TO READ: DTIC blamed as rocky times hit South African film industry

South Africa’s film industry is a success story, attracting foreign capital while creating jobs. But inexplicable decisions by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition threaten to stifle growth. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And this is exactly how the co-founders of multiaward-winning film and television production house Yellowbone Entertainment felt when they dragged the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) to court after millions of rands guaranteed through South Africa’s film rebate scheme were unexpectedly withdrawn.  Daily Maverick

UPDATE: As you may know, the IPO has been engaging extensively on the DTIC-related challenges the industry has faced. We have had two meetings with the Minister and his executive team and a follow-up meeting with the Acting DDG, Ms Susan Mangole, and other executives, as well as meetings with the President’s special economic Envoy and representatives from the Presidency in which we have spelled out the problems we are experiencing and the devastating impact they are having on our industry. The Department undertook specific steps and timelines to address these challenges.

We were dismayed that none of these undertakings were honoured, with producers instead receiving letters confirming that repudiations had been upheld and that their cases were being referred to the BEE Commission for investigation. In what appears to be an about-turn, however, some of these producers have just been advised that their claims will be paid subject to certain conditions.  Whilst we are relieved that these payments will be made and companies saved, we remain distressed by process, delays, endless demands for resubmission of documents previously submitted, blanket accusations of fraud and fronting, demands for things that fall outside the guidelines and the clear demonstration of bad faith towards the sector from within the Department.

We call the Department to account for the massive loss of jobs and Foreign Direct Investment, the forced closure of so many companies in our sector and the loss of future work due to studios and investors having lost all confidence in the DTIC rebate incentive scheme, which will negatively impact our sector for many years to come. Our sector, according to the NFVF 2021 Economic Impact Assessment, has shrunk by a staggering 59% while the industry globally is experiencing its biggest-ever production boom, an opportunity in which the local industry could have capitalised were it not for the DTIC challenges.

The IPO will not rest until these issues are resolved and the sector is enabled, through effective partnerships with government, to reach its fullest potential to contribute to economic recovery, growth, job creation and inward investment – not just for the industry but for the country as whole.