A group of actors, producers, writers and directors demonstrated on Thursday against the SABC’s planned R500m cut of local content. The protesters, from the Television Industry Emergency Coalition, danced and sang “what have we done” outside the broadcaster’s headquarters in Auckland Park.
They also performed a two-minute play showing the public broadcaster as the grim reaper, choking people wearing T-shirts marked “culture”, “viewers,” “stories” and “jobs”. As the man, in a skeleton mask, moved from one person to another, he tied a rope around their necks and pulled it until the characters symbolically “died”.
“The play is drawing the attention of the SABC that in crisis the last thing they should do is to cut on local content while there is gross mismanagement within the SABC,” said independent producer John Stodel. Audiences, he said, had proved that “local is lekker”, as they
preferred viewing local programmes.
Stodel said that it was not the fault of independent producers that the SABC was experiencing financial problems. The broadcaster
needed to cut costs from within itself, he said. “The SABC is spending on luxury cars and there is proof of mismanagement within the company, therefore independent producers should not suffer as a result.”
Actor Terrance Bridget said that by buying content from abroad, the public broadcaster was aborting local culture. “If you rob a country of the right to tell its own stories then you are killing the culture.”
He said the planned cut of local content would affect lives of more than 88 000 people whose livelihoods depended on independent
The protesters dispersed after the hour-long demonstration. — Sapa