Free-to-air commercial channel has withdrawn all its programming and presenter participation from the 2012 South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAS).

In a statement Monde Twala, group head of channels said: “ remains committed to acknowledging the local film and television industry as a whole. It is unfortunate that we have had to withdraw our programming from the SAFTAS but we feel that it is necessary to do so in order to achieve greater organisation cohesion.”
According to the statement “the channel is not in a position to share its reasons at this stage and will do so once it has completed discussions with interested parties”. shows which had been nominated for the 2012 SAFTAs include Rhythm City, Scandal! and Club 808.
In response the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and the SAFTAS committee issued the following statement on 5 March: It is with great disappointment that the NFVF and SAFTAs committee learn of’s withdrawal from the South African Film and Television Awards. The SAFTAS is an industry initiative managed under the custodianship of the NFVF and under whose values the essence of the awards are encapsulated, those of Creativity, Freedom of Expression, Entrepreneurship and Equitable redress. The broadcasters, M-Net; and SABC; distributors Ster-Kinekor and Nu Metro and industry practitioner bodies (SASFED and IPO) are represented.

Keshni Rajoo,’s manager for Local Programming on 29 February 2012 sent the channel’s withdrawal letter from this year’s SAFTAS, expressing her dissatisfaction over the manner in which the SAFTAS business is conducted. The letter further states that will withdraw the channel’s nominated programmes and will not participate in any way at the SAFTAS.

“The withdrawal by the, comes as a shock and surprise as the SAFTAS committee is not aware of any dissatisfaction regarding’s participation. It is safe to mention that Ms Keshni Rajoo, their regular representative in the committee had never conveyed their concerns to the SAFTAS committee. This is definitely a blow to the entire film and television industry, as the SAFTAS recognise local productions and individual talent. The process leading to the awards allows for production companies, not necessarily TV channels, to submit their projects to be considered for the SAFTAS nominations. It is unfortunate that the individual practitioners and companies are being denied an opportunity to be celebrated by the country and industry peers by one of the broadcasters,” says Eddie Mbalo, SAFTAS Chairperson.

Mbalo further clarifies that, except for the last few weeks of 2012;’s participation has been considerably low during the committee interactions, at which all channels are represented. “We wish that Ms Rajoo and could have approached the committee in order for their concerns to be addressed and resolved as it has been accepted that the development of the SAFTAS is a dynamic process”.

“’s withdrawal is unfortunate considering that the NFVF, as the only contributor to the SAFTAS, has done everything in its power to ensure that all the processes are open, transparent and democratic. The NFVF has always ensured that everyone is on board in the best interest of developing an event that is clearly in the control of the industry, says Zama Mkosi, NFVF CEO.”

Mbalo concurs and adds, “Maybe if the broadcasters were playing their part and even contributing towards funding of the SAFTAS, the withdrawal would not be at the drop of the hat as is the case at the moment.”

It is the intention of the SAFTA’s committee to continue to recognise those individuals that have already been judged and nominated as the feeling is that they deserve the recognition.

An edited version of the SAFTAS will be broadcast on SABC on Sunday, 11 March.

Source: Screen Africa