Famous actor, Jack Devenarian appeals to WC EFF for assistance in regulating the creative sector

EFF WC Provincial Secretary, Mbulelo Magwala and Provincial Treasurer, Aishah Cassiem met with with SA actor, Jack Devnarian & actress Motlatji Mjamba, who are both members of SAGA who approached the EFF for assistance over issues within the film and tv industry. Photo: Supplied.

EFF WC Provincial Secretary, Mbulelo Magwala and Provincial Treasurer, Aishah Cassiem met with with SA actor, Jack Devnarian & actress Motlatji Mjamba, who are both members of SAGA who approached the EFF for assistance over issues within the film and tv industry. Photo: Supplied.

Published Jan 14, 2023

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The chairperson of the South African Guild of Actors (Saga), renowned actor Jack Devnarain, has reached out to the Western Cape leadership of the EFF for assistance with the many challenges actors and creatives face in the province.

Devnarain said they have met with the EFF provincial leadership after several people contacted him, specifically in the Western Cape. They were aggrieved that their voices were not being heard and they wanted to persuade the EFF to assist in regulating the industry, which is one of their biggest battles.

He stated among the 1 000 creatives and actors were people who worked in television and film production. This included writers, technical crew, camera operators, sound technicians, lighting technicians, hair and make-up artists, admin staff, drivers, and accountants.

"Because the sector is not regulated, it means that there is gross exploitation and abuse in the way people are engaged to work on certain productions. They feel quite aggrieved that their voices are not being heard, and that no organisation carries a mandate to speak on their behalf to raise issues of concern," said Devnarain.

He claimed that because the sector was unregulated, it was not protected by labour laws.

"It means that we are generally contracted as freelance workers who are not protected under the basic conditions of employment under the Labor Relations Act, under the Employment Equity Act, under the National Minimum Wage Act, or by the compensation for occupational injuries, and this makes us vulnerable in the sector," he said.

He said he contacted the EFF and facilitated meetings with other key organisations that had an interest in hearing their stories.

Devnarain met with EFF Provincial Secretary, Mbulelo Magwala, and Provincial Treasurer, Aishah Cassiem, as well as actress Motlatji Mjamba at the party’s offices in Cape Town this week.

Cassiem said that during this engagement, SAGA and Devnarain handed over a list of appeals imploring the EFF to support the sectoral determination process that seeks to help regulate the Cultural and Creative Industry (CCI) to assist with lobbying for collective bargaining rights for the CCI by global industry standards.

"SAGA also requested support from the EFF to stand up and highlight the plight of the voiceless cast and technical crew, who bear the brunt of abusive working conditions in the sector. And also to support the call for the signing of the Copyright Amendment Bill (CAB) and the Performers' Protection Amendment Bill (PPAB) as a mechanism for industry reform and transformation," said Cassiem

She appealed for assistance in the continuous fight to bring about real change in the industry.

She further expressed the party’s commitment to actively assist and work hand-in- hand with SAGA to ensure better working conditions, and to ensure fair labour practices were implemented and that these creatives were protected under the country’s labour laws.

"It is also known that when signing contracts, the majority of these movie stars, make-up artists, drivers, and photographers on set are not protected in case of emergencies if they get injured on set. Even that of maternity leave, sick leave, overtime, and workman compensation for injury or death at the workplace," said Cassiem.

"The EFF Western Cape views culture and the performing arts as an important cardinal pillar to our project of decolonisation, especially in the province, and therefore believes that those who pursue to protect and sustain livelihoods in this industry should not be exploited and abused.

"EFF Western Cape herewith calls for the signing of CAB and PPAB into law to ensure justice in the film and TV industry," she added.

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