Jack Devnarain.
Jack Devnarain.

'It's an injustice that actors aren't paid residual income in the form of royalties'

By Mpiletso Motumi Time of article published Oct 8, 2019

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Earlier this year Parliament voted to adopt the Performers Protection Amendment Bill and the Copyright Amendment Bill after the SA Guild of Actors (Saga) lobbied the government to effect changes to the existing act.

The act dates back to 1967 and fails to protect the rights of actors in today’s environment.

Jack Devnarain, Saga chairperson, said the most important thing about the bills was that they levelled the negotiating playing field between actors and the producers and broadcasters.

Devnarain said what the bills were trying to do is to align the South African statute with the international global practice that says actors should earn a sustainable living over the course of a career.

Devnarain said while he had not yet read the open letter posted by actress Vatiswa Ndara to Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, he knew that there were no approved rates for which actors, whether they had just started in the industry or were veterans, can determine one from another.

He said while negotiation was always a critical aspect, it was an injustice that actors were not allowed to earn a residual income in the form of royalties.

“You are paid from one role to the next. When you are not in a role you are simply not earning.

“There is no money that comes to the actor, as soon as you stop your performance, you stop earning.”

Devnarain said it was critical for the country to align itself with international best industry practices.

Devnarain said this meant that South African actors were deliberately being denied the earnings that were due to them. 

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