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: www.docfilmsa.com Membership applications can be made through the website here.

08 July 2011

Film Factory Call for Screenplays




















Please click the image to view details.

The Film Factory web site seems to be under construction at the moment.

This notice was posted to our facebook page.

07 July 2011

NFVF Short Film Competition




Deadline: 30 August, 2011
The National Film and Video Foundation, invites filmmakers to submit short film scripts to be considered for the 2011 NFVF Short Film Competition. The short film scripts can be in any genre but have to either be in an indigenous language and/ or be written by women.

The chosen scripts will be put through a series of workshops to better shape the story. After the workshop- 4 filmmakers will be given assistance to produce their short film scripts.

The winning films will then constitute a calling card for the successful filmmakers to the industry demonstrating their ability to tell cinematic stories in unique and interesting ways and open the door to their entry into feature film writing and directing.
Eligible filmmakers will be those with documentary, commercial, short film or television drama writing/ directing experience. Only SA citizens and permanent residents will be considered.

Requirements:

* Completion of the application form and supporting documents requested
* A reel of work indicating experience in documentary, short films or television
* A one-page outline
* A script of no less than 12 pages and more than 16 pages.
* Although the dialogue may be in any official language, the action and description must be in English. English translations of the dialogue must be provided using the split page facility in the Final Draft programme.

Click here for the application form.

For more information email Neiloe Whitehead (neiloek@nfvf.co.za) or email Naomi Mokhelefor (naomim@nfvf.co.za)media queries.

Original post here.

World Design Capital Judges visit Cape Town













Please click the image to read the details. [Links not clickable]

Denis Lillie elected Member of the International Academy of television Arts and Sciences















Please click the image to read the details.

DTI Production Incentives Updates




















Please click the image to see the details.

Children's Film Festival India Call for Submissions






INTRODUCTION
International Children’s Film Festival India: The Golden Elephant is a biennial festival that strives to bring the most
imaginative and delightful international & national children’s cinema to young audiences in India. The festival presents
features, shorts, live action and animation films over seven days of festive celebrations attended by more than one hundred
thousand children and hundreds of film professionals and eminent guests from around the world.

OBJECTIVES
· To promote cinema that is created exclusively for children
· To bring together high quality, entertaining, multi-cultural cinema for children who otherwise don’t have access to such content
· To cultivate insight and understanding of other cultures, lives and experiences through the medium of film
· To encourage children’s content that is non-violent, humane and thought provoking
· To catalyze critical appreciation and creative pursuit of cinematic arts amongst children and young people
· To support the work of talented and dedicated children’s film-makers and encourage the exchange of ideas amongst them

ORGANISER
ICFFI is organized by Children’s Film Society India (CFSI) – a Government of India organization committed to nurturing a
dynamic children’s film culture in the country. Since its inception in 1955, CFSI has been producing, exhibiting and
distributing exclusive, entertaining and enriching content for children. With an enviable catalogue

For guidelines and entry forms, please visit the web site.

My Town 2011 Celebration

Photos below from the My Town 2011 Short Film Competition after party at Daddy Cool in Cape Town:















Le Roux Schoeman
Zine Dine
My Town Winner 2011 NFVF Spark Award
















Collaborators + friend
[Gillian Benjamin, John Edwards, Anna Golman, Renee Roussouw]
Walk to Town
My Town 2011 DFA Cash Prize winners
















Serisha Letchmiah (short hair)
Gonzo Gardening
The subject of the film is wearing the two-tone blue top
















Duncan Tshikovhi
Life
















left: Dylan Valley DFA Youth Prtofolio
middle: Lauren Groenewald DFA Co-chair
right: Miki Redelinghuys My Town founder and co-ordinator
















left: Dylan Valley DFA board member
middle: Mbali Vilakazi Encounters co-ordinator
right: friend

06 July 2011

Counting Down to Durban FilmMart






5 July 2011

COUNTING DOWN TO DURBAN FILMMART 2011!

