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.

24 June 2009

SOS Update - Minutes of SABC Parliamentary Hearings

The following update received from SOS.

Hello all

Thanks to Jane Duncan for sending me the minutes from the Parliamentary hearings held last week. Please find doc here.

As I am sure you are all aware now Nadia Bulbulia has also resigned from the SABC Board.

Tomorrow there will be further hearings into the activities of the SABC Board. Only two board members attended the hearings last week. The remaining board members have been summoned to attend tomorrow's hearing. I will be flying to Cape Town to monitor proceedings. In the afternoon the Minister of Comms will be presenting the Comms budget. It will be very interesting to see the allocations made in terms of the SABC. I will keep you updated on all developments.

Warm regards

Kate Skinner
Campaign Coordinator - Save our SABC

ICASA - Commissioning Draft Regulations

We today received a copy of a the ICASA Position Paper and Draft Regulations on Commissioning from ICASA. As you may remember SASFED did an extensive presentation to ICASA on this as both a verbal and oral presentation.

Please review the ICASA document as in my personal view ICASA has mist so much of our extensive submission, and have made a uninspired response to the issue of Commissioning and the imbalance of power between independents and the broadcasters.

The ICASA document can be downloaded as a PDF here.

The SAFSED original written submission to ICASA can be found here.


TVIEC - Press Release June 18th 2009

The following release was just made available by the TVIEC - It responds to the SABC's recent response the TVIEC's memorandum.

A Word Version of the release can be found here, and a PDF version here.

Press Release June 18th

The SABC’s response to the Television Industry Emergency Coalition’s memorandum indicates that the management fails to appreciate the real need to work with the independent production sector to find solutions that can help shield the industry and our viewers from the present crisis. They continue to act with arrogance. They continue to decide who will and won’t be paid monthly with no input from ourselves. Reasonable requests put forward by the TVIEC such as to have an independent professional (accounting firm or individual) representing our industry on their financial committee that determines the payment plan to our industry through the crisis are met with resistance. We will not standby idly while production houses are forced to fold and people loose their jobs. We are demanding that a payment plan be developed through a bi- lateral process and the onerous bureaucratic administrative processes recently imposed and used as excuses for non payment be lifted immediately.

The SABC Management needs to build genuine partnerships across the board, and specifically with content creators – the true custodians of public broadcasting who through changing boards and management, through battles between executives at the SABC continue to ensure that quality programming remains at the centre of SABC’s offering. It is the independent sector that truly deliver on the SABC’s public mandate and are central in promoting the values of the society.

There is no sustainable future for the SABC outside of real partnerships with content creators. We seek to see the SABC being built into a truly public broadcaster, free of government or state interference.

Over the last three years expenditure at the SABC has outstripped revenue. Despite this, senior management salary levels have increased dramatically and the number of middle management has grown without any check. The organization has been characterized by a top down approach to all things, an increase in bureaucracy and a deteriorating relationship with all its partners, including workers and the production industry.

The production sector’s deteriorating relationship with the SABC has been compounded by the unilateral imposition of new, onerous administrative contractual burdens on producers. What is also painfully evident over a five year period is that budgets have decreased. A good deal of the cost of programming goes to supporting this increased bureaucracy, and not to what appears on the screen.

Writers, actors, directors, editors, producers and other creative crew’s fees have been adversely affected over the past few years; this while SABC executives earn salaries equivalent to an entire years operating costs for a production company.

This situation has forced professional industry organisations to come together of late and assert that as key custodians of the public broadcast mandate we will no longer tolerate the de-professionalisation of the industry and in turn the public broadcaster. The recent and ongoing failure of the SABC to pay producers and their inability to give assurances as to when and if producers will be paid is highly informative and illustrates the degree of melt down.

The SABC need to demonstrate to the independent production constituency a true willingness to listen to their concerns. The industry is tired of years of lip service regarding partnerships we need to see some movement.

President Jacob Zuma has called for public institutions to be accountable, transparent, responsive, honest and committed to service delivery. There is dire need to translate this into reality at the SABC. We are therefore extremely disappointed that the SABC management still fails to appreciate the depth of the crisis they have caused in the industry and an unwillingness to take active steps to remedy this situation.

SOS Update - Parliamentary hearings

A Parliamentay hearing was held this afternoon (Thurs) at 2pm. Board members (both those who haven't resigned and those who are serving their three month notice period - which also includes Christin Qunta) were informed and invited to come down. Unfortunately the invitation was only sent to some board members at about 5pm last night (Wed). The letter stated that they could either be present in person or they could submit a representation in writing. In the end only two board members attended - Alison Gilwald and Nadia Bulbulia. Apparently they were given a grilling. The rest of the Board members have now been called to a meeting next week Tuesday.

As SOS we were hoping that the Board would be removed on a technicality - i.e. that it did not quorate and therefore could not fulfill its fiduciary duties or adhere to the Charter. We wanted the investigation to be short so that we could move swiftly ahead to appoint the interim board to stabilise the Corporation. We were hoping that Parliament would do an investigation at a slightly later stage into the details of the financial and governance crises at the SABC. It seems however that the process will not be quite as clear cut. Will keep you updated on all developments.

Warm regards

Kate Skinner
Campaign Coordinator - Save our SABC
(082) 926-6404

SABC News - SABC Could face another strike

In other news, we just saw a story on News24 with the headline "SABC could face another strike." It seems the Communication Workers Union now have a certificate from the CCMA which allows them to go on a protected strike if they choose to do so. Read the full story here.

SOS Update: Acting Chair of SABC Board resigns

The following update received from SOS again and of interest to members:

Hello all

The acting chair of the SABC Board, Ashwin Trikamjee has now also resigned. Please find Misa press alert on this below. As discussed, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee is meeting today to discuss the SABC's finances and strategic plan. There is also a possibility that Parliament will be investigating and removing the SABC board. Will keep you updated.
Warm regards

Kate Skinner
Campaign Coordinator - Save our SABC
(082) 926-6404

MEDIA ALERT UPDATE South Africa SABC’s Future Debated in Parliament

Three members of the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board could learn their fate today – June 18th. The remains of the board appeared before Parliament’s Communications Portfolio Committee on June 17th. Members of Parliament (MPs) indicated they could explore various options including taking steps to dissolve the board. News of an eighth member of the board resigning had MPs calling for decisive action to stabilise operations at the public broadcaster.

Opposition party MPs were quick to call for an establishment of a commission of inquiry to get to the root of the financial and management problems at the SABC. ANC MPs on the other hand have indicated they would push to use the new Broadcasting Amendment Act to dissolve the board. Opposition MPs said even if the board is dissolved, an investigation should be conducted to ensure there is no repeat of the financial mismanagement at the broadcaster.

The Communications Ministry confirmed acting SABC chair Ashwin Trikamjee has resigned. He sent a letter to Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda on June 17th. The move meant there are only three board members left of the 12 appointed by former president Thabo Mbeki in December 2007. “The minister has received the letter of resignation from Mr Ashwin Trikamjee as a member of the board of the public broadcaster and the minister has accepted it,” said the Communications Ministry’s Tiyani Rikhotso. Nyanda announced an interim board is to be established as soon as possible.

SOURCE: Radio 702

Media Statement released by the SABC in response to the TVIEC's memorandum

This is the media statement released by SABC in response to the TVIEC's memorandum of demands. It is similar to the response received previously by the TVIEC and published here, only now they have made it into a press statement. SASFED or TVIEC do not necessarily agree with any points raised in this response, and are still open to your input to facilitate a more formal response from the industry.



Johannesburg, 17 June 2009 - Following the public protest by the TV Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC) at the SABC on 04 June 2009, the SABC, after a careful consideration of the memo presented by the Coalition to the Corporation, respond as follows:


Over the last five years, the SABC has grown the local content’s budget from R230million to R1.1 billion.

The SABC has seen the growth of local content on television in the last three years from ratios of 60% international: 40% local to 70% local: 30% international content at present.

