Axe hangs over actors of Generations

2014-08-17 15:00

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Tomorrow may be a dark day for fans of leading soapie Generations if 16 of their favourite actors get the chop.

The actors?–?including Sophie Ndaba, Katlego Danke, Winnie Ntshaba and Seputla Sebogodi?–?are up for dismissal if they fail to pitch for work in the morning.

The actors have been on strike since Monday, fighting for bigger pay packets and extended three-year contracts. They also want royalties from episodes that have been rebroadcast, as well as syndication fees resulting from the sale of the show in countries across Africa.

The actors have threatened to go to court if their contracts are terminated tomorrow.

Their lawyer, Bulelani Mzamo, told City Press: “The actors have made a decision that they will exercise the legal options available to them, but are not willing to pre-empt such a scenario.”

Members of the principal cast have been involved in a tug-of-war with the SABC and Mfundi Vundla’s MMSV Productions about their contracts for almost a year. On Monday, they downed scripts after what they said was the public broadcaster’s failure to meet their demands.

Although none of the actors would speak to City Press, Mzamo said: “They have communicated their problems and issues and the SABC and the production house have committed a response to their grievances, and a way forward.

“They haven’t done that. Instead, they’ve missed their own deadline twice and now, instead of negotiating with the cast or giving them a response, they have ordered them back to work with no word about their grievances.”

But SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago rejected this claim, saying the problem did not lie with the broadcaster.

“We don’t have contracts with the actors. The production house hires the actors,” he said.

Kganyago said the SABC had tried its best to ensure that the actors were treated fairly.

“When they were having contractual disputes with the production house, they asked the SABC to intervene and we did.”

He also said it had negotiated with MMSV Productions and the broadcaster had managed to secure a three-year contract for the actors.

“Now they don’t want to sign the contract because they say they are unhappy because their pay fails to meet industry standards,” he said.

Kganyago said the SABC would consider the industry standards if the actors were able to say what they were.

The SABC has since threatened to terminate the actors’ contracts if they fail to arrive at work tomorrow.

“The ball is in their court,” said Kganyago.

However, the actors said they just wanted what everyone else gets.

Mzamo said: “It’s comparable to similar TV dramas on the SABC platform. So the broadcaster actually has plenty of basis for comparison?–?which has been pointed out to it.”

Open Letter From the Generations Actors Guild to Our Audience and Fans

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