The stand-off between the South African Broadcasting Corporation and
film producers – who say the organisation hasn't paid them – can be
resolved because there is "a lot of energy, focus and attention" around
the issue, writes Natasha Joseph in the Cape Times.

That's according to the Save Our SABC coalition, which says the situation can be resolved if everyone affected by the SABC's current cash flow problems can "work together very constructively".

Producers have complained that the SABC owes them as much as R40 million for work commissioned by the broadcaster.

'We could end up with blank holes on television'
The SABC has acknowledged that it owes producers money, but has disputed the amount claimed.

The Save Our SABC coalition is made up of, among others, Cosatu, the Treatment Action Campaign, a number of non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations and the Freedom of Expression Institute.

Coalition co-ordinator Kate Skinner said the current stand-off between film-makers and the SABC over non-payment was "clearly really serious".

"It takes a long time to build up a production industry, but it could be destroyed really quickly," she said.

Some production companies were already retrenching staff members and others could be forced to shut down entirely.

It was also possible that, as a "last resort", producers could withhold show tapes, Skinner said.

"We could end up with blank holes on television."

However, she insisted that those in the television industry wanted to avoid such drastic measures, and hailed the national Department of Communications for its "proactive role" in the current round of discussions.

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