Florence Masebe charms MPs

Par­lia­ment told how in­dus­try ex­ploits thes­pi­ans

Sunday World - - Front Page - By Meta Mphahlele mphahlelema@sun­day­world.co.za

Top ac­tress Florence Masebe put pro­duc­ers and broad­cast­ers to the sword when she made a sub­mis­sion on the Per­form­ers Pro­tec­tion Amend­ment Bill in par­lia­ment this week.

In her sub­mis­sion be­fore par­lia­ment’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on trade and in­dus­try on Thurs­day, Masebe high­lighted the plight and suf­fer­ing actors are sub­jected to as a re­sult of poor and in­ad­e­quate pay.

The award-win­ning ac­tress also spoke about chal­lenges that artists face dueto non-pay­ment of roy­al­ties, dodgy con­tracts and one-sided agree­ments.

Among the peo­ple who sup­ported Masebe in par­lia­ment were me­dia mogul and for­mer Miss South Africa Baset­sana Ku­malo, for­mer Gen­er­a­tions ac­tress Nam­bitha Mpuml­wana and for­mer Isidingo and Skeem Saam ac­tress Rele­bogile Mabotja.

Masebe told the com­mit­tee that it was the ab­sence of asolid leg­isla­tive frame­work that had left many hard-work­ing actors im­pov­er­ished at the end of their ca­reers, while their work con­tin­ued to make profits for those who com­mis­sioned it.

“The nar­ra­tive of poverty in the arts con­tin­ues tobe one that sticks with the per­form­ers while pro­duc­ers and broad­cast­ers get the creamy side of ev­ery deal,” she said.

“As things stand now, South African actors are owed in­cal­cu­la­ble monies by the pub­lic broad­caster for all the works that were sold to Multi-Choice for the SABC En­core chan­nel on the DStv plat­form.”

Masebe said the stan­dard Free­lance Per­form­ers Agree­ment that most in­dus­try con­tracts were cur­rently based on was more than 30 years old.

“I am per­son­ally yet to earn one cent of com­mer­cial ex­ploita­tion fees for the many dra­mas I worked on that have been re­broad­cast overand over again. In fact, the lit­tle right to re­peat fees that this out­dated agree­ment with SABC as­sures actors gets re­moved by pro­duc­ers with­out con­se­quence,” she told law­mak­ers.

Masebe claims that pay TV gi­ant Multi-Choice told artists for years that they would not pay roy­al­ties since there was no law bind­ing them to do so.

If the bill is passed into law, it will en­sure per­form­ers’ right to roy­al­ties across all broad­cast­ing chan­nels.

Re­cently, pro­duc­tion for SABC1 drama Uzalo, pro­duced by Stained Glass Pic­tures, was stopped due to non-pay­ment of actors’ salaries. Ear­lier this year, cast and crew mem­bers of SABC drama Uselwa were left stranded in KZN due to a short­age of money.

In 2014, 16 Gen­er­a­tions actors were sacked af­ter they staged an il­le­gal strike de­mand­ing bet­ter pay, ex­tended con­tracts and roy­al­ties from episodes that have been re­broad­cast.

Multi-Choice spokesper­son Ma­ri­etjie Groe­newald said M-Net sup­ports the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion.

“There are dif­fer­ent ways to pay per­form­ers, ei­ther an up­front amount, which in­cludes con­sid­er­a­tion for any re­broad­casts, or a lower up­front pay­ment with ad­di­tional pay­ments for any re­broad­casts. Our pre­ferred model is to pay an up­front amount which in­cludes con­sid­er­a­tion for any re­broad­casts.”

SABC spokesper­son Neo Mo­modu said the stan­dard con­tract signed with actors makes pro­vi­sion for prin­ci­pal actors to claim re­peat fees or con­tent ex­ploita­tion fees from the en­tity and many actors do so.

Mo­modu said per­form­ers in SABC-com­mis­sioned drama pro­duc­tions do get paid re­peat fees, depend­ing on cer­tain spec­i­fi­ca­tions. “SABC only pays prin­ci­pal per­form­ers and writ­ers where there is a re­peat of pro­duc­tion in agree­ment with pro­duc­tion fees.

“With re­gard to SABC En­core, SABC would like to place on record that the ma­te­rial was not sold to DStv. It is a broad­cast li­cence and actors must fol­low the de­fined pro­cesses to claim what is due to them.”

Pro­duc­ers and broad­cast­ers get the creamy side of ev­ery deal

Ndzingi /Mdu

Top ac­tress Florence Masebe pulled no punches.

Me­dia mogul and for­mer Miss SA Baset­sana Ku­malo

Ac­tress Nam­bitha Mpuml­wana

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