Johannesburg – Following the destruction of Generations which saw South Africa's biggest TV show swept from the SABC schedule, turmoil has now engulfed the beleaguered public broadcaster's second most watched soap, Muvhango.
Actors are threatening to strike and walk off after not getting paid.
South Africa's second most watched soap, Muvhango, which is produced by Word of Mouth Productions and which lures an average audience of 4 million viewers on weeknights on SABC2, is now in financial turmoil.
Muvhango actors are threatening to ditch the show if they're not paid this week, struggling with bounced debit orders and unable to buy food, pay bills and school fees.
It's also not the first time Muvhango actors had not been paid, complaining several times in the past over issues of non-payments and late payments.
This time the production company blames the SABC which allegedly failed to pay the show, which in turn has been unable to pay the on-screen talent what they’re due at the end of September.
Just like the fired Generations principal cast battling MMSV Productions and the SABC, earlier this year the Muvhango cast contemplated to strike, desperate to get longer contracts, and to have their salary rates reviewed.
The protracted behind-the-scenes production problems at high-profile soaps of the SABC have been raising questions regarding the treatment of South African TV talent and their remuneration.
It has led to calls for industry scrutiny, possible government regulation and urgent investigation and possible overhaul of what is really going on and what the true extent of the plight of South African television talent is.
While the public broadcaster derives millions in income monthly from the advertisers who pay for expensive spots during the soaps with big ratings, actors like those on Muvhango, are not getting paid their due.
In late September Muvhango actors were suddenly sent letters by Word of Mouth Productions' chief operating officer (COO) Khumbulani Hlongwane simply stating that "salaries for the month of September will not be paid on 30 September", apparently because of a "delay" with the signing of production and script contracts with the SABC.
The SABC apparently told Word of Mouth Productions that it will make a payment next week on 17 October. Word of Mouth told the actors that they will then get paid the next day on 18 October.
SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says the SABC will "launch an investigation to find out what caused the delay. We will make a payment to the production house early next week, thereafter they will be able to pay the cast."
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