – enter parking lot next to Pasta Factory Restaurant 
– we cant park in parking lot –  the room where we are meeting is on the second floor - ask security if you are unsure

Now is the chance to make a stand, let our collective voices be heard

come to the meeting to plan our action
Joburg is already well organised but Cape Town is seriously lagging behind

come on Cape Town 




rsvp or just come along

forward this message on to your colleagues, organisations, collectives and whoever you think may be interested 

 further information about the march can be found here.

Gabs Mampone, acting GCEO and his view on producing more content in-house at SABC - ICASA and regulations.

As many of you will know Kate Skinner of SOS spoke on Redi Direko's show on 702 on the 21st of May. She discussed the financial crisis at the SABC from 10:15 to 11:00 and was joined unexpectedly by Gabs Mampone, acting GCEO. He was saying that one of the ways forward on the producer crisis was to produce documentaries, dramas etc. in-house. This was the first time that the independent production sector had heard the suggestion. It was also not at all clear how the SABC was going to save money by adopting this new approach.

If anybody wants to listen to the actual words of the interview on 702 with Kate in which Gabs appeared, Marc Schwinges purchased a copy and put it up for you to download here. Scary stuff and well worth listening to - to to hear what Gabs had to say and what his understanding of the industry is!

Gabs did go on to say that ICASA regulations require that at least 60% of local content be produced by independents. It's not actually true, since the regulations only require 40%... but lets not remind him of that! Better yet let's get ICASA to increase it to 60%?

Marc called in to the show towards the end of the session because it appeared to him that Gabs was misleading the public, telling them 100% of all local content is commissioned externally. "That's simply not true" commented Schwinges on air "News, Sport, Current Affairs and Special projects make up a huge percentage of airtime and the Rand value of local content - and these are handled completely in-house. Additionally "independents" are often compelled to use SABC resources (studios and facilities) for their projects... so to say it's 100% of local content done externally is blatantly untrue."

Marc analysed an old 2002 ETV Local Content Summary, which he still had on file. This is as E-TV submitted to ICASA in 2002 and from this example of data it was clear that 93 721 minutes of their 180 058 total local content for the year was just News and Current Affairs! That means in 2002 ETV was already doing more than 52% of its local content JUST in two genres! If you take into consideration that almost all programming except those two genres have repeats which count towards the local content total... (50% for first repeat), we see that 41840 was reported as total minutes in repeats for that year and that's half the commissioned content! It therefore makes sense that of the local content E-TV reported on for 2002, only about 25% was actually commissioned!

Marc does not believe SABC is in a much better position now and has requested a similar page from recent SABC submissions to ICASA over the last three years. ICASA has responded that the last two years compliance report on SABC are still not ready! This in itself is shocking, but at least they have agreed to assist supplying the requested raw data ASAP.

Remember that section 6 of the IBA Act of 1993 as amended says that at least 40% of local television programming must consist of programmes which are independent television productions. We need to FIGHT that this is increased and actually monitored, reported on and complied with.

ICASA has to our knowledge never reported on compliance of this regulation. Also remember that between years (let alone within the same year), ICASA has no effective means of monitoring repeats, and confirming per clause 8A (d) that further repeats past the first one (or if on another channel, or as part of an "omnibus" 2nd one counts), additional repeats don't count towards local content quotas! This is especially important as we note the increasing repeats of local content on air. Remember they WON'T count towards the local content quotas!

Marc comments that "To say producing in-house is cheaper is also untrue as the major cost currently on the "commissioned" content is clearly running the content hub itself (as much as 60% from what we know goes to running the content hub). If those costs were cut... we know that commissioned content would be cheaper than producing in-house. We ultimately only need to hold broadcasters accountable to clause 6 of the act, on the 40% issue... and actually INSIST on their latest compliance data to ICASA. We need to insist that ICASA monitor this accurately... it's in the act so why is compliance on this being ignored?"

Marc suggests a formal review of recent reports on SABC at ICASA (and if these areas are still omitted) then a formal industry wide complaint on these issues.

Encounters Requests help from Industry and Friends.

The following e-mail was received from Encounters. If you or members of your organisation are abel to assist Encounters, PLEASE do so. We desperately need festivals like Encounters to survive if our industry is to survive.

Dear ….
Since we made the public aware of the current funding crisis for the upcoming Encounters Documentary Festival (, numerous individuals have approached us with consoling words and offers for help. It is truly encouraging to see how many loyal supporters the festival has! 

