South Africa’s governing party (African National Congress) has proposed that the country develop a governance framework that allows domestic broadcasters to compete on fair terms with international players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.
According to the party, this will include regulations on local content requirements, licensing, and taxation.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Nthsavheni, reported the party’s position on the issue at a media briefing during its policy conference over the weekend.
Nthsavheni gave her feedback on the party’s proposed governance framework in the context of a suggestion that the public broadcaster (SABC) must provide a South African history channel.
This channel, according to Nthsavheni, would also develop educational programming about the African continent’s history.
“Streaming services will not provide us with that,” Nthsavheni noted. “We have no control over their content requirements.”
Nthsavheni said that South Africa couldn’t have international competitors to the domestic broadcasting industry that don’t pay tax, have no licence requirements, and have no local content obligations.
The ANC’s policy position echoes complaints from DStv operator MultiChoice about the lack of regulation on international video entertainment giants like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Britbox.
Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO, previously said these global video streaming services must comply with BEE, contribute to local content, and pay tax in the country.
However, Netflix announced in March that it would invest over US$54 million in four South Africa-based productions over the next two years.
These include one international and three local productions filmed in South Africa between 2022 and 2023.
It is worth noting that Netflix has already produced and acquired numerous South African titles for its platform, releasing films like Silverton Siege, Collision, Amandla, and Jewel. In addition, Netflix also released the limited series Justice Served and Savage Beauty and the stand-up comedy special, Only Jokes Allowed.
In addition to Project Panda, Netflix also filmed portions of its Resident Evil reboot series in Cape Town, and it features several South African actors.
Amazon Prime Video has also added a Afrikaans films and shows on its platforms, which appear to be mainly acquired from Namibian production companies.