See who's registered for Durban FilmMart 2011 and book your own
space at Africa's premier film industry event. You can also view
the programme and confirmed speakers online

Please click here to find out more: www.durbanfilmmart.com

For information or to register as a delegate visit
www.durbanfilmmart.com or e-mail or Kamille Padayachee
on info@thoughtfire.co.za

NEW AWARD FOR 2011 DURBAN FILMMART

One of South Africa's leading film distribution companies,
Videovision Entertainment, has sponsored a brand new prize to be
awarded at the 2011 edition of the Durban FilmMart. The 'Best
South African Film Project' award, valued at R75 000, will go
towards nurturing and developing emerging African filmmakers.

The prize, which will be redeemed on completion of the film, includes:
• A guarantee by Videovision Entertainment to acquire the local
distribution rights
• The provision of funding to a maximum of R50 000 towards
the P&A for the release of the film in South Africa
• Ensuring that the film is released in South Africa
• Providing strategic advice to the filmmakers on the marketing
and distribution of the film
• Evaluation of the potential of the film for an international
release after viewing the final cut

OTHER AWARDS UP FOR GRABS …
* From IDFA & Jan Vrijman (two awards) - For the Most Promising
Documentary Projects
* From the Hubert Bals Fund - For the Most Promising Fiction
Project – 5000
Euro's
* PUMA.Creative – (three awards) PUMA.Creative Catalyst Award,
PUMA.Creative Mobility Award and the PUMA.Creative Impact Award –
adjudicated by Channel 4's BRITDOC Foundation



SPECIALISTS IN ATTENDANCE AT DURBAN FILMMART 2011…

CLAUDIA STEFFEN – Pandora Film

Founded in 1981 Pandora Film has become a leading distribution
company of international arthouse movies. In 1997 Pandora Film
Produktion was established in order to establish dialogue with
writers and directors who develop their own and unmistakable
cinematic language. The Pandora Film catalogue includes more than
80 films, including 'Above Us Only Sky' by Jan Schomburg,
'Medianeras' by Gustavo Tarreto and in Cannes Competition
'Le Havre' by Aki Kaurismäki, in 2011 and 'On The Path' by Jasmila
Žbanić, 'La Princesse De Montpensier' by Bertrand Tavernier, 'At
Ellen's Age' by Pia Marais and 'Home For Christmas' by Bent Hamer.


ANDREAS ROTHBAUER – Beta Cinema

Andreas Rothbauer is Head of Theatrical Sales & International
Acquisitions at Beta Cinema, the theatrical division of Beta Film GmbH.

Aside from Sales Credits for Academy Award nominated and winning
films like 'The Downfall', 'The Lives of Others' and
'The Counterfeiters', Andreas was responsible for some of Beta
Cinema's international key acquisitions like Sergei Bodrov's
Oscar nominated epic 'MONGOL - The Rise to Power of Genghis Khan'
and Paulo Sorrentino's Cannes Jury Prize Winner 'Il Divo'

He has given lectures and Master Classes on international film
distribution at film schools in Europe and is currently on the
board of the German Film Exporters association (VDFE)

KATE TOWNSEND - BBC Storyville

Kate Townsend is Executive Producer for BBC Four's flagship
international documentary strand, Storyville, where she is
responsible for developing and delivering commissions for
Storyville from the UK and the rest of the world, maintaining the
highest standards for the critically acclaimed strand. Storyville
delivers an eclectic mix of compelling stories from across the
globe. It has developed an enviable reputation since its inception
more than a decade ago, winning a staggering array of awards,
including Oscars, Griersons and Emmys.

Kate has experience of directing and producing a wide range of
factual programmes and has worked as a series producer in the BBC's
science department, including its flagship strand, Horizon and a
series on the history of psychology.

Vundla, A Generational Visionary















by Carly Ritz

He landed up in the arts after an attempt at law and politics.

Mfundi Vundla’s office in Auckland Park is where he holes himself up when furiously writing plots. It did feel as though one was trespassing in an artist’s studio.

Books, papers and CDs were scattered everywhere – David Greenblatt books and the Andy Warhol Diaries on the floor, a copy of Mandy Wiener’s Killing Kebble on the couch, with a visible bookmark well into the story, and an Amy Winehouse “Frank” CD on his desk. For a man of 64 he is more than in touch with pop culture and literature.

