Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Bulelani Magwanishe and the Motion Picture Association of America’s Marianne Grant after their meeting in Los Angeles. Photo: Supplied (dti)

Pretoria - The United States film and television industry association and member companies have expressed their support for efforts undertaken by the South African government to transform the industry as part of efforts to redress the imbalances of the past, the trade and industry department (dti) said on Sunday.

This was expressed in a meeting in Los Angeles on Saturday between the American Motion Picture Association (MPAA) and the South African delegation led by Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Bulelani Magwanishe, the dti said in a statement.

The US delegation included high-ranking officials from the MPAA, HBO, Paramount Pictures, and Fox. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss concerns raised by the US studios through the MPAA about the newly-revised South African foreign film and television incentive programme which came into effect on September 1. The main bone of contention as far as the US was concerned was the requirement to procure a minimum of 20 percent of qualifying goods and services from entities which were 51 percent black-owned, the dti said.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Magwanishe went to great lengths to explain to the US companies that economic transformation in South Africa was an imperative of government aimed at redressing the imbalances of the past.

“As a country, we are pursuing a transformation agenda to reverse the legacy of apartheid. To this end, we have put our money where our mouths are by establishing an incentive programme to support the film and television sector to attract foreign investment into the country. The minimum we are requesting from foreign companies is that 20 percent of their procurement spend should be from majority black-owned companies some of whom are here with us today [Saturday], if you want to access the incentive,” Magwanishe said.

In their response, the US companies and their association expressed support for the transformation objectives of the incentive programme and indicated that they appreciated the initiative to engage them face-to-face to address on their concerns and allay their fears.

Speaking on behalf of the MPAA, Marianne Grant said the association absolutely supported the transformation objectives of the South African government.

“As a trade association, we are looking for strong infrastructure, sound regulatory framework, the local industry keen to tell its own stories, and the government that cares for the industry,” Grant said.

African News Agency/ANA