Cape Town – The Sunday Times revealed in a report on Sunday morning that SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng pushed through a R167-million contract for the TV show Uzalo.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, according to the Sunday Times report the television drama is produced by a company co-owned by President Jacob Zuma’s daughter, Gugu Zuma-Ncube.
Here are 5 things you gotta know about the deal:
1) News24 reports that the show was meant to only be a limited season 'telenova' at a cost of R50.5m.
2) In April last year a panel sat to review a proposal to extend the show for another three years.
3) The request was denied due to concerns that reportedly included the lack of a business plan, a budget 10 times that usually needed to produce a 13-part series, and problems with "writing, aesthetics and delivery" in the first season.
4) When Zuma-Ncube heard there was no second season, she and Pokane reportedly complained to Hlaudi.
5) Hlaudi reversed the decision. SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed that Hlaudi overruled the decision, but would not discuss contractual issues in public. Zuma-Ncube referred a request for comment to Kobedi 'Pepsi' Pokane, who denied that they had complained to Hlaudi.
More Hlaudi controversy:
Hlaudi has been making headlines lately with regular announcements of new broadcasting guidelines for the SABC.
These include a forced increase in local content (the 90% controversy), banning other news publications from the SABC platforms (read more here) and censoring the coverage of violent protests (read more here).
More about Uzalo:
Channel24 reported in February this year that Uzalo was officially becoming a soap after starting out as a telenovela. The first episode of season 2 aired in February. The show's blowout ratings in 2015 was credited as the reason why SABC1 was reluctant to let go of the show.
"Uzalo launched with an outstanding debut season and the second season is bringing back favourite characters and a few exciting new faces," Mmamitse Thibedi, Uzalo's creative director, reported at the time.
Watch an episode of Uzalo here:
Read the Sunday Times' full Zuma TV deal report here.
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