We can confirm that the NFVF, who have supported the festival for 6 years, will continue to support it this year. Other funders who have committed to the 2009 festival include the British Council, the High Commission of Canada, the French Embassy, Tempest, the Goodman Gallery, Business Arts South Africa, The Times, Exclusive Books, Nu Metro and Cape Town TV. We are still waiting for confirmation of support from the Cape Film Commission.

Of course we would like to make the festival happen as originally planned - without a Johannesburg leg unfortunately, but running for longer in Cape Town from 2 to 19 July 2009 - and we believe that we can with your help. 

We would like to encourage you as a friend of the festival to contribute R1000 or more towards the festival budget. Your donation will contribute to cover costs for the South African film screenings at Encounters 2009.
To show our gratitude, we will invite you to the Opening Night on 2 July and in addition issue you 10 complimentary tickets for the festival screenings. Your name and contribution will be listed as one of the “Friends of the Festival” on our website. We believe that this information may ‘challenge’ others to contribute. If, however, you would like to remain anonymous, please let us know.

Please note that in November 2008 Encounters registered a non-profit Section 21 Company - the Encounters Training and Development Institute 2008/026397/08. 
It is governed by a Board of Directors, who are:

- Kgomotso Matsunyane – Television Producer (TOM Pictures)

- Dr Susan Levine – Anthropologist (UCT)

- Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC – Chairman, Barloworld Limited 

- Professor Ciraj Rassool – Historian (UCT and UWC) 

- Mandisa Zitha – Festival Director, Encounters

- Nodi Murphy – Co-Founder, Encounters

- Steven Markovitz – Co-Founder, Encounters

In line with the requirements for a Section 21, the Encounters Training and Development Institute is subject to an annual audit. 

Please deposit your donation into the following bank account (and send proof of payment to or Fax 021 4616964): 

Bank: Nedbank
Branch: Gardens Cape Town

Branch Code: 10 100 900

Account Name: Encounters Training & Development Institute

Acc No.: 1010 113518 (Current Account)

If you would like to help but cannot afford a monetary donation, here are a few suggestions of how to show your loyalty to the festival:

  1. Are you a hobby Paparazzo? If you take fairly good pictures and have a digital camera, you could cover our opening night and world première events and make your pictures available to us free of charge. 

  2. Get the word out there: If you have some time on your hands, help us distribute our programme booklets and posters in cafés, libraries, shops and other suitable venues in your area as from 11 June. 

  3. Hobby Chef needing to be discovered? Maybe even heading your own home catering business? Impress our guests at the opening night or world première functions with your culinary expertise. 

  4. Do you have an uncle who owns a wine estate? We are looking for a sponsor providing wine and/or other beverages for the opening night and other events. 

  5. If you own a 3 star hotel or Bed & Breakfast (preferably Waterfront vicinity), how about accommodating any one of our festival guests free of charge for 3 to 5 nights?

  6. You’re a budding filmmaker or just enjoy multimedia editing? Please present us your ideas for the Encounters 2009 trailer (30 sec screen advert based on the 2009 Encounters design; includes festival dates, venues, website and sponsors’ logos). This might take up to 3 days of your life…. 

  7. If you have time during the festival to volunteer to work at the cinemas, please let us know.

  8. None of the above? Then mobilize your friends and extended family to visit the festival screenings on a daily basis. Encounters is on at Nu Metro V&A Waterfront from 3 to 19 July, you can choose from at least four screenings per evening. Tickets cost R33. Forward the Encounters program to all your e-mail contacts, rave about it on your face book profile and help us get full houses for every screening. 

Thank you in advance for your support. For any enquiries please contact Irmgard Schreiber on 

Kind regards

Mandisa Zitha 

Festival Director

TVIEC Call for Industry to Join Peaceful Protest Action Against SABC on 4 June 2009

25 May 2009



The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) has come together in response to the current monetary and management crisis that is unfolding at the SABC. The entire industry is feeling the effects of the SABC’s crisis – writers, producers, actors, crew and all related service providers. The time has come for us to stand together in the interests of a healthy public broadcaster, in terms of our businesses, and in terms of our duty to the national audience. The survival of our companies, our industry and our stories is at stake!

In the past, broadcast policy and management decisions have been made largely without industry consultation. International precedent shows that this is not the way forward and now the coalition is determined to be heard.


