“There needs to be a budget for local content.”
This was a collective agreement in a meeting whereby local independent producers met to find a lasting solution with regards to enhancing their working conditions and issues relating to being remunerated for the content they produce and supply to the biggest television station in the kingdom, Eswatini TV. The meeting was led by its executive including Lusolotja Ginindza (PRO), Nhlanhla Zwane (Executive Director), Samukelisiwe Nxumalo (Technical Director) and Thembinkosi Dube (member of executive). The meeting was held at the Alliance Française in Mbabane. Eswatini Independent Film and Television Producers (EIFTPA) is an organisation that was created by local independent producers who create local content.
The association is the mother body of all film and television productions in the country and home to over 30 production houses and also affiliated to the Eswatini National Council of Arts and Culture (ENCAC). It was established during the meeting that Eswatini TV was currently experiencing difficulties to pay some local producers who provide content that airs on the channel. This has then resulted in the station repeating some television programmes.
This resulted in the producers not being able to produce more content for the station as they stated production required them as content creators to have money given that they are solely dependent on the station paying them for their work. During the meeting, there were over eight producers who had production companies that in turn provided employment to emaSwati for their services. This may include production designers, director of photography and script writers to name a few. “We have a problem with funding that can be specifically channelled for local content creation. Eswatini TV collects money from TV Licences yet there is no budget allocated for content creators.
So in as much as we are in this dilemma, we are willing to work with the station in finding a lasting solution to this in order to grow our industry,” said one of the producers during the meeting. The association’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Lusolotja Ginindza, also highlighted the issue of intellectual property rights as he said there was a dire need for local producers to be sensitised on the laws around intellectual property (IP) as this could help in them being paid for work done according to the law. The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) refers to intellectual property (IP) as the creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.
IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. The meeting further made recommendations with regards to local corporates on how they could use local producers to make local content instead of using advertisements from South Africa. They said if this would change, it would help local producers immensely while creating job opportunities for the youth who are affiliated in this industry. In an interview with Eswatini TV’s Communications Officer, Nompumelelo Dlamini, she alluded to the fact that the station was faced with cash flow difficulties. She added that the Acting Chief Executive (ACEO), Kenneth Maziya, and Acting Head of Production (AHOP) Mpumelelo Mnisi had a meeting with EIFTPA.
“The office of the ACEO and AHOP had a meeting with the producers, especially the leaders of the associations. We informed them that at this juncture that Eswatini TV was indeed having some financial cash flow issues beyond our control. Eswatini TV acknowledges the fact that producers were not paid as per our contracts but we want to ensure them that they will get paid the whole amount very soon and we call on them to be patient as this issue will be resolved,” she said.
Original story on Times of Swaziland