Saftas slam e.tv for withdrawing
Cape Town - The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), which organises the South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas), immediately entered the fray after e.tv announced that the broadcaster is pulling all of its shows and soaps from the controversial awards ceremony.
Moments after e.tv officially announced that the broadcaster is dumping its involvement with the Saftas, and pulling its presenters, shows and soaps from the awards ceremony, the Saftas fired back, critising e.tv's participation as having been "considerably low" anyway.
The beleaguered awards show - boycotted in the past by SABC1's Generations, SABC2's 7de Laan, and with M-Net and e.tv reluctant to enter in the past, thereby giving the ceremony legitimacy - is now in crisis mode with the two-day ceremony to take place on Friday and Saturday at Gallagher Estate.
SABC3, which was set to broadcast the show live after it was not screened on TV last year, had to settle for a recorded show on Sunday after the NFVF moved the Saftas dates forward.
Insiders within South Africa's TV industry say e.tv has concerns regarding the judging and process.
e.tv's withdrawal comes after SABC2's flagship drama 7de Laan was discovered to not be eligible for the Best Soap category, voted for by the public, because the show didn't enter any of the other categories (like Best Actor/Actress).
'Shock and surprise'
Eddie Mbalo, the chairperson of the Saftas and also the interim CEO of the pay TV operator TopTV, called e.tv's withdrawal "definitely a blow to the entire film and television industry".
Mbalo slammed e.tv saying, "Maybe if the broadcasters were playing their part and even contributing towards funding of the Saftas, the withdrawal would not be at the drop of the hat as is the case at the moment".
The NFVF didn't say what would be happening to categories in which e.tv shows and soaps are nominated. The Best Soap category will now also limp along, with the loss of two more soaps after the withdrawal of 7de Laan.
"The withdrawal by e.tv comes as a shock and surprise," said Mbalo.
With too little time for the organisers to find replacements in categories, the Saftas says the ceremony will "continue to recognise those individuals that have already been judged and nominated as the feeling is that they deserve the recognition".