It was widely reported last week that the cast of South Africa’s most beloved soapie had embarked on a stay-away.
On Monday, Mzamo Attorneys representing Anga Makubalo (MJ Dlomo), Atandwa Kani (Samora Lembede), Katlego Danke (Dineo Dlomo), Mandla Gaduka (Selwyn ‘Choppa’ Maithufi), Menzi Ngubane (Sbusiso Dlomo), Nambitha Mpumlwana (Mawande), Patrick Shai (Patrick Tlaole), Slindile Nodangala (Ruby Dikobe), Sophie Ndaba (Queen Ndaba), Seputla Sebogodi (Kenneth Mashaba), Thami Mngqolo (Senzo), Thato Molamu (Nicholas Nomvete ), Winnie Ntshaba (Khetiwe Buthelezi), Zenande Mfenyana (Noluntu Memela), Zikhona Sodlaka (Priska Nomvete) and Zolisa Xaluva (Jason Malinga) confirmed the actors had not returned to work.
In a statement issued today, the cast claims the broadcaster as well as the production company, MMSV, had failed to deliver on promises made to them during their strike last year. Their demands are three-year contracts, royalties and salary adjustments.
“We live in a country that is notorious for artists living and dying in a state of poverty, tragically never managing to earn what is their due, despite being associated with a number of successful projects.
“We have made a decision, as dedicated professionals working on South Africa’s most successful TV show, that we will not be part of this painful statistic.
“There is no reason, whatsoever, that we should live as ‘struggling actors’ when our show generates an incredible income for the production house and broadcaster,” the statement read.
The cast said the public broadcaster had reneged on a decision to review the actors’ salaries. “There has been a great deal of talk from the SABC that we want to be paid extravagant salaries – this is simply not true.
There is no reason, whatsoever, that we should live as ‘struggling actors’ when our show generates an incredible income for the production house and broadcaster
“Our actor colleagues on the same platform, SABC, are paid at much better rates – so it is possible. For some bizarre reason, however, the powers-that-be choose to keep the Generations cast locked into a lower pay grade. This is unjust, and we want it reviewed.
“We don’t think this is an unreasonable request, considering the audience figures and revenues that the show generates. We just want to be paid fairly, that’s all.”
The cast reiterated that they would not return to work until their demands were met.
“They committed to reverting to us with their responses to our demands – instead, they have issued us with threats to dismiss us if we don’t return to work. We regard this as a breach of trust, and working in completely bad faith with us.
“We also consider their insistence on not paying us our fair due as a disturbing flouting of fundamental labour practices, and a perversion of the South Africa we are trying to build – a South Africa where labour is compensated fairly and appropriately. The cast remains open to negotiating and working out a solution, and hopes that the broadcaster and production house respond to this sentiment.”
Speaking to Talk Radio 702 on Sunday, Generations Executive Producer and Creator Mfundi Vundla stood his ground, insisting that actors would be fired should they not report to work.
“Producing a show like Generations is stressful enough, and the period we are going through is not a pleasant one,” a weary Vundla told Sunday Breakfast Show host, Africa Melane.
Vundla disputed the actors’ claims that they had not received three-year contracts.
“We as the producers accepted the three-year contract and we extended that to the actors as well,” he said.