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Cast wins as SABC’s Generations resumes production

2013-11-06 07:27
Cape Town – Generations on SABC1 will resume production on Wednesday following five and a half weeks during which South Africa’s biggest TV show and most watched soap didn’t film any episodes due to a collective cast stay away who will now return to work.

It follows an agreement – in principle – late Tuesday – between 12 Generations cast members bargaining collectively and the production company Morula Pictures over the issue of securer, three year contracts.

The cast and the production company will all resume producing Generations and negotiate other terms by the end of March 2014, giving a breather to the soap which found itself engulfed in crisis since cast members demanded greater equity in, and better contracts from, the show.

The winner after the soap shutdown – the most high-profile and longest shutdown in the history of South Africa television over on-air talent remuneration – is South Africa's TV industry. Local actors have for the first time in the history of the country's mostly amateur run industry, proven that TV talent is as intrinsic and as important to a show's success as other production elements.

Preventing the collapse of the soap

The temporary reprieve helps to stave off a complete collapse of the soap which would have seen SABC1 either running out of available episodes, or the cast being fired and replaced by unknowns impacting ratings.

Channel24 has been told by sources that heated discussions and intense pressure from all sides led to Morula Pictures and the Generations actors agreeing in principle, for now, on new three year contracts for the cast. It comes after Morula Pictures was granted a three year contract extension by the SABC.

Within the next 3 months both sides will have to agree on the finer points - mostly around the cast wanting the three year contracts not to contain clauses which could see them be dismissed or "written out" after a year or two years.

Cast members feared that three year contracts with clauses would be the same as one year extensions, whereby they could still be shown the door if characters were written out or replaced.

Generations creator Mfundi Vundla believes fixed three year contracts infringe on the creative freedom of South Africa's biggest TV show in the sense that characters cannot be written out in dramatic storylines if needed, or be fired if actors are not performing or clicking with viewers.

The temporary deal reached between Vundla, the SABC and Mzamo Attorneys representing the actors, was made since the soap – which is the SABC's biggest money spinner and income generator as the most watched programme – is falling incredibly behind on available episodes in stock. The problem is worsened with the upcoming Christmas holiday and annual industry shut down for the festive season looming.

The 12 Generations cast members - Sophie Ndaba (Queen), Katlego Danke (Dineo), Anga Makubalo (MJ), Menzi Ngubane (Sibusiso), Zenande Mfenyana (Noluntu), Mandla Gaduka (Choppa), Winnie Modise (Khethiwe), Maggie Benedict (Akhona), Thato Molamu (Nicholas), Zolisa Xaluva (Jason), Thami Mngqolo (Senzo) and Slindile Nodangala (Ruby) – will  receive a three contract and get back pay for October.

Pay rates of actors reviewed as well

Morula Pictures and the SABC – which has now intervened on a high level in the process – will review the proposed pay rates of the actors as well.

In a statement the SABC's famously matricless Hlaudi Motsoeneng who've started to intervene in the tense conflict last week (after he told Generations cast members at a party in July that Morula Pictures was granted a three year contract extension by the SABC), says that the SABC is "happy" that "this matter has finally been laid to rest".

"The uproar in the media around this issue, once again re-affirmed the public's love of our property," says Motsoeneng.

He said that the SABC will, where need be, "assist as a mediator when issues arise between production houses tasked with producing our properties, and cast members."

After brazenly telling the Generations cast members off and saying "nobody is bigger than Generations", Vundla strikes a muted and friendlier tone in the statement, saying, simply, "we look forward to delivering the best entertainment to our audience."

The past weeks Vundla has been furious and extremely vocal in his public disdain of the Generations cast members daring to make contract ultimatums and the ongoing stay-away which crippled the longrunning show he created and also marred its 20th anniverary.

Desmond Brown representing the 12 Generations cast members says "clearly there is light at the end of the tunnel now".
Read more on:    tv  |  celebrities  |  generations

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