Independent television producers and creatives threaten to “shut down the streets to the SABC” over a massive debt they say is owed to them by the public broadcaster.
Several bodies, including independent producers and screenplay writers, met as the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) on Wednesday to discuss the debt.
The group’s chair and chairman of the SA Screen foundation, Rehad Desai, said that the broadcaster owed independent producers around R150,000 for productions they had provided to the SABC. He said that the amount has been increasing every month since February.
“We met with them to speak about the money owed to us in April and they promised to come back to us with a payment plan in a few days. We are still waiting for that plan and so have decided to reach out to them and the Minister of Communications to try resolve the issue,” Rehad explained.
He said that a memorandum of demands would be sent to the SABC on Thursday and they would await a response within 14 days.
He threatened to take to the streets if their demands are not met.
“If we are not paid or given notice of a reliable payment plan, we will take our demands to the streets and shut down the streets to the SABC. We will march for however long it takes and we will fight until we get our money. We cannot be made to pay for the crisis that (former SABC COO) Hlaudi Motsoeneng has created at the SABC. Our children need to eat,” Rehad said.
He threatened that several popular shows, including “some of the biggest soapies in the country” could be pulled of screen as production grinds to a halt over non-payment.
Last month TshisaLIVE spoke to top soapie production houses Endemol SA and Word Of Mouth Productions, which produces Isidingo and Muvhango respectively. Both claimed that they had no issues with non-payment from the SABC.
Rehad disputed this and added that often larger production houses were paid first while smaller ones were neglected.
“It is not right that some production houses are paid while others are not,” he added.
Speaking to TshisaLIVE, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said that the matters was being handled by the SABC and national treasury.
“We are engaging with treasury to resolve our financial situation. Once we have got feedback from treasury we can engage with those concerned. Our financial situation is public and we are doing our best to pay people as we go along,” he added.