One of 11 children, Vundla speaks nostalgically about growing up in a big family. There was definitely a fight for resources especially when it came to food, he laughs. But no one ever messed with him or his siblings whom he is very close to and they still get together regularly as a family.

Vundla is still reeling from Winnie the Opera staged at the State Theatre last month. The opera is going to be performed for years to come and he’s elated to have been part of the project that tells the story of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s life – some of her most painful memories including the controversies surrounding her kidnapping and fraud conviction.

Vundla said that to her credit, Madikizela-Mandela did not interfere with the production and she was very emotional once she had seen it. She told Vundla after seeing the opera she felt truly acknowledged and also told CNN Vundla had done an amazing job.

Vundla, who was originally on the team that was to make Winnie the Movie starring Jennifer Hudson, walked away from the project over creative differences. Following a flurry of controversy, one being who would play the main character, Vundla and co-producer Andre Pieterse parted ways. He said he understood Pieterse’s reasoning for wanting an African-American woman like Jennifer Hudson to play the role of Winnie. “He wanted to win an Oscar for best picture and not for the best foreign language film. I saw his point and there are no hard feelings between us.”

And how could he not become attached to the movie with its controversy and humanity? God took care of him, he said, and gave him Winnie the Opera. When news broke that Madikizela-Mandela would not be granted a visa for Canada to see a show based on her life, due to her criminal record, Vundla looked into the issue.

It so happened the team behind this production, film-maker Warren Wilensky and South African born composer and musician Bongani Ndodana-Breen had completely re-worked the show to bring it to the South Africa and to Madikizela-Mandela. They entered into talks with Vundla who agreed to be both producer and librettist for the project. With financial aid from the Department of Arts and Culture, the show went on. The opera seems to have afforded Vundla creative justice.

It makes it hard to believe Vundla never planned a career in the entertainment industry. He admits to being a “closet poet” as a young child, with an affinity for theatre and the arts. He chose to study politics and law at Fort Hare. His time there was short-lived as he was expelled in 1968 in his second year of studies. He was part of a group of 21 students kicked out of the university for trying to mobilise students politically.

He came back to Johannesburg and made friends with a group of students from Wits University who helped him secure a scholarship at the University of Massachusetts. Although he had a passport at the time, it turned out to have expired.

Time stood still as he waited for his new documents. Without the passport he would lose his opportunity to go overseas. So he did what would eventually prove to serve him best, put pen to paper and wrote a telegram to social justice campaigner Helen Suzman explaining his situation. Within a week she had assured him that the passport was in the post and Vundla duly went overseas.

During his time abroad, he juggled a 9 to 5 job with writing plays. It was only until he met a fellow South African that things started to stir up. She introduced him to her brother-in-law, who was a leading cop drama writer and producer. He became Vundla’s mentor. Through working closely, Vundla learnt on the job – scriptwriting, how to write a plot and character development.

He spent 21 years in the States but always planned to come back home. So he returned following Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, together with his American-born wife, Karen.

Vundla approached the SABC – he may have had no formal training but was a Hollywood trained scriptwriter nonetheless and wanted to work locally. Sadly for him, the SABC did not do cartwheels about his Brixton cop drama idea, but they were looking for a soap opera. After spending time with his brother, who had made a successful career for himself in the world of advertising, the idea for Generations was born. Vundla pitched his concept about the glamorous lives of the ad world and won the national broadcaster over. That was 18 years ago.

So who are his favourite characters and which story lines are his best? Having worked closely with the cast and crew for many years, it’s natural that Vundla has a close bond with members of the team. But asking him to name his favourites is like asking a parent to choose their favourite child – you’ll never get an answer. But he speaks of Sophie Ndaba, Connie Ferguson and Katlego Danke among others with adoration.

New soapie on the block, The Wild, which is screened on M-Net has been the subject of gossip and debate in television and media circles. So, what does he think? He agrees that the setting of the show is beautiful but there are problems being faced that Vundla says were inevitable. The majority of South African productions are shot on set in an environment that can be controlled completely. Vundla explains that Generations is shot daily but production is three months ahead.