The Coalition has launched a strategic campaign to lobby for an intervention from overseeing government bodies. One aspect of this strategy is protest action to make our voices heard. Since matters have now come to a head, a protest march on the SABC has been planned:

· Date: Thursday 4th June 2009

· 10.30: Joburg - Gather at Atlas Studios for rally

· 12.00: Cape Town - Gather on grass in front of SABC

· 12.00: Joburg - March to SABC

· 13.00: Joburg and Cape Town - march and picket at SABC

· 13.45: Joburg - Hand over memorandum

The demands are:

· Honour existing payment obligations

· Meaningful engagement and renegotiation of terms of trade

· Inflation related budget increases

· Intellectual property rights for the content creators

· Accountable & responsible management

· Cut bureaucracy and wasteful spending

· Mandated industry representation on the board

We wish to state that we cannot condone any form of mismanagement or abuse of funds of the public broadcaster and what are essential services for South Africans. Television and radio are some of the most powerful tools for building and shaping our society and values and the Coalition is committed to an on-going dialogue with our audiences and responding to their realities,

hopes and dreams.

WHERE YOU COME IN: How your company, body, organization, school or simply you as an individual can assist is by joining us in this protest action. Make banners and dress in red and let your voices be heard. Further, you can help us compile a comprehensive data base of emails and cell-phone numbers of everyone within your own particular sector. This information will be used solely for the dissemination of information regarding the march.


This letter 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) non-aligned producers and includes equipment suppliers and facilities representing 90% of the local content on air as well as the CWU (Creative Workers Union)

TVIEC Press Release - TV Industry to Stage National Protest Action

25 May 2009




The television industry in South Africa is reeling due to the monetary and management crisis at the SABC. Crews and cast are without work, production companies are facing closure and viewers are being cheated of quality programming.

The Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) was formed in response to the crisis. Together we represent more than 80% of the local content on air. In a meeting of the coalition in Johannesburg on 18 May it was decided to proceed with plans for a demonstration against the current management and administration of the SABC.

The protest has been provoked by the public broadcaster’s non-payment of millions of rand to independent producers and the subsequent retrenchments that are occurring throughout the industry. Estimates of up to R58-million owed have been made but it is not possible to confirm this amount as the SABC has been unwilling to reveal the extent of the debt. This amount does not take into account monies owed for royalties and repeat fees which artists, writers and producers have been struggling for years to elicit from the SABC.

The TVIEC is fighting FOR the SABC – for a transparent, fair and sustainable SABC that upholds the values of a credible and responsible public broadcaster, respectful of the South African public and its key partner in content supply – the local production sector.

Whilst the demonstration calls have been sparked by the anger over non payment, the TVIEC is convinced that the real issues are much deeper and more significant: unfair terms of trade, unsustainable business relationships with the content creators, unfair rights ownership (IP) and a deep arrogance manifested in the heavy handed management style the SABC displays.

Budgets are lower than they were seven years ago. Price fixing of fees for crew and cast and unsustainable production fees have left companies vulnerable and exhausted, while SABC management take home exorbitant fees and performance bonuses – some bonuses exceed an entire year’s production fee for a major daily soap – and enjoy first class air travel, 5 star hotel suites and lavish entertainment.

The Coalition has met repeatedly during the past months with a high level group of SABC executives but has received neither credible feedback nor action on commitments made by the SABC at these meetings. The Coalition is particularly dismayed that the CFO who is directly responsible for the fiscal management of the SABC - and thus the current non payment status quo - has not bothered to meet with the Coalition.

The industry has said NO MORE! A protest date has now been set for 4 June 2009. A TVIEC protest committee is coordinating participation by a broad spectrum of production companies, industry organisations, unions, friends of the industry, soapie stars, actors, technicians and the public at large.

Organisers have stressed that the campaign will be run in a responsible way, calling for immediate response to the demands for payment, for inclusive participation in the SABC’s turn around strategy and for interim management to be put in place to restore trust and integrity. It is anticipated that about 1,000 people will participate in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The TVIEC is simultaneously attempting to engage with the new Minister of Communications and other government stakeholders to facilitate urgent intervention and alleviation for the industry. The TVIEC is also researching legal options and the possibility of collectively withholding material from the SABC.

The president has called for a new dawn, we hope this applies to the SABC.


SOS & BEMAWU Update: Board Resignations, Communications from SABC dries up, DOC meeting, 702 interview, "In-sourcing" of production, union issues etc.

