Monday, March 30, 2009

Letter to SABC Executive and Board


Attention: Ms Kanyisiwe Mkonza – Chairperson SABC board
Mr G Mampone - Acting Group CEO SABC
Mr Robin Nicholson - Chief Financial Officer SABC
Ms Charlotte Mampane – Acting Chief Operating Officer SABC
25 March 2009

Dear Sir/Madam

The Television Industry Coalition (“TVIC”) has come together in response to the current
monetary and management crisis that is unfolding at the SABC.

The TVIC is driven by the IPO (Independent Producers Organization), SASFED (South African
Screen Federation), TPA (The Producers Alliance) and non-aligned producers and includes
equipment suppliers and facilities representing many of South Africa’s most popular shows such
as Nomzamo, Isidingo, Generations, A Place Called Home, Strictly come Dancing, Tsha Tsha,
Khululeka, Relate, Tshisa, Mtunzini, Erfsonders, The Lab, Home Affairs, Unsung Heroes,
Hopeville, Moferefere Lenyalong, Drawing the Line, Zone 14, Late Night with Kgomotso, uGugu
no Andile, Takalani Sesame, Askies, Redemption and Stokvel, to name but a few.

We are concerned about the impact the SABC crisis is already having on our industry in terms of
decision making, budgets and payments, and also how this will escalate over the next few
months. We are concerned that the independent sector will not be consulted in the “turn
around” strategy and solutions posed by the SABC, and that our sector will end up carrying
much of the SABC’s financial crisis. We are also concerned about the future impact on local
content in terms of quantity and quality.

These concerns may be misplaced but as we have had no communication from the SABC in this
moment we feel compelled (as a central contributor to, and partner in, the SABC’s business) to
request a formal meeting to discuss the issue.

We would like to ensure that the interests of independent producers, suppliers and our
audiences are represented in the resolution of the current funding and management crisis at
the public broadcaster.

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
one 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. The quality, quantity and relevance of content that is screened on public
television is of central concern since this affects not only the broadcaster and the local content
providers, but most importantly the South African viewing audience.

The independent production sector is the lifeblood of the public broadcaster providing high
quality local content in line with the SABC’s mandate from ICASA and drawing in millions of
viewers. While we realize that these are hard economic times, we seek to collaborate with the
SABC to avoid unnecessary insolvencies, job-losses and to avert any compromise in terms of
local programming. Local content not only drives revenue for the broadcaster but also plays a
vital role in the lives of millions of South Africans - entertaining, educating, nation building and
re-affirming our identity.

The TVIC believes that it can play an active role in the SABC formulating new strategies for cost
reduction, new sources of revenue and sustainability. We have a dual interest in a healthy
public broadcaster, in terms of our businesses, and in terms of our duty to the national

In the light of this we urgently wish to gain clarity on the following issues which are of critical
importance to our associates:

1. Can you meet your contractual financial obligations for the rest of the financial year on
active and outstanding contracts?
2. Can you pay the money you owe on final payments on programmes already delivered,
and if so, could you provide a time-line for that payment?
3. Will you be able to commission and pay and for the projects that you have got RFPs out
for currently?
4. Have you got money to honour outstanding and future royalties, residuals and repeat
fees owed to the independent sector?
5. What processes are you considering that will directly affect the independent production

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
that the SABC is in crisis, the coalition is determined to be heard. The survival of our companies
and our industry is at stake. We therefore request an urgent meeting between yourselves and
a delegation of our members to discuss these matters and would appreciate a response by
noon on Friday 27th of March 2009.

Yours Sincerely

The Television Industry Coalition
Contact c/o:
Melody Emmett
Tel: (011) 719-4000
Fax: (011) 719-4090
Cell: 083-600-9554

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