Following the Creative Workers Union of South Africa’s (CWUSA) press conference in Johannesburg on 31 March regarding its representation of an actor who they say was unfairly dismissed from pay-TV channel M-Net’s new soap, The Wild, M-Net has issued the following statement:
“M-Net is a responsible corporate citizen and is proudly South African. Since our inception 25 years ago, we have been committed to growing and developing the local television industry in unparalleled ways.
“M-Net prides itself on being at the forefront of technology and creative local concepts, and has invested heavily in upscaling South African television talent. Apart from producing local versions of top international formats, we have also brought many unique concepts in different genres to the South African arena. This has given us the opportunity to invest heavily in our own staff as well as in our ancillary suppliers. Furthermore, we have embarked on several projects – such as M-Net Vuka!, New Directions and EdiT – to make a difference by giving up-and-coming South African television makers the platform to showcase their work.
“The Wild is one of the most innovative M-Net local productions in many years. This groundbreaking show, which is the country’s very first soap to be shot entirely on location, has created 120 new jobs. All the production staff and the cast are remunerated fairly according to industry standards, and some of the more established actors are paid well above the industry standard as we appreciate their value as drawcards to the series.
“Tony Kgoroge was presented with a very lucrative contract to play one of the leading characters – Tiro Lebone – but he declined the offer. Following extensive negotiations with Kgoroge, M-Net had no option but to recast the character, which will now be portrayed by Putla Sehlapelo.’