No talk of job losses after Isidingo fire

2012-06-18 16:34
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town - There's been no talk of firing any cast or crew members from SABC3 soap Isidingo following Wednesday evening's devastating fire at the SABC's Henley Studios.

The massive fire destroyed the Isidingo set and caused tens of millions of rands of damage in the worst fire the South African public broadcaster has ever experienced.

The fire also impacts SABC1's Generations and SABC2's Muvhango soaps shot in the same building.

Serious safety concerns have now been raised about Henley Studios.

Endemol South Africa, which produces Isidingo from Studio 6 which went up in flames and is SABC3's single biggest and most expensive TV production, which broadcasts five days a week, is adamant to lose as little production time as possible.

SABC3 still silent

Currently only emergency services are allowed access to the gutted studio, which was locked at the time of the incident and took fire fighters more than three hours to get control of the massive blaze which swept through the building and destroyed sets, equipment, cables and took SABC3 off the air for a while.

The Department of Labour has issued a prohibition order barring anyone except emergency services entering the charred and cavernous building blackened by fire and doused by water.

While the SABC has corporately talked about the disaster, SABC3 has not yet said a single word in a public statement about its biggest primetime TV property to viewers nearly a week after the incident, expressed any sympathy with the soap's cast and crew, or relief that no one was harmed by the blaze.

Channel24 has since talked to several people directly affected by the destructive blaze - people who've been unable to get to possessions they've left at Henley Studios (like laptops and other property) - and the huge anxiety, concern and fear the unexpected fire caused, primarily about whether people are going to lose their jobs.

"At this stage there has been no extensive audit done to estimate the damage to the Isidingo sets; as all access into the Henley Studios where the Isidingo sets are housed have been limited to emergency services only," said Sivan Pillay, the managing director of Endemol SA.

"There have been no talks of firing any cast or crew members as contingency plans have been put in place to ensure that production on Isidingo continues," said Pillay.

"As Endemol we are relieved that we have not sustained any casualties from this disaster."

Pillay calls the Isidingo cast and crew "our people and our main priority" and said "the contingency plans are currently underway."