'Shaleen needed to go to hospital but couldn't afford it' tweeted Lizz Meiring
National treasure Shaleen Surtie-Richards passed away this week at the age of 66.
The beloved actress had suffered ill-health for some time, but was unable to book into a hospital while working in Cape Town due to financial constraints.
"She simply had no money" tweeted actor and activist Lizz Meiring.
Sharleen saw a doctor in CT because she was so ill. He wanted to book her into hospt immediately . She simply had no money . Thats the horrible truth . If she had been paid her meagre royalties for all the rebroadcasts of her incredible body of work, she wouldve been able to https://t.co/MaFneeWTfp— Lizz Meiring (@LizzMeiring) June 8, 2021
When you’re so influential and widely regarded for a body of work spanning 40 years that the president of the country publicly ‘mourns you’. Yet you can’t afford to go to a hospital in a dire time of need #TheRealTruth #SouthAfricanActors #noroyalties https://t.co/AJfQL7jB2D— Anton David Jeftha (@AntonJeftha) June 8, 2021
Bruce Whitfield talks to Meiring on The Money Show.
I was phoned on Monday morning by her family and a very close friend of hers - she needed to go to hospital; she couldn't... She couldn't afford it.Lizz Meiring - Actress, producer and screenwriter
The problem is a structural issue within the entertainment industry, about royalties and under-payment for services rendered.Bruce Whitfield, The Money Show host
Meiring emphasizes that the entertainment industry realises that other industries have also been suffering during the pandemic.
Shaleen did have a medical aid, but because of fact of the sheer economic hardship of Covid and also because of her health issues, that was simply not enough and she had to let that go as many people are at the moment.Lizz Meiring - Actress, producer and screenwriter
Meiring says the Theatre Benevolent Fund, of which she is a board member, faces problems like this every day.
The answer is the payment of residuals, she says.
That is when for example a programme is broadcast for a third time, a third of the original fee is paid out.
If South African artists, creators and technical people... are paid as per the rest of the world what we call 'residuals'... then none of the people that we serve at the Theatre Benevolent Fund or anywhere else, would have died in poverty.Lizz Meiring - Actress, producer and screenwriter
Imagine if she had got a third of the residual of all the rebroadcasts, then Shaleen would have been able [to go to hospital].Lizz Meiring - Actress, producer and screenwriter
South Africa signed [the agreement] constitutionally, 16 years ago at the Berne Convention.Lizz Meiring - Actress, producer and screenwriter
It took ten years for us to get the bill passed through Parliament - the PPAB (Performers Protection Amendment Bill). Along with that, the artists in South Africa fought for the intellectual copyright of every single person (whether scientific, academic or creative) to be protected. That bill has also been passed ten years ago.Lizz Meiring - Actress, producer and screenwriter
But for four years it's been sitting on our President's desk and he hasn't signed it!Lizz Meiring - Actress, producer and screenwriter
Listen to Meiring's passionate argument in the audio clip below: