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.

01 July 2010

From Screen Africa: Retain Icasa's independence

Angela van Schalkwyk, Editor, ScreenAfrica, 1 July 2010

While there are many worthwhile changes in the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (Icasa) Amendment Bill that has just been gazetted, the Bill also seeks to give the Minister of Communications more power to interfere.

The good parts of the amendments are the clauses which ensure that Icasa operates more efficiently. For instance, a finding in an inquiry must be made within 90 days and not 180 days as stipulated previously. Turnaround times for the Complaints and Compliance Committee are also to be improved. The Committee must commence a hearing within 45 days from the date the complaint is lodged and make a finding within 60 days from the date the complaint is lodged and not 90 days as before.

But also to be found amongst all the legalise of amendments to the Act, is the introduction of new powers for the Minister. These relate to the following: Icasa must implement policy and policy directives as issued by the Minister; the Minister "must when appointing the chairperson and councillors" assign their primary responsibilities; the chairperson and council must "perform such functions as the Minister may determine, subject to prior notification being given to Parliament"; the evaluation of councillors "must be conducted by the Minister, in consultation with the National Assembly" and the Complaints and Compliance Committee members are to be nominated by the Minister in consultation with Parliament.

The Minister is a member the ruling political party and in this capacity cannot be independent of the interests or agendas of the government. Icasa is an important regulatory body with powers to determine how the media should operate. If Icasa is subject to interference by the Minister, then it will bring into question its ability to act independently in matters of public interest. Broadcasters in many African countries are dictated to by their governments and consequently freedom of expression is undermined and new opportunities for establishing media business is stifled.

The danger is not that ICASA is incapable of making the right decisions; the danger is that political interference will compromise its integrity and independence.

This week at The Bioscope

TUES 29 JUNE: A State of Mind. 6:30pm. R35
A State of Mind is an observational film following two young North Korean gymnasts and their families for over eight months in the lead up to the Mass Games- involving a cast of thousands in a choreographed socialist realism spectacular- the biggest and most elaborate human performance on earth. A MUST SEE. READ MORE / WATCH THE TRAILER / 93% ON ROTTENTOMATOES.COM

WED 30 JUNE: I've Loved You So Long. 8pm. R 35
I’ve Loved You So Long (French: Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) is a 2008 French drama film written and directed by Philippe Claudel. The film follows the story of a woman struggling to interact with her family and find her place in society after spending fifteen years in prison. WATCH THE TRAILER / 90% ON ROTTENTOMATOES.COM

THURS 1 JULY: 180 DEGREES. 8pm. R 35
The Bioscope will have an exclusive screening of this new film from accalimed Mexican director Fernando Kalife. All before its international premiere – Do Not Miss This!

Macu has lived on the outskirts of São Paulo all his life. During a surprise birthday party organized by his mother he reencounters two of his childhood buddies who no longer live in the neighborhood. Even though the two friends had moved away, they still have unresolved business to take care of in the neighborhood, Capão Redondo, a district riddled with gangs and drugs. Filmmaker Jeferson De will be in attendance.

This musical documentary richly describes the scenario of Brazilian Popular Music during the 60 and 70’, through the path of the innovative and revolutionary musical group Novos Baianos. It particularly portraits the influence that João Gilberto played upon their musical life and his valuable contribution to the improvement of the songs composed and sang by them. Cast and crew will be in attendance.

Besouro was the most famous capoeirista (player of the Brazilian martial art Capoeira). Besouro tells the story of a boy that defies the laws of physics, like the flying beetle he takes his name from, and becomes a hero that defies prejudice and oppression. A film filled with adventure, passion and mysticism. Cast and crew will be in attendance. WATCH THE TRAILER

Stephen Mncube the new ICASA chairman

Staff Writer MyBroadband | 30 June, 2010

ICASA Chairperson Paris Mashile’s replacement named by Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda

Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda today announced that Stephen Mncube will be the new Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Chairman, taking over from Paris Mashile whose term expired today.

Techcentral reported that Nyanda made the announcement at Mashile’s “Chairman Farewell” function held at the Sandton Sun.

According to Bloomberg Dr Stephen Sipho Mncube served as a Manager in the Development Information Business Unit at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Mncube further served as Chairman of Sentech and as a non executive director of Arivia.Kom.

Mncube also spent some time in the U.S.A. where he took up various senior research and management positions at universities, public schools, corporations and institutes, at UNICEF, and at the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Mncube holds a PhD in Adult Education from Syracuse University.

28 June 2010

Article from the Financial Mail: SABC financially unsustainable?

Starting all over again

Carol Paton, Financial Mail, Johannesburg, 24 June 2010

The SABC board has gone back to the drawing board to appoint the corporation’s head of news, a decision backed by minister of communications Siphiwe Nyanda.

Board chairman Ben Ngubane — who unilaterally appointed staffer Phil Molefe to the position a month ago, before the board had completed the interviewing procedures — has reluctantly had to accept the decision.

