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7de Laan dumped by the Saftas

2012-02-15 16:32
Cape Town – SABC2's 7de Laan  – South Africa's most popular TV soap as voted by viewers the last three years in a row – has unceremoniously been dumped by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) and its upcoming South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas).

The long-running show has been removed from the Best Soap category.

While all the other local South African soaps – Generations (SABC1), Muvhango (SABC2), Isidingo (SABC3), The Wild (M-Net), Rhythm City ( and Scandal! – remain, 7de Laan is to be deleted from the category where the winner is chosen based on viewers' votes.

All the soaps will appear in the category except for the Danie Odendaal production when the full categories and nominees list is announced by the Saftas on Thursday.

Viewers wanting to vote for 7de Laan won't have the option after it's been ostracised from the category by organisers despite winning the popular vote three years in a row.

While 7de Laan won in 2009, 2010 and again in 2011, 7de Laan boycotted the Saftas last year after a massive mess and voting fiasco with the wrong SMS number for the soap.

No entries, not eligible

Asked why the NFVF and Saftas are suddenly dropping 7de Laan as a contender in the Best Soap category, the NFVF says, "7de Laan didn't submit any entries for the Saftas this year, that is why they are not eligible to be in the Best Soapie category."

Responding to the shocking development after being informed that fans won't be able to vote for the soap, 7de Laan says the show "did not submit entries for the Saftas this year because we have reservations about the selection process.

"We were unaware of the fact that we wouldn't be eligible for the Most Popular Soap category if we didn't submit entries in other categories," says Colin Howard, 7de Laan's line producer. "As a South African soap, we thought we would be entered into that category automatically."

SABC2, stunned when told the same news, have not yet responded with an official reaction to its soap being dropped from the Saftas category.

SABC1's Generations previously also had a major falling-out with the awards ceremony purported to praise the best of South African television and film but which often receives criticism regarding the judging process as well as dubious production values.

Drama behind the scenes

Behind-the-scenes drama already erupted this year when the 6th Saftas, originally scheduled for March 10 and 11, had to be moved a day earlier for the respective non-fiction and fiction award evenings.

SABC3, which will on Thursday officially be announced as the broadcasting partner (after the event wasn't shown on television in 2011), will have to move its Saftas broadcast to March 10 to keep it a live broadcast, or now go with a recorded broadcast if kept on March 11 where it was originally scheduled.

SABC3 has not yet commented or responded to a media enquiry on what the broadcaster will do.

This year's sixth Saftas drew a record number of 233 entries but the awards show is often derided by TV and film critics who are shut out from actually judging the award categories.

Instead Saftas winners are decided upon by 104 so-called "judges" who work within the industry and who are previous category winners.

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