Alongside that has been the growth of the independent production industry from 20 companies 2004 to 408 in 2009, as a consequence of the SABC’s strategic investment in the industry.

The SABC sources 100% of it’s its local content from the independent producers except for sports and reversioning which is done in-house.

The mandate of the SABC on SA Content and the commissioning of independently produced SA programming are not mutually exclusive as we have seen the growth of local content impacting positively on the growth of the independent production sector.

In addition to the investment mentioned above, the SABC has created a specific industry development unit, to focus on developmental issues and targeted projects to assist with the growth of the industry. Listed hereunder are some of the projects:
Sediba Programme
• Provides Master Class training for commissioning editors, script writers, directors and producers on commissioned SABC programmes.
Student Reel
• Student Reel is an innovative television slot dedicated to screening films produced by students and aspiring film makers who would have otherwise not had an opportunity to have their work publicly screened
• It also enables regional diversity and women film makers an opportunity to have their content screened.
Regional Variation
• To ensure diversification of companies doing business with SABC, the SABC is preferentially procuring in the regions other than Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Western Cape.
And other projects such as Research and Development, ICONS and NABU’BOMI.
In response to the issues raised by the TVIEC in their memorandum of demands, the SABC would like to set the record straight on three major issues raised by the TV Industry:


The SABC acknowledges the challenges faced by the industry, and acknowledges what is due to them. However, at this moment it is difficult for the public broadcaster to make a definitive commitment in terms of how much we can pay our suppliers each month. We are also working block-by-block to create more certainty to our local industry creditors.

It is difficult for the SABC to make this commitment at this stage, as the corporation’s cash flow varies on a month to month basis.

In as much as we are facing a cash flow problem, we have however made inroads in trying to process payments due to our vendors in the Production Industry.

Last month the industry was owed R129 Million by the SABC, and this amount has been reduced to R60 million. This clearly shows that we are gradually dealing with this issue.

The SABC is in the process of finalising a payment plan which will soon be shared with the Industry, as agreed upon in a meeting held on 2 June 2009 between both parties.

Around the issue of systems and processes, the SABC acknowledges that proper systems and processes need to be in place in any organisation. Over the past five years, the organisation has invested in systems such as SAP, TVBMS and IPM, which are geared to assist with processes such as budgeting and commissioning.

We acknowledge that there will be glitches, but the SABC is committed to perfecting all systems and processes in place.

The Operations subcommittee including SABC and TV Industry representatives to deal with this issue will be revived with immediate effect.

Addendums are attached showing the Administration Value Chain and Payment.
(Note these were not supplied with the release?)


The Corporation takes the issue of intellectual property quite seriously, which is why the SABC has funded research around this matter. A report was received in October 2008 with recommendations, and the report was shared with the Production Industry.

We are expecting the Industry to interrogate this report, and the IP subcommittee exists to deal with these issues arising from the report.

An Indaba also needs to be finalized with all stakeholders such as the SABC, Production Industry and Government being involved to engage the matter.
It must be stressed that it is not the SABC’s sole responsibility to deal with this matter, but together with the Industry we need to approach government for assistance and guidance.

Some of the issues raised in the memorandum are not the SABC’s responsibility and should be referred to the relevant stakeholders. These issues are:
Price fixing on actors and presenter’s fees (Actors and Presenters are not directly employed by the SABC but by the respective Production Companies); therefore this issue should be dealt with collectively by all affected stakeholders (Actors, Presenters, Musicians, Producers and the SABC)
A mandatory provision for Industry representation on the SABC Board (This matter should be referred to the Portfolio Committee on Communications in Parliament as they recommend the names of Board members to the Presidency and the SABC is not involved in the selection of Board members.)
The SABC supports the enquiry on a suitable public service broadcast model. However, it must be stated once again that the SABC is constantly delivering on its local content quotas as set by ICASA.

During the 4th quarter which was between January-March 2009, both radio and television continued to surpass the minimum requirement on local content quotas. For example, the ICASA quota is 55% for SABC 1 and 2, and 35% for SABC 3, in this regard SABC 1 had 75.01% for full day and 73% for prime time local content and SABC 2 was at 74.93% for full day and 88.49% for prime time local content respectively. In regards to SAB3, they performed at 46.50% for full day and 44.82% for prime time local content.

