SABC lawyers stop Project Spear screening

2013-05-20 07:52
Charl Blignaut
Cape Town - There was high drama on the fringes of the Franschhoek Literary Festival on Saturday when the SABC threatened to ­urgently ­interdict the screening of a ­documentary film.

Bizarrely, the film, Project Spear, was commissioned and paid for by the public broadcaster, which is now embroiled in a protracted battle with film maker Sylvia Vollenhoven over the rights.

"In the old days, we had cops doing the dirty work. Now, we have highly paid attorneys working on hourly rates doing it – using even more public money to put a stop to a film made with public money," an exasperated Vollenhoven told City Press over the phone from the Western Cape.

The documentary was to be screened as part of a session hosted by investigative magazine Noseweek at the annual ­festival.

The day before the advertised screening, Vollenhoven says, she received a letter from the SABC’s attorneys, Werksmans, saying the broadcaster would not tolerate their property being screened.

This is despite the broadcaster's decision to shelve the film.

A judge on stand-by

Project Spear tells the story of a former MI6 spy who allegedly presented the South African government with a plan – called Project Spear – to recover billions of rands misappropriated by apartheid-era bankers, officials and politicians from state coffers.

The feature-length documentary ­questions why the ANC allegedly refused to take action to bring apartheid leaders to book.

On Saturday morning, the organisers decided to show a one-minute clip of the film, but Vollenhoven said two lawyers from Werksmans who were there ­immediately took out their cellphones and said they had a judge on stand-by to issue an ­urgent interdict.

Noseweek editor Martin Welz had ­earlier told City Press he would not air the film because "frankly, we don’t have the resources to fight an interdict that we may or may not win".

"I don't have an extra half-a-million for legal fees. The time and risk is too great, and I have agreed not to show it."

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said: "The SABC owns the rights to Project Spear and no one has the right to exploit those rights without the approval of the SABC."


  • Brian Heunis - 2013-05-20 08:22

    yet you have the right to use our tax money any which way you deem fit?

  • Colette van Jaarsveld - 2013-05-20 08:24

    Now I just want to see it!

  • Puleng Mabuya - 2013-05-20 08:50

    this anc leaders were spy's for the apartheid gov including zuma.if the sabc does not want to show it fine nobody watches sabc anyway.make dvd's we want to know the truth.

      Matthew Jones - 2013-05-20 08:56

      Utorrent much? =D hehe

  • Cabbage Promise Goats Dlamini - 2013-05-20 09:03

    Give this thing to Wikileaks and let the world see. It is my opinion evil ANC took some of that money that Apartheid leaders stole and have to hide it. ANC did not bring freedom to South African people. It is evil and it is bringing only new oppression even worse than Apartheid oppression.

  • Malcolm Stevens - 2013-05-20 09:12

    The SABC finance the making of this then decide they don't want it shown. That's their right, and we should not argue that point. The question is what caused them to change their mind? Political interference?

      Paige Turner - 2013-05-20 10:27

      SABC financed it with taxpayers' money. As taxpayers we have the right to see what our money has paid for. SABC does not have the right the censor this type of material.

      Matthew Jones - 2013-05-20 12:32

      Is that perhaps not the original ploy to begin with? Maybe the knew what it was about,pretended to be all for it and pay so that then they can turn around holding the power card and thus,no one will ever know the possible truth?

  • Mfumbayelangabi Silwane - 2013-05-20 09:59

    The truth is being hidden from us when the banks,business and the Apartheid leaders collluded in the massive theft that has been kept under raps for so long.I have always asked why the Scopions/Hawks do not push their investigation to around 1984, then you will see who is more corrupt.

      Richard Scully - 2013-05-20 10:24

      So why hide it if it makes apartheid look bad? Is it possible that ANC recovered and blew it on AMG63 mercs?

      Cabbage Promise Goats Dlamini - 2013-05-20 11:05

      It is simple so that even a child can see that the evil ANC and evil Apartheid government took so much money during the time when they were making negotiations. If ANC makes it public what happened then they are also guilty. This is my opinion.

  • Richard Scully - 2013-05-20 10:22

    SABC you sad sad sad organization full of sad sad sad people

      Matthew Jones - 2013-05-20 12:34

      No not sad.they do not get our sympathy or pitty for rolling over to the demands of dictatorship. They are only puppets. people who have lost their way,who have lost the will to fight for what is right. they just do as their told...anc puppet master

  • Phae Rayden - 2013-05-20 13:04

    I thought it was almost common knowledge many of these accounts were discovered and taken over by ANC cadres for their own personal use in the late 90's?

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