A small, but enthusiastic crowd gathered opposite the Sea-Point offices of the SABC to protest against the broadcaster's failure to pay independent producers. by Duncan Alfreds
"This is a sad day," Roberta Durrant of Penguin Films told News24 as police kept watch from a distance.
"The independent production industry has been brought to its knees because the SABC is unable to pay us," she said.
She detailed how the SABC regularly takes months, even years, to pay for content.
"We finished Sokhutu & Partners in 2007, and we're still waiting for payment. Repeat fees can stretch back to 2006, and the SABC often reneges on paying interest on its accounts."
Way beyond fear
The rain and cold weather didn't dampen the spirit of the group who were instructed to wear red because "the SABC ties us up in red tape", Kali Van Der Merwe, board member of the Documentary Filmmakers Association, told the crowd.
"They give us stories that there are administrative hiccups and 'We're coping with a backlog,' but it's a systemic failure that we want to correct," said Durrant.
"We waited for seven months for payment on Stokvel," she added.
Several industry speakers addressed the crowd, detailing their negative experiences with the SABC.
"We are way beyond fear," said Durrant. "We want to be part of the solution."
Conrad Van Schoor, financial manager for the SABC regional office, accepted the memorandum, but refused to speak to the media present, including SABC News.