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HR & Management Trends

Safrea Chair to campaign against low freelance rates

New chairperson of the Southern African Freelancers' Association (Safrea) Laura Rawden has pledged to spearhead a campaign to ensure freelancers earn fair rates of pay.

The association publishes a regular schedule of recommended freelancer rates, but these are not legally binding and serve mainly as a starting point for rates negotiations between freelancers and clients.

Meanwhile media freelancers battle to earn a living at rates often around R2.50 per word for writers or around R1000 for an eight-hour sub-editing shift.

“Growing numbers of media workers are moving into freelancing by choice or necessity,” says Rawden. “They have the right to earn a decent living, so we will be working to publicise our recommended rates and to build industry relations so we can better serve our members and help businesses find the freelance services they require.”

Rawden heads the incoming executive committee of Safrea, an established body promoting the interests of freelance media workers. Members include writers, photographers, editors, developers, proofreaders, graphic designers, illustrators, researchers, translators, digital media and social-media specialists and other communications experts.

Founded in 1999, Safrea promotes the interests of freelancers, working to raise their professional standing and to make working as a freelancer more rewarding.

Rawden has a background in science, journalism and international media, with a current focus on communications and social media. She is co-owner of the communications company.

Rawden has made advocacy and industry relations priorities for her term at Safrea and will personally handle these portfolios. “We’re looking to build stronger relations with media companies and agencies that use freelancers,” she says. “We’ll also continue representing the interests of freelance media workers by lobbying for our recommended freelance rates and other issues important to our industry.”

Hagen Engler, an established South African writer with experience in print, TV and digital, is the Safrea deputy chair. He is on the media relations and marketing subcommittee.

Other Safrea exco members and portfolios are Bruce Cooper (Administrator and Webmaster), Yvette Wilsenach (Treasurer), Nalene de Klerk (Membership), Amanda Mathe (Students), Bazil Raubach (Professional Development) and Clive Lotter (Strategic Development).

In recent months Safrea has made detailed submissions to parliament on the Copyright Amendment Bill, spoken out on the killing of journalists, slammed exploitive magazine internships, and demonstrated how low pay is damaging journalism.

The Safrea freelance rates guidelines are available at For more information, or for interview requests, please contact az.oc.aerfas@nimda. Laura Rawden can be contacted directly at az.oc.aidemocol@arual

Safrea is the Southern African Freelancers Association. We provide advocacy, support and resources to freelancers in the media and communications industry, and provide tools, training and networking to freelance professionals.
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