Generations shuts down over contract dispute

2013-10-15 10:38
Cape Town – Generations on SABC1 was forced to shut down on Monday as headline cast members stayed away from the biggest South African TV show and most watched soap – a gamble which could see them getting axed and written out of the show.

Generations' big name cast members were all a no-show on the first day they were supposed to be back after a two week break. Cast members and Generations executive producer Mfundi Vundla are embroiled in a growing contract dispute in which the soap stars are demanding bigger salaries and longer term contracts without write out clauses.

Now the Generations studios has gone dark with day-to-day production at the SABC money-spinner being seriously impacted since there's no new signed contracts with the large number of lead actors in the soap such as Sophie Ndaba, Katlego Danke, Menzi Ngubane, Anga Makubalo, Thami Mngqolo, Xolisa Xaluva, Zenande Mfenyana, Mandla Gaduka, Winnie Modise and Maggie Benedict.

The Generations cast whose characters could be written out of the soap, are refusing to sign new contracts, wanting clear three year contracts from Morula Pictures.

The Generations contract revolt comes after Hlaudi Motsoeneng, the SABC's acting chief operating officer (COO) and famously matricless boss, said in June at a Generations party for the soap's 20th anniversary, that the production company, Morula Pictures, is now getting three year renewal contracts instead of the one year contracts which has been the case up to now.

Certain clauses

Generations has not publicly responded yet with any kind of statement regarding new contract negotiations with longstanding members of the soap's cast, but according to insiders the soap stars want higher remuneration because they want to share in the success of the show and longer clear contracts.

After one year contracts were changed to longer term contracts, those longer contracts apparently come with certain clauses that actors can be written out at the discretion of the producers.

That essentially means that even if a Generations cast member has a longer contract, that actor can still be written out – for  instance after a year - making it in a sense the same as the shorter term contracts cast members have had up until now.

Earlier this month SABC1's acting channel head Sam Mpherwane said Generations remains in strong demand under viewers and that Generations "is happy to create new stars".

That is also not sitting well with longtime Generations cast members who according to insiders feel that they're being threatened to be "replaced" by new and cheaper talent.

Generations remains the cornerstone of not just SABC1's programming line-up, but of the entire SABC, remaining a strong cash generating machine for the public broadcaster with expensive rates for advertising timeslots due to the huge number of viewers.

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