The nature of The Wild’s setting means that shooting can be interrupted by anything from the weather to planes overhead as most of its production is shot outdoors. The location is also in Heidelberg, south of Jo’burg, which delays production. “The structure is just not conducive to shooting a soap.” He says. But he commends some of the actors on the show and hopes it does well. “It is not in my interest for the show to fail. I love this industry and when it does well, we all do well.”

And his feelings on Connie Ferguson jumping ship? Vundla says that neither he nor Connie knew she would end up on The Wild when she left Generations but M-Net snapped her up. He still has a very close relationship with the actress and sees her regularly.

The photographs, paintings and certificates on his wall tell a story of a man who has experienced so much of life – both the bitter and the sweet. But there is a moment in time that reigns supreme for Vundla. He recalls the day fellow producer Frederick Stark came running into his office breathless to inform him that the president at the time, Nelson Mandela had requested to have lunch with the cast and crew of Generations. After Stark confirmed this was not a prank call they broke bread with the president, who thanked them for their wonderful work on Generations and bringing credibility to the industry.

His son is also making his mark in the entertainment business. Charles Vundla’s much anticipated film, How to Steal 2 Million, a story of gambling debt that goes terribly wrong,will screen nationwide later this year. It will be Charles’s first major movie and dad is very proud.

Vundla is already working on his next project. He has the rights to make a movie about Zimbabwean-born jazz singer Dorothy Masuka. Her music peppered the South African music scene throughout the 1950s. He spends day after day in his office anchoring himself in this time period and doing the research necessary for a project of this magnitude. Fati Moalusi, The New Age photographer, asks if the movie will be in colour or black and white. It’s the first question he’s hesitated on in an hour. “Good question,” he says, “I’m not sure.”

So what does he think will make our nation a great one? He refers to George Eliot’s novel, Middlemarch, in which the people who made England are said to be the ones lying in unmarked graves. In South Africa there are nameless and faceless people we don’t know, who get up every morning and go to work. These people make our country great. These people will mostly die unnoticed barring their family and friends – but it’s their hard work this country so desperately needs, he says.

Biography

Born: 10 September 1946

Education: Matriculated from Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto. Enrolled at Fort Hare University for a BA in politics, philosophy and English but expelled in 1968. Received a BA in politics and English at the University of Massachusetts and a masters degree in education from Boston U.

Political life: Although Vundla went into exile in the US in August 1970, he remained an active member of the ANC. While abroad he helped found the African Arts Fund, which raised money to take black, coloured, and Indian South Africans to the US to study fine arts. The fund was responsible for educating several well-known South African artists, dancers and musicians.

As an active member of the ANC, Mfundi raised awareness about apartheid in California, fighting for its abolition. After the dismantling of apartheid, Mfundi settled in South Africa in 1992, joined by his wife and son in 1993.

Past Productions: In that same year, Mfundi created Generations, which he took to the SABC. To date, the soapie remains influential as the first local show to focus on the needs, dreams and aspirations of black people.

In 2000, Vundla obtained a contract from e.tv for a new youth soap opera; and so Backstage was born. He broke new ground, using it to develop and showcase South African talent. He was also the executive producer of the movie In My Country, which stars Samuel L Jackson and Juliette Binoche.

He also co-created Jozi-H with Karen Briner, a one-hour hospital drama series set in the Johannesburg General Hospital. As a Canadian -South African co-production, it aired in Canada on CBC Television in 2006 and in South Africa on SABC3 in 2007.

The 3D animated series Magic Cellar, based on African folk tales, features a multi-cultural cast. The series is a co-production between Vundla and director Firdaus Kharas with original music written by acclaimed South African composer Musa Manzini.

Original article here.

Mzansi Magic Call for Submissions













Unfortunately I was unable to find the original call from Mzansi Magic's web site within my crammed day. So I have posted from the blog that alerted me to the call:

The home of local South African television programming - Mzansi Magic - is calling for project submissions on low budget feature film projects from KwaZulu-Natal to be developed into 60 - 90 minute films and to be aired on the channel. Submission deadline is 15 July 2011.

