SABC still owes artists millions

2010-03-07 09:11

THE SABC has yet to settle a R7.6 million debt owed to about 30 television production companies for completed projects.
In a meeting with the Television Industry Emergency Coalition (TVIEC), SABC chief executive Solly Mokoetle and a team of executives were told that independent producers, actors, writers, directors and technical crew were owed R7.6 million in single invoices each worth more than R200 000.

Minutes of the meeting, seen by City Press, show that the SABC’s finance content enterprises general manager, Henk Lamberts, and acting content enterprises head Nhlanhla ­Sibisi confirmed the outstanding payments.

Lamberts said 29 production companies were owed money.

SABC representatives present at the meeting included acting chief operations officer Charlotte Mampane and public broadcasting group executive Lulama Mokhobo, while producer of groundbreaking drama series Yizo-Yizo Desiree Markgraaf and Kaya FM presenter and filmmaker Kgomotso Matsunyane were part of the TVIEC team.

Mokoetle and Markgraaf co-chaired the meeting.

The meeting, held on January 25, was Mokoetle’s first interaction with the industry – which has had battles with the SABC since last year’s financial crisis at the public broadcaster – since his appointment in ­December.
Television industry insiders used the meeting to complain about SABC commissioning editors, who they said had “multiplied exponentially” and were “generally arrogant and disrespectful”.

In July, the TVIEC complained that five years ago there were 25 commissioning editors servicing three channels. This had ballooned to 100 employees at the SABC’s content hub.

At the time, the TVIEC claimed there was no evidence of increased workload.

According to the minutes, Mokoetle was shocked when told that simple productions could have three or four commissioning editors and said this did not make sense.

The TVIEC told the SABC boss that commissioning editors can hold up productions for weeks, causing producers to incur losses of hundreds of thousands of rands.

Mokoetle told the meeting the SABC risked losing programmes and its ability to deliver if it did not respect the television industry.

He said addressing late payments might call for deviances from the supply chain management procedures approved by the SABC board.

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