The four candidates who had been short-listed for the job will now be evaluated by the interviewing committee and a recommendation will be made to the board. However, Nyanda, who met the board last week, appealed to it to delay any further discussion on the future of Ngubane or CEO Solly Mokoetle — both of whom had acted in defiance of the board over Molefe’s appointment — until “after the World Cup”. After the appointment, the board passed a resolution stating there had been a breakdown of trust between it and Ngubane.

“The shareholder [represented by Nyanda] agreed that the process of interviewing, scoring and recommendation for the head of news should [be resumed] ,” said a member of the board. “But he also said that to retain the integrity and sustainability of the corporation, we should not take actions that will precipitate another crisis. He suggested that we deal with other things later.”

While board members have differing views on what should be done about Ngubane (who is appointed by the president) and Mokoetle (appointed by the previous board) they agreed to hold off discussing it, in the interests of dealing with other pressing issues. Chief among them is the SABC’s financial position.

The financial statements for 2009/2010, which were seen by the board last week, show the corporation is still in the red. Losses are believed to be in the region of R400m, though this is significantly less than last year’s R900m .

Also, crucial targets were missed by management. These were not set by Mokoetle, who took up his post only in January 2010, board members strongly feel he has not provided leadership.

Finance minister Pravin Gordhan met Ngubane last week. As treasury provided the SABC with a R1bn credit guarantee last November, he has a special interest in the corporation’s financial affairs. In terms of the loan guarantee, the SABC is obliged to meet certain targets and conditions.

It must also submit a turnaround plan before a further R473m guarantee will be provided.

Without a strong plan the SABC could be judged financially unsustainable when its audit is finalised in July.

SOS Congratulates the Board for beginning to address the serious governance breaches at the SABC but calls for further action



28 JUNE 2010

The SOS Campaign representing a number of trade unions (including Cosatu, Fedusa and Bemawu), a host of NGOs (including Media Monitoring Africa, the Freedom of Expression Institute and Misa-SA), CBOs, industry related bodies, academics and freedom of expression activists congratulate the SABC Board on beginning to remedy the serious corporate governance breaches at the SABC as regards the appointment of the Head of News. SOS is heartened to hear from a number of media reports including the Financial Mail that in line with good corporate governance practices an interview panel will continue its assessment of candidates for the position and make recommendations to the Board.

However, SOS believes strongly that these corporate governance breaches can not be laid to rest here. The Coalition believes that it is still imperative that action is taken against the Chair of the SABC Board. SOS still calls on Dr. Ben Ngubane to resign. This is in light of the fact that he can no longer be trusted to lead the SABC. The Auditor General’s Report looking into corruption and mismanagement at the SABC stated clearly that the SABC needs to ensure leadership and impeccable adherence to good corporate governance procedures going forward. But Dr Ngubane unilaterally decided to appoint the Head of News thus circumventing the SABC’s own internal processes and contravening good corporate practices and protocols as stipulated in the Broadcasting Act, Public Finance Management Act, the Companies Act and King III.

Further, the corporate governance breaches perpetrated by Dr. Ngubane caused such serious governance crises at the SABC that the Minister of Communications was called on to intervene. But ideally the Minister should not be playing an interventionist role. The SABC is a public not a state broadcaster - the Board should govern the affairs of the Corporation. However, the actions of the Chair have directly encouraged Ministerial intervention.

Further, SOS would like to know what action is being taken against the SABC’s GCEO, Solly Mokoetle. We note Mr Mokoetle initially implemented Dr Ngubane’s illegal decision to appoint the Head of News as Mr.Phil Molefe. Then after the Board had clearly stated this action was illegal, he then again confirmed Mr. Molefe as Head of News thus further deepening the corporate governance crises at the SABC.

Finally, linked to this sad state of affairs, SOS again notes the very serious allegations of censorship at the SABC related to this latest governance saga. Once again we call on the Board to investigate allegations in this regard - and in particular the role of Dr. Ben Ngubane, Mr. Solly Mokoetle and Mr. Phil Molefe. SOS notes the Deputy Chair of the SABC Board was censored when commenting on the appointment of the Head of News. Further, it appears that certain union (including Cosatu) and NGO (including Media Monitoring Africa) pre-recorded radio interviews were spiked as they critically commented on the appointment. Also, SOS notes the resignation of the Head of Radio News. SOS notes that allegations have been made that she broadcast, as she was obliged to, the Board’s press statement clarifying the illegal nature of the Head of News appointment. For taking this editorially sound decision she was then illegally disciplined which allegedly led to her decision to take early retirement.

SOS would like the SABC to communicate clearly to the general public on these issues rather than through the media. It is critical that the SABC foster a culture of transparency and communication. As a public broadcaster the SABC’s main stakeholder is the public. Hence the SABC needs to ensure that its decision making and governance processes are transparent to the general public.

For more information please contact:

Kate Skinner – SOS Coordinator - 082-926-6404
William Bird – Executive Director Media Monitoring Africa – 082-887-1370
Siphiwe Segodi – Freedom of Expression Network – 072-655-4177
Melissa Moore – Head Law Clinic Freedom of Expression Institute – 082-924-8268
Matankana Mothapo – Spokesperson Communications Workers Union – 082-759-0900
Hannes du Buisson – President Broadcasting Electronic and Media Workers Union – 082-920-8669