In closing, the SABC reaffirms its commitment to building a vibrant, growing and transforming production industry and appeals to the industry to assist the SABC in these trying times, because the SABC depends on the production industry, as equally as the industry depends on the SABC. The production industry must also give credit where it is due, and acknowledge the enormous work the SABC has done in the arena of promoting local content.

Media Enquiries:
Kaizer Kganyago
SABC Spokesman
082 306 8888

SOS Update: On the SABC Board, letter to the Portfolio Committee, report back on MJ Naidoo event.

The following update was received from SOS and will be of great interests to all of us. Please send on to your members.

As you are probably all aware now there are only 5 people left on the board. They include: Kanyi Mkonza, Ashwin Trikamjee, Gloria Serobe, Nadia Bulbulia and Alison Gilwald. Trikamjee has indicated that he will be resigning when he returns from an overseas trip (he has done so since this update was written).

There is a Parliamentary hearing tomorrow where the SABC will be presenting its budget and strategic plans. It is not clear if Parliament will be holding the investigation into the Board at this point - or a little later. The investigation however should be a very short process. The Board will probably be removed on a technicality i.e. the fact that they do not quorate. The grounds for removal of the Board include the Board not fulfilling its fiduciary duties, adhering to the Charter or "controlling the affairs of the Corporation". The fact that the Board does not quorate means that they would not be able to fulfill any of these duties. The investigation could be over in 10 mins. SOS members have indicated that a quick investigation is a positive development. The old Board needs to be removed as soon as possible and an interim Board put into its place so that we can move swiftly ahead to stabilise the Corporate. The interim board consists of 5 non-executive board members and the Group Chief Executive Officer. The interim board members are selected by Parliament without a public process. SOS has sent a letter to the Chair of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, Ismail Vadi calling for the urgent removal of the present board and the establishment of the interim board. Please find letter here.

Also, need to report back to you all about the MJ Naidoo Foundation event that happened yesterday. The event was successful. There were some good inputs from the panel and the floor. The Minister gave a good input indicating that he was open to new ideas and perspectives. He said that he was open to the policy review process. He also indicated that he had been briefed by the previous Deputy Minister of Communications, Roy Padayachee re: SOS's activities etc. Finally, he stated that a new interim board would be put in place within the next two weeks. The plan is to contact him and set up a meeting. A copy of Libby Lloyd's excellent speech focusing particularly on SABC finances can be downloaded here.

Warm regards
Kate Skinner
Campaign Coordinator - Save our SABC
(082) 926-6404

TVIEC - Report back on Cape Town March

We had a good showing at the Cape Town picket for the short amount of time there was to organise it and also considering the stormy weather. There were plus minus 200 people strong, who were vociferous, angered and concerned, yet at the same time witty and playful. We sang, danced and vuvuzelaed in the drizzle, gave megaphone speeches and placarded.

We were not officially given permission to march but rather to picket outside the SABC. We received strong support from the public who drove past the picket in Beach Road and just about every car hooted loudly and yelled their support out of their car windows.

The memorandum and a copy of the general public sms campaign was handed to Mr Conrad van Schoor, SABC Western Cape Finance Manager he accepted it on behalf of Nomfundo Mpuntsha, Regional General Manager Western Cape - who was in a meeting in Johannesburg. At first he was too nervous to come across the road to accept the memorandum in front of the picketers. We eventually convinced him that he needed to do so to show good faith. He did in the end although very nervously and didn't say a word. There was a "Where is your chequebook?" from the crowd.

Interestingly SABC workers affiliated to the union BEMAWU in Cape Town were allowed to join the march over lunch time and they did do so - see the youtube video posted by Miki Redlinghuis.

At a point we decided to move across the road to go and picket a bit closer to the SABC building - but a very strong police force came out en masse and prevented us from getting too near the building. We peacefully receded.