With Mzansi Magic’s focus still firmly set on boosting the local film industry, the channel has collaborated with the Durban Film Office (DFO) on this project and the DFO will facilitate the call for submissions. The DFO is the film industry development arm of the City of Durban, operating under the auspices of Economic Development Unit of eThekwini Municipality.

“The DFO has prioritised the development of emerging filmmakers with programmes such as the Producers Lab, which is an incubation programme for film sector SMMES in partnership with the SmartXchange Technology and Innovation Hub. Facilitating this call out for Mzansi Magic is a continuation of our efforts to develop young filmmakers in Durban”, states Toni Monty, Acting C.E.O of the DFO.

Mzansi Magic will consider commissioning ten projects for development based on the caliber of projects submitted. Mzansi Magic’s Channel Manager Lebone Maema and Nirvana Singh, Commissioning Editor say “Selected projects will have the opportunity to hone their scriptwriting skills by participating in script development workshops facilitated by Yizo, Yizo 1 and 2 co-creator/writer and Jerusalema associate producer, Mtutuzeli Matshoba and stand a chance to be made into a Mzansi Magic feature movie”.

Filmmakers should submit the following in order for their projects to be considered:

1. Title page

2. 1-3 page synopsis

3. Complete screenplays will be a definite advantage.
The title page of the project must show the Story Title, the name of the author, author's ID and Contact details (Please do not decorate the title page)

Please note that submissions must be in Mzansi Magic offices by 16h00, 15 July 2011.
Please submit to:

Nirvana.Singh@mnet.co.za and Moloisi.Mabeba@mnet.co.za

Or Mail to

Magic Centre Reception

137 Bram Fischer Ave, Ransburg, 2194, Johannesburg, Gauteng

For more information, please contact:

Musonda Chimba at the Durban Film Office: chimbam@durban.gov.za and/or
via telephone on 031 311 4248 Or
Moloisi Mabeba at Mzansi Magic: Moloisi.Mabeba@mnet.co.za and/or
via telephone on: 011-686 6000.

Mzansi Magic – DSTV channel 107- is a proudly South African, locally focused, general entertainment channel. It is available to MultiChoice subscribers on DStv Premium, DStv Compact and DStv Select bouquets.

(ScreenAfrica)

Found here.

05 July 2011

Pre-DIFF Networking Platform







After the HUGE success of our last networking platform, it's back ...

The NEXT HUGELY FABULOUS NETWORKING PLATFORM ... (yes, writers are fabulous too!)
This time we are inviting all our partners from SASFED and generally Filmmakers and interested media partners. A soiree before we all head off to Durban for DIFF.

So many people made really great new contacts so ... ehem ... make the circle bigger and share the love! We're all here because of each other!

See you there ... or we'll gossip about you and spread dirty rumours behind your back (we can be really creative, WE ARE WRITERS!!)

We are inviting all WGSA members and members of our sister organisations (SASFED) to join us for a half-priced cocktail on:

23 July 2011
at The Office in Greenside (10 Gleneagles Road)
from 16h00 to 18h00.

Meet TV and Film writers.

Meet the producers, editors and actors who have joined forces with us in creating a better tomorrow for ALL in the Film Industry.
Cocktails are half-price until 18h00.

Join our Face book fan page to RSVP and for updates!!

We look forward to seeing you there!

04 July 2011

New Gadgets Don't Kill Old Media








South Africa cleaned up the awards at the Cannes advertising festival last month, but it failed miserably in the digital category. There are lessons to be learned, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

The village of Cannes in the south of France may not be the best place to take the pulse of online media, but when the International Advertising Festival comes to town every June, it offers a revealing insight into the Internet’s place in the creativity pecking order.

More than anything else, it shows that creativity in TV and radio advertising is still thriving, and the Internet has caught up – but not in South Africa. While we clean up in most categories, this country has never won an award in the digital category – the Cyber Lions – at Cannes.

This year highlighted just how bad things are: a grand total of one entry even made the shortlist.

It’s worth highlighting the entry that made it that far. It was made by the Ogilvy Johannesburg ad agency on behalf of People Opposed to Woman Abuse (POWA), and came in the form of the simplest of YouTube videos.

