CEO says its heritage is strength for developing the Eastern Cape’s untapped film industry.     23-11-2010 -The MEC for economic development and environmental...

CEO says its heritage is strength for developing the Eastern Cape’s untapped film industry.



-The MEC for economic development and environmental affairs Mcebisi Jonas lauded the film industry sector development plan as a positive step for diversifying the economy and developing rural communities. The film industry development plan has been endorsed by provincial cabinet, he says. 

Jonas was speaking at the Eastern Cape Local and Digital Content Provincial Summit, a joint initiative by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC) and Department of Communications (DoC). 

ECDC chief executive Sithembele Mase says the resources at the province’s disposal, coupled with its heritage are a strength for the development of the Eastern Cape’s untapped film industry. 

“Our film industry is only a small part of the economy despite our political history heritage and the stories that emanate from that,” Mase says. “We intend to continually find ways to utilise film sector and ICT for development.”

He adds that untapped status of the sector presents an opportunity for development which could boost the province’s economy. Currently it occupies a mere 0.2 percent of the province’s economy. 

“The Eastern Cape precariously derives its largest economic benefits from the automotive sector despite overwhelming evidence that any economy that relies on one or two sectors in this era of innovation and globalisation is not going to be successful. 

ECDC says the film industry will;

* Showcase the cultural diversity through mediums and/or platforms such as traditional and new media content, film, music, language and literary productions, theatre and performing arts, visual arts, etc. 
* Position the Eastern Cape as a “content generation hub” for local and digital content requirements; 
* Meet the national objectives related to economic development, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), job creation and skills development;
* Build provincial capacity and a solid skills base for investment and trade promotion purposes;
* Use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to deliver the province’s local content across South African boarders;
* Encourage diversity of media and voices in all media platforms
* Tap into the rich culture for informative, educative and entertainment purposes

Jonas says film industry development is part of a broader strategy to diversify the province’s economy, to mitigate the impact of deindustrialisation and a centralized economy in EC. It is also part of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). 

The deindustrialisation seen since 1994 and the global recession impact highlights the need to devise development strategy that brings rural communities on board on development, he says.

“The post 1994 (economic) policy has been urban based, partly because there was overriding interest to integrate South Africa into global sourcing networks.”

Jonas says the films industry is well positioned to give the Eastern Cape a clear competitive advantage and be a source of income for rural based communities.

Eastern Cape stands a good chance to develop the media industry by letting its citizens tell and own the copyrights to their stories. The film industry development could extend the reach of the province’s economy beyond the two major economic hubs East London and Port Elizabeth which contribute 80 percent of the province’s gross domestic product (GDP), Jonas says.

News editor