As the march was dying down around two o clock which was also the official ending time of the march - the rain came pouring down and everyone was cleared off the streets without any need for police to intervene.

Everyone was very pleased to have been given a chance to demonstrate their grievances and frustrations with the SABC which have seriously mounted up over the years. Younger industry members were concerned about their futures.

There was a great sense of camaraderie and unity amongst all the various industry members. It was a very positive and encouraging experience. There is still much work to be done to create real change but we have taken the first step.

Thank you to you TVIEC Joburg for initiating this action and creating such an incredible show of collective energy, spirit and force.

Thank you all for facing the stormy Cape Town weather and coming out with great force and passion to voice our anger, frustration, discontent and disgust about what is currently and has been previously taking place at our supposed public broadcaster, the SABC. Viva Cape Town!

The simultaneous Johannesburg and Cape Town protest was a great success. We flexed our collective muscles and we demonstrated our collective force and all with wonderful touches of humour and creativity. We received much press coverage as well as public sympathy.

Thank you all for your hard work, support, commitment and enthusiasm in making the protests happen.

Unite in the fight for our rights

Kali van der Merwe
Other-Wise media
DFA Documentary Filmmakers Association boardmember


(although we had students from the various varsities - there was not formal support from the actual institutions themselves but they were obviously sympathetic)

City Varsity
SAFREA - South Africa Freelancers Association
IPO - Independent Producers Organisation
PANSA - Performing Arts Network South Africa
UCT (Performers Student Council)
Cape Film Commission
WWMP – Workers World Media Production
WIFTSA - Women in Film and Television
SAMGI - South African Media and Gender Institute
TPA - The Producers Alliance
DFA Documentary FIlmmakers Association
CWUSA - Creative Workers Union South Africa
SA Writers Guild
Stellenbosch University
Encounters Film Festival

Rooster Collective
Shamanic Organic
Tonnic Audio
Starving Comics
Solid Pictures
Sojourn Film and Media
Streetwize Casting
The Callsheet
Fierce Pix
Penguin Films
Rainbow Circle Films
Atomic Production
US Drama Department
North South Media
Shoal Creek
Joe Barber cc
TIme Gate
1Cut Films
Mama Dance
Clockwork Zoo
E Post Production
Other-Wise media
Plexus Films
See Thru Media
Fairweather FIlms
Take 2 Films
Soldiers of Informative Art
Women Unite
Get the Picture
Three Writers Group
Future Dimensions
Free Range Films
Brainwave Projects
Mouthful Entertainment
The Wendy House
Bubblegum Productions
APM cape - Artistes Personal Management
Shoot the Breeze Productions
4 Wall Films
Undercurrent films
(apologies if anyone was left off the list)


Co-Chair of the Documentary Filmmakers Association - Miki Redelinghuys, helped to organise the protest and also together with her team made a wonderful short documentary of the event - posted the same Thursday night.

Michael Lee also of the DFA and SASFED produced a great short documentary on the event in Johannesburg.

Firestorm Productions shot and edited footage from the June 4th 2009 march on the SABC by Industry workers in Cape Town, South Africa.

The topics discussed dealt with blacklisting of broadcasters, the pulling of the Special Assignment documentary on Shapiro (Zapiro) days before the general election and the interference by Luthuli house in (s)electing the executive board of the SABC.

Interviews were conducted with:

Kali van der Merwe
Adrian Galley
Colin Moss
Mark Myburg
Erica Wessels
Grant Swanby
Bongo Mbutuma
Nicola Hanekom
and Brian Heydenrych

They say we can " Feel free to use this footage in any form you feel fit to help fight the SABC injustices"

Here is the facebook address of the TVIEC protest with some great footage of the Joburg march


Great photos of Cape Town protest Facebook album by Nicky Newman

Protest pics Cape Town Protest on DFA website by Nicky Newman and Karen Landsberg

More Cape Town Protest Pics

Protest pics JHB on DFA website

Gallery of JHB pics on screenafrica


Keep updated on the action. Find out about the latest developments that are taking as to how the industry is responding to the SABC crisis