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R2.9 billion Lost As 60% Film Industry Continues To Cut Jobs Due To Covid 19

South Africa’s sixth biggest employment industry (film) has lost 60% of full-time and dropped to R2.9 billion over the past year, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

This was confirmed by National Film and Video Foundation’s latest Economic Impact Assessment which was released on Tuesday. According to NFVF report industry contributed R7.2 billion to the economy in 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, approximately 31,444 full-time equivalent jobs were sustained by the film industry. This dropped by around 60% over the past year to just 12,775 jobs sustained in 2020/21, according to the NFVF’s latest Economic Impact Assessment (EIA) study, released on Thursday.

Some key highlights from the economic impact assessment highlight that:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic had a destructive impact on the film industry, with the contribution of the industry to the South African economy contracting substantially by 59% in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20.
  • In total, the direct, indirect, and induced economic impact of the film industry to the South African economy has been estimated at R7.2 billion in 2019/20, declining to R2.9 billion in 2020/21 due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on industry operations.
  • The total number of full-time equivalent jobs created / sustained by the activities of the film industry was approximately 31 444 in 2019/20, before falling to 12 775 in 2020/21.
  • Annualised income derived by employees as a direct, indirect, or induced impact of the film industry amounted to R218 million for South Africa in 2019/20, declining to R88 million in 2020/21.
  • Households benefited to the tune of R803 million in income in 2019/20 because of the activities of the film industry, however, this declined to R326 million in 2020/21.
  • The direct impact of the film industry at market prices was estimated at R522.33m, the indirect impact at R157.01m and the induced impact at R408.41m. The total estimated impact of the film industry on GDP at market prices if all the impacts are added is estimated to be R1 087.75m. Thus, for every R1 million in output generated by the film industry, an additional R0.76m of GDP at market prices was generated in the economy if the direct and indirect impacts are considered, and R1.22m if the induced impacts are also added.

Reflecting on the results of the report, Botse Matlala, NFVF Research & Compliance Manager said,

“For us, doing this study meant making real & tangible, the total economic contribution of the film industry, illustrating how it plays a critical role in the socio-economic development of the country.

The last year has unfortunately set the industry back due to COVID-19. The focus for us now, is to work collaboratively with the industry to re-build our much-loved art.”

Despite serious job losses – and annualized income derived by employees dropping from R218 million in 2019/20 to R88 million in 2020/21 – government has reportedly done little to assist the embattled film industry.

 Covid 19 Enforced Unwittingly Human Rights Violations

The purpose of the Employment Equity Act is to ‘achieve equity in the workplace’. Such equity is to be achieved by, first, ‘promoting equal opportunity and fair treatment in employment through the elimination of unfair discrimination’

The Employment Equity Act contains a provision prohibiting unfair discrimination, both direct and indirect, on a number of grounds. It places a duty on employers to ‘take steps to promote equal opportunity in the workplace by eliminating unfair discrimination in any employment policy or practice.

Covid 19 enforced protocols in the in the workplace have however lead the employers and governing bodies to unwittingly infringing millions of film industry workers losing their jobs.

This Covid 19 awareness article was produced with the support of Journalists for Human Rights.

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