The SABC’s interim board needs to engage in open consultations with relevant entertainment industry role players before deciding to scrap the 90% local content policy, the Creative Workers Union of SA (Cwusa) said on Thursday.
The union marched to the KZN SABC offices in Durban to demand that SABC keep the 90% policy.
The march follows recent reports that the public broadcaster’s interim board wants to scrap the policy which was introduced by former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng less than a year ago.
Joy Mbewana, general secretary of Cwusa in KZN, said the union decided to protest after it noted that the interim board was reviewing the 90% policy “which was approved by the previous board”.
“You can’t tell me that you’ve realised that the policy you introduced less than a year ago is failing. Don’t take us for fools,” she said.
The union demanded that the policy must remain but “be better monitored and maintained”.
Inferior international products
South African artists should be allowed to tell their own stories in their own languages, she said.
“SABC should provide that platform. We believe that this will help increase the ratings of SABC,” she said.
People have stopped relying on SABC due to the drop in quality of inferior international products, not because of local content, said Mbewana.
It’s obvious that those who are implying that advertisers are pulling out of SABC because of the local content belong to white monopoly capital, she said.
“They first took our land and now they want to take our music. All we want is to tell local stories that will unite us,” said Mbewana.
She also said the union demands the 3% royalty fee be increased to 5% effective from July 1.
Cwusa KZN spokesperson and musician T’zozo Zulu told News24 that people now preferred watching Mzansi Magic, instead of SABC, because of its local content.
‘Bread and butter’
He said they were at the march to defend the 90% local content policy.
“We’re here not to defend any party or individual but our bread and butter,” he said.
He said if the SABC scraped the 90% policy, it would be contributing to the high rate of unemployment.
“We want SABC to treat us as workers too. What’s funny is that the same interim board that wants to scrap the policy plays the same music that we produce during their weddings and funerals,” he said.
Ernest Moikangoa, from the Friends Of Hlaudi revealed that from 1994 to 2015, more than R20bn in royalties was paid to international acts from America and Europe.
“Every year more than R500m leaves the shores of this country and only about R70m remains in South Africa,” Moikangoa said.
When Hlaudi said 90% is key, we knew that he had touched the wrong nerve, Moikangoa said.
“We knew that cultural imperialism is going to be in the forefront to make sure that the SABC under the leadership of Hlaudi gets dismantled,” he said.
The African National Congress must provide leadership and tell us whether they support the 90% local content or not, he said.
KZN ANCYL deputy chair Sibonelo Mtshali said they support the artists’ call to the SABC not to scrap the policy.
“They also fought for the country to be liberated, why should they be sidelined now?” he asked.
Musicians, comedians, actors and DJs took part in the march that started at the Durban City Hall to the KZN SABC offices.
Legendary musician Blondie Makhene who recorded and sang struggle songs during the apartheid era was part of the march.
He threatened that they will shut down SABC if it scraps the 90% local content policy.
Bonga Mpanza, Ukhozi FM station manager, accepted the artists’ memorandum on behalf of the SABC.