IPO Co-Chairs Rehad Desai and Lwazi Manzi signed the organisation’s Respectful Workplace Code of Conduct in December 2017 during the 16 Days of Activism against Abuse of Women and Children. This was in support of the mobilisation by Sisters Working in Film and Television (SWIFT), a South African NPO for women working in film and television.
One of SWIFT’s missions is to expose sexual and racial abuse and discrimination in the workplace and, furthermore, to prevent such occurrences from taking place in the first instance. SWIFT is also a member of SASFED alongside the IPO.
“Unless producers take a lead in fighting the very real sexist practises on set and inside production companies, we will not be able to drag our industry away from its macho practises and into the 21ST industry,” says Rehad.
Rehad Desai who is both chair of the IPO and SASFED, explains: “SASFED’s constitution is progressive on a number of issues, we stand against all forms of oppression and demand from member organisations a commitment to genuine transformation. We have lost member organisations because of failure in this regard. We cannot hope to achieve our vision of diverse and pluralistic industry unless we pursue a policy of radical hospitality for all those who have and continue to face discrimination based on gender, race and class, etc”.
SWIFT encourage broadcasters and industry bodies to support their Code of Conduct initiative to ensure that women are protected when it comes to reporting and dealing with cases of sexual harassment and will make the industry safer for women.
“The IPO already has a Code of Conduct which guides us on what constitutes good practice as a producer, this is now bolstered by the Signed IPO Respectful Workplace Policy In an instance where an IPO member contravenes this code and a formal complaint is submitted to the organisation, we will not hesitate to act. In specific regards to issues of discrimination in the workplace and what interventions are required and useful, we are now putting in place a referral system, so good solid professionals active in the workplace equity space can be accessed”.