The SA Guild of Actors (Saga) has told Parliament that famous actors are dying in poverty in South Africa because they are not allowed to claim their royalties.
After years of submissions and going to and fro, the Saga made an oral presentation to the Parliamentary portfolio committee on trade and industry on Wednesday afternoon regarding the Copyright and the Performers’ Protection Amendment Bills.
“Famous actors are dying in poverty in South Africa because they are not allowed to claim their royalties, they are not protected and this will continue to happen for decades without retrospect to the application in the audio-visual sector,” Kelly Kropman of Saga’s legal council said.
The iconic actors who died with no royalties that Saga mentioned include veteran actors who died last year Allen Booi and Mary Twala and industry giants Shaleen Surtie-Richards, Sam Phillips and David Butler who died this year.
“There are those who would be delighted by the prospect of our failure.
“We heard from some of them earlier claiming to pay actors fairly while refusing to reveal the terms of their contracts and how those contacts exploit actor earnings, lying in fact that actors are paid upfront,” Saga chairperson Jack Devnarain said.
Kropman told the committee that Saga welcomed the bills as it improves performers’ protection by granting them the right to share in the revenues, however, added that the bill had areas to improve on.
“The state-owned SABC uploads local content to YouTube and generates revenue from it but no one has to pay performers repeat fees or any form of royalties. Musical performers are protected and audio-visual performers are not, this inequality is not a South African value,” Kropman said.
Devnarain said that Saga’s interest spoke to the organisation’s legacy and whether Saga is preparing the industry for those to come.
“We must be able to prepare the industry through proper regulatory and legislative amendments that will allow actors to earn from the work and the sacrifice they put in,” the chairperson said.
– The Star