Another set of quick updates on the SOS Campaign for the last week - edited by SASFED and assembled for ease of reading.

  • Fadila Lagadien has now also resigned from the SABC Board. She is the third board member to resign. Please see article at IOL here.
  • Producers are continuing to struggle to get paid. Communications from the SABC's side has dried up, yet as you willl note in the interview with Gabs on 702 he denies this. Producers had two important meetings last week - an emergency meeting on Monday with independent producers to consolidate their position and to plan a way forward and a second meeting on Tuesday last week to meet with the Department of Communications.
  • As you will know protest action is being planned by the industry for the 4th of June. Further they have declared their lack of faith in SABC management, they have called for an interim management team to be put in place.
  • Kate spoke on Redi Direko's show on 702 on the 21st of May. She discussed the financial crisis at the SABC from 10:15 to 11:00, and was joined unexpectedly by Gabs Gabs Mampone, acting GCEO. He was saying that one of the ways forward on the producer crisis was to produce documentaries, dramas etc. in-house. This was the first time that independent producers had heard the suggestion. It was also not at all clear how the SABC was going to save money by adopting this new approach. . You can download the full interview here, and read more in a following SASFED blog post.
  • This weekend the Saturday Star was reporting that angry SABC staff were threatening to black out coverage of next month's Fifa Confederation Cup if their salary demands were not met. The unions are asking for a 12.5% increase the SABC is offering between 6 and 7%. The Sunday Independent claimed that the SABC has asked government for at least R2bn in the short term to get out of its present financial crisis but is still continuing to spend lavishly.
  • Further to this, the Broadcast, Electronic, Media and Allied Workers Union (BEMAWU) responded that the threat of a black-out is devoid of all truth. They said a handful of disgruntled employees decided to picket outside the boardroom where they had their meeting with the Board on Friday. One or two individuals threatened with a strike, but the union says they explained to them the legal position, that they cannot strike as the union signed a collective agreement (the multi-term agreement) and this agreement specifically says the parties must refer any dispute in respect of the agreement to the CCMA.
  • The Union met again with Board at 12:00 today to continue discussions.
  • The union reported a disastrous meeting on Friday where the SABC senior management lied about communication with it's own board. They said If there was no multi-term agreement it could have resulted in a strike.
The following is a letter sent by the Union to it's SABC staff members, which explains this "multi-term" agreement which exists:

On Thursday, 21 May 2009 BEMAWU served a letter of demand on the SABC to effect the CPIX + 1% increase in terms of the Multi-term agreement signed last year. We made it clear we will proceed with legal action should the SABC not implement the 12%. We were called to an urgent meeting on Friday, 22 May 2009 with Khanyi Mkhonza and Mr. Andile Mbeki of the Board. The CPO, CFO and other members of the Board/Management also attended.

We made it clear that we are not there to negotiate a percentage increase, but that we want to enforce our right in terms of the Multi-term Agreement.

The SABC admitted and acknowledged that SABC employees are entitled to the 12% increase. They explained the financial difficulty they are finding themselves in to us (again), and undertook to report back to us Monday, 25 May 2009 at 12:00 as to how they intend to implement the 12%.

Please note that a looming strike in respect of the salary increase is devoid of all truth at this stage. This however does not mean that we are not prepared to embark on procedural industrial action as and when the need arises.

We believe the SABC will implement 7% immediately, and discuss with us how to implement the rest in today's meeting. We are hopeful that we can reach an amicable agreement with them to avoid further legal action.

  • BEMAWU also made the observation regarding Gabs comments on "in-sourching" on the radio, that while obviously in-sourcing might increase their membership base.. they recalled that in 1997 McKensey recommended that the SABC do away with non-core business. They closed SAFRITEL which was responsible for producing content. They question why they paid millions to do that then and laid off thousands of staff and now they want to “insource” again?
  • The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee chairs have been announced. Ismail Vadi will continue to chair the Comms Portfolio Committee. This is good news for SOS since they have built up a good relationship with Ismail.
  • Dr. Melanie Chait, an ex-SABC board member and media trainer has sent through some thoughts on board appointments. She is arguing for a strong industry presence on the Board. Industry organisations are encouraged to nominate people and get in touch with SOS on their ideas.
  • Finally, Misa announced that the SABC is finally screening its controversial Special Assignment programme on satire.