An update on the 7de Laan drama

2016-10-20 15:11

Cape Town – Adamant sources told Channel24 on Thursday afternoon in no uncertain terms that enough is enough, and that the cash-strapped SABC won’t see another single 7de Laan episode delivered if there’s no signed contract by Friday or Monday. 

It’s not just the popular 7de Laan that’s been without a new contract for months – the Venda sister soap Muvhango, SABC2’s top rated and most-watched show – also doesn’t have a new contract after months of waiting with producers who had to pay actors in September without getting money from the SABC.  

Both 7de Laan and Muvhango are cash cows for the struggling public broadcaster and help to prop up the SABC2 schedule.

Yet producers on both shows have been struggling for months to get new signatures from the SABC on new contracts, first leading to Muvhango actors not getting paid, and 7de Laan now warning its cast and crew that they won’t be paid either and need to make other arrangements to make sure that there’s enough money in their bank accounts to make debit orders go through.

An adamant source told Channel24 on Thursday afternoon that the SABC won’t see another episode of 7de Laan delivered if there’s no signed contract from the public broadcaster by Monday, confirming that millions of viewers will definitely not see the 18th season of 7de Laan on Monday 24 October if there’s no contract.

“We will only hand over episodes once a contract is finalised,” said an insider. “If this doesn’t happen before Monday, 7de Laan won’t be shown on SABC2 from Monday”.

It’s not the first time the SABC has dragged its feet in renewing 7de Laan and other local productions’ contracts, but according to insiders it’s definitely the worst yet – so bad that production might in fact start to shut down from next Wednesday.

Frances Maposa, 7de Laan line producer at Danie Odendaal Productions wrote a memo to all 7de Laan staff – the cast, crew and writers – saying "it is with great concern" that 7de Laan is forced "for the first time that this type of memo has to be sent out". (Read more here)

According to insiders the SABC has been dragging its feet since August, and more than two months later 7de Laan is yet to see a signed contract.

SABC: We don’t pay production company staff

Channel24 asked the SABC and SABC2 why new contracts haven’t been signed with Muvhango and 7de Laan, why there’s been a delay and how the SABC feels about the situation, given that the public broadcaster this year on numerous occasions publicly said it supports local content, local content production and South African artists.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago says “the SABC does not pay staff of any production company and therefore cannot comment on the non-payment”.

“In addition, the SABC does not discuss or negotiate contractual issues in the public domain or through the media”.

In the memo Francis Maposa – who didn’t speak to Channel24 and who didn’t leak the memo – warns staff about "the ripple effect of this sees no end" and that "each and every one of us make alternative arrangements to ensure our debits go off as well as other commitments are met".

Although on an ongoing ratings slide, 7de Laan in September still pulled roughly 1.8 million viewers (5.3 AR) to SABC2 on weeknights, making it the channel’s 7th most watched show during the month.  

Meanwhile 7de Laan has assured fans that the show will go on via their Facebook page.

Read more on:    sabc  |  soapies  |  tv  |  7de laan

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.