7de Laan back in the Saftas

2012-11-14 09:59
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town - Popular SABC2 soap 7de Laan is back in the race as South Africa's most popular soap on TV in the 7th South African Film and Television Awards (Saftas).

This award show is scheduled to take place in March 2013, which will now be screened on one of M-Net's TV channels.

Controversy swirled around the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) at the beginning of this year, when the Danie Odendaal Productions was blatantly excluded from the Best Soap Award during the 6th Saftas - a category in which only viewers' votes determine the winner.

7de Laan won as Best Soap at the Saftas in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before suddenly being excluded in 2012. The NFVF dumped 7de Laan, the third biggest South African soap according to viewership figures, since the soap failed to enter other categories.

The NFVF said soaps are only eligible to be voted for if they've entered other categories. The production crew of 7de Laan said they were not aware of that specific rule.

Now 7de Laan is back in the Saftas after having entered into other categories. Although South African TV viewers will again not have a complete soap set to choose from, this will still have an impact on the true legitimacy of the Best Soap category winner.

iNkaba in, Binneland and Villa Rosa out

SABC1's Generations, SABC2's Muvhango and 7de Laan, SABC3's Isidingo, e.tv's Scandal! and Rhythm City, M-Net's The Wild and even Mzansi Magic's telenovela iNkaba all entered into categories and will be listed in the Best Soap category. But, absent from the list is kykNET's Binneland and Villa Rosa, as they did not enter for anything.

Fans of Binneland and Villa Rosa won't be able to vote for these shows, although they are legitimate longrunning soaps.

"Eight soaps that submitted entries will go to judging and also qualify for Best Soap as a viewer voting category," the NFVF told Channel24.

This year the 7th Saftas saw 354 entries qualify to proceed to the so-called "filtration process" which will be followed by final judging.

While South Africa's TV industry plays nice, there is still simmering tension behind the scenes, with the Saftas abjudication process still accused of sistemic and judges' bias.

Once again, previous winners and nominees of the Saftas serve as judges which is perceived to be a conflict of interest.

"The Saftas judges are professionals with integrity, also if a judge has been nominated in a category they are not permitted to sit on the judging of their own project. The judging process is audited," the NFVF explains.

"I'm proud to say that not only is the Saftas growing but the whole industry as we continue to witness a considerable increase in the levels of international and local investments in the film and TV industry," says Zama Mkosi, NFVF CEO and Saftas chairperson.


"This year all the role players in the industry fully support the Saftas," says Mkosi. While public criticism surrounding the upcoming 7th Saftas has not yet bubbled to the surface as in previous years, behind the scenes broadcasters and industry players are keeping a close eye on the process. Industry insiders remain concerned about the true independence of the awards.

"e.tv remains committed to working together with the NFVF and the Saftas committee to address concerns around the independence of the awards," says Monde Twala, e.tv's group head of channels.

Just before the awards ceremony of the 6th Saftas, e.tv engaged in a big fight with the awards ceremony, and went about to withdraw all their nominees. e.tv has entered again this year.

"Our efforts aim to bolster industry competence and transparency," says Twala. "It is important that we work towards ensuring genuine reward for the country's diverse film and television talent pool."

Back on TV

Another backstage drama in the past was the bad organising and the NFVF's inability to find a broadcaster in time to televise the awards show done over two consecutive nights, or to institute a so-called "carousel wheel", similar to American award shows where TV channels equally share in taking turns to televise shows, such as the Emmys.

M-Net has now agreed to show an edited version of the 7th Saftas in 2013.

"M-Net is fully behind the awards, and has committed to screening an edited version on one of its channels," says Theo Erasmus, M-Net's director for general entertainment channels, and an M-Net representative on the Saftas committee.

"The Saftas have come a long way and it is encouraging to see all the role players, including industry peers, government and broadcasters holding hands in ensuring the awards evolve," says Nodi Murphy, who will be acting as the new overall chairperson of the judges of the Saftas.


  • xanavin.vonbuchenroder - 2012-11-14 10:23

    More like the worst soapies on telly. Poor acting, lack of storyline and weak script............

  • Arno Lotz - 2012-11-14 10:42

    very irritating program,always some kind of competition that frustrate me for weeks,stereotipe storyline.

  • grant.logan.94 - 2012-11-14 11:41

    Never mind best soapie, Isidingo is one of the best programs on tv, locally and internationally.

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