“We used the residents of a typical middle-class neighbourhood in South Africa as unknowing participants in a stunt designed to shock South Africans out of their apathy regarding woman abuse,” the agency said in its submission.

“Unbeknown to the residents, we set up an experiment in a middle-class neighbourhood in South Africa… On one night we held a practice drumming session in a quiet town-house complex; on a different night we staged a violent domestic fight with the sounds of screams, smashing glass, punches and slamming doors, to see how the neighbours would respond. We documented the event and created a two-minute mini-documentary, which we sent around virally.”

The stunt proved exactly what it set out to show: neighbours lined up to protest about the drumming; they utterly ignored the sounds of violence (Click here to view the advert.)

“Our objective was to confront them with their own implicit tolerance of woman abuse, and force them to realise they are passively contributing to a society that allows 1400 women to be killed a year, because no one is willing to speak against it.”

After the video went online, an unprecedented number of men called to report suspected woman abuse. To date, it’s been viewed more than 600 000 times on YouTube.

The video was made on almost zero budget. Ad campaigns with massive budgets come nowhere close to its online impact. This is not unusual with public interest and pro bono campaigns; agencies are usually given far more creative leeway for such campaigns. This means they instantly become more adventurous and brave.

Yes, the ugly truth about this glamorous industry is that it remains deeply conservative, and nervous of offending its clients.

It’s also a factor of the Internet remaining the poor relation in South African agencies. The medium terrifies them because it is so difficult to come up with effective strategies, but so easy to measure performance. Until agencies entirely re-educate themselves, they have little hope of competing in the brave new digital outside world.

They could do worse than use Cannes as the starting point for their education. The highest possible award, the Grand Prix, went to three digital entries:

Google won with “The Wilderness Downtown”, an interactive music video featuring cool rock band Arcade Fire, R/GA New York took the honours for “Pay with a Tweet”, a social networking payment system that started life as a marketing campaign, and Wieden + Kennedy Portland was rewarded for the now-legendary Old Spice Body Wash campaign featuring the muscular “Old Spice Guy” in a cutting edge campaign for what had become a very old-fashioned brand.

These very different campaigns had one thing in common: they reinvented the way people thought not only about brands, but also about how the digital arena is evolving. The local ad industry may want to take note of the ground shifting beneath their feet.

* Arthur Goldstuck heads up the World Wide Worx market research organisation and is editor-in-chief of Gadget. You can follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

Original article here.

IPO Media Statement on Current SABC Crisis

2 JULY 2011

ARE WE WITNESSING THE SELF DESTRUCTION OF THE PUBLIC

BROADCASTER?

The Independent Producers' Organisation (IPO) is dismayed by the news of a further crisis at the SABC and the resignation of Board member, Peter Harris. We believe that the delay in the appointment of a competent Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) and the placement of a yet another Acting GCEO is a huge problem.

We would like to point out that most of the organisation is run by people in an acting position. There is no GCEO, no Chief Financial Officer and no Chief Operating Officer either. The inability of the Board to act decisively in the appointment of a GCEO means the continuation of a situation of administrative limbo.

We have to ask the question – why is the board not making a decision on a GCEO? Is it due to the lack of a suitable candidate or is there undue lobbying and pressure being placed on the selection? Whichever the reason (and both are cause for concern), the continued lack of competent leadership at the SABC is deepening the crisis of an organisation already in trouble and debt.

In addition, the strategy to not renew contracts of staff members – no matter what skills or position they hold, is denuding the SABC of crucial skills and talent. Further, it perpetuates operational inefficiencies as existing staff members are required to work outside their areas of expertise. Strong leadership needs to identify competent staff, find mechanisms to keep them with the organisation and let go of the dead wood.

The independent television production sector, already decimated by the crisis of 2010, struggles for survival as the promised and vital RFP’s for television content have been delayed for eight months now. The impact of this will be felt soon, as there is less and less new content available to broadcast.

The turnaround strategy developed by Deloitte Consulting has been designed without any input from the production industry, its main supplier and a key stakeholder. We understand the strategy is to be presented to the staff later this month. It is absurd that consultants are devising a turnaround strategy without broad industry consultation.

Have no lessons been learnt from the past 4 years? The independent production sector provides the SABC with its greatest revenue drivers and sits at the core of its business – the creation of content.

The independent production sector believes that the appointment of the right GCEO - someone with the skills and vision to manage this huge and troubled organisation - is critical for the SABC's survival.

We call on the incumbent SABC Board to do this with transparency and efficiency, remaining mindful of the great responsibility that it bears toward the South African public. We support the SOS's call for the release of the Minutes of the Board Meeting which the Minister attended, and for the changes to the Articles of Association to be made public.

Our society desperately needs the SABC to fulfill its key mandate in providing excellent programming for South Africans, which informs, educates and entertains. This mandate is entrenched in our laws and is essential to the health of both our society and our democracy. It is a mandate which transcends narrow political interests. We urge all stakeholders to respect this.

For further information please contact Sulona Reddy at 083 708 9600 or
sulona@iafrica.com

Minister 'interefered' in Selection of SABC Head















The embattled SABC has been rocked by a new scandal, with the ANC being accused of politically interfering in the process of appointing a new chief executive officer, and the dismissal of the acting incumbent Robin Nicholson.

The claims come in the wake of the resignation of SABC board member Peter Harris and the dismissal of the chief financial officer Nicholson, who had been acting in the position of group CEO since the sacking of Solly Mokoetle last year.

Nicholson intends suing the public broadcaster for damages.

An SABC board member said the board had completed the interviews for the CEO.

Its preferred candidate, who came out tops during the process, was Tau Morwe, CEO of the Transnet National Ports Authority.

However, according to the board member, the ANC was “unhappy” about the selection process as it and Communications Minister Roy Padayachie wanted Joe Mjwara, a director at Business Connexion who previously worked as the deputy director-general in the Communications Department, to be appointed to the most powerful position at the public broadcaster.

“The ANC rejected him (Tau), they want Joe. The minister (Padayachie) has to fall in line. There’s a high possibility, a 99 percent chance that we have to restart the process, because how do you explain that Joe, who came in at number three, should be appointed above Tau, who came in at one? We would have to start all over again,” the board member said.

At an ANC communications sub-committee meeting at Luthuli House on Tuesday afternoon, which Padayachie attended, the ANC resolved that the selection process had to be redone because Morwe’s “political activism was not clear”.

“Technically, his CV looked impressive, but where he came from, his background politically, was not clear. We don’t want to take chances with the position of the CEO. We don’t know about his activism,” an ANC member said.

It’s no surprise that Nicholson was given the boot.

Certain board members, those most aligned to the ruling party, have been gunning for him, with one board member saying he had to go as he had “presided over an SABC which had financially collapsed on his watch and now he attempted to be the saviour of the public broadcaster”.

“Nicholson’s position has always been in question. It was no coincidence that he was away when this happened. You can make your own deduction. He was told to go to the Auckland Park offices and pack his things. He is humiliated. And as of Friday morning Phil Molefe sits at the helm of the SABC,” said the board member.

On Friday, a livid Nicholson said he had served the board with a lawyer’s letter on Thursday night stating his intention to sue.

On Wednesday Padayachie, during a specially convened general meeting, amended the articles of association, paving the way for the board to drop Nicholson in favour of head of news Molefe as acting CEO. Nicholson said neither he nor chairman Ben Ngubane had been in attendance.

Following the meeting the board met and resolved that Nicholson’s contract would not be renewed.

Nicholson said the meeting where Molefe was appointed was not “properly constituted” because the chairman was not present and the directors did not have the powers to appoint an acting chair. Ngubane could not be reached for comment.

“In order to defeat me they had to change the articles. They filled the acting appointment and have claimed to have ended my contract,” said Nicholson.

He said Padayachie had been more than a sideline player in the bid to unseat him. “Not only did the minister support this but he created the environment where it could happen. Why have an emergency AGM?

“There was direct political interference by the minister in the affairs of the board.”

ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said it was up to Padayachie to decide on who was appointed as SABC CEO.

“If the minister is not satisfied, he can reject the candidate.” - Sunday Argus

Original article here.