MMVP Productions and SABC give their side to Generations saga


On 22 August the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and MMVP
Productions, the company responsible for producing the country’s most popular
soapie Generations, held a press conference to engage with the
media about the show’s recent dispute with its actors and the 16 contract
terminations which occurred.

SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng began by saying that the SABC took pride in
having resolved some of the previous issues that had arisen between the
production house and actors in 2013 when the decision was made to increase
the contractual period with MMVP Productions from one to three years. This
meant that cast members would also be able to receive a three-year contract
and the production company would be better equipped to strategise operations
accordingly. Added to this, Motsoeneng claimed action was taken to ensure that
inflation and royalties be considered when allocating performers rates. However,
the three-year contracts are yet to be signed, due to on-going disputes
surrounding the rate which the actors requested. Following another stand-off by
the Generations cast, MMSV Productions stopped production and
terminated 16 contracts on Monday, 11 August.

“Disputes with employees will always happen and we always want to engage in
these circumstances, but we won’t allow anarchy. You can’t not go to work – no
one is allowed to do that, not even permanent SABC staff – that is anarchy,’
remarked Motsoeneng.

He continued, “I agree in principal with some of the issues that the actors are
raising, but they need to go to work. They can’t hold the SABC at ransom.’

Mfundi Vundla executive producer at MMVP productions claimed the terminations
were as a result of MMVP Productions trying to comply with their contractual
obligations to the SABC which requires that they deliver episodes on time and in
accordance with a pre-approved budget. Further to this, the production house
stated that reports that the cast members were getting paid “peanuts’ were to
the contrary.

Producer Friedrich Stark said that they could not reveal the individual salaries of
each of the 16 terminated contracts but claimed, “On average, taken from the
16 actors earnings, a Generations actor gets R55 000 per month.’
He added that some of the actors seemed to want the rights and benefits of
being both an independent contractor and permanent employee and
commented, “You can’t have your bread buttered on both sides.’

Motsoeneng highlighted that there was a need to establish an independent
panel to deal with such issues, and that the SABC would work towards
appointing such a body. “Some of the actors are using lawyers, some are part of
an orgainisation – they are not using one voice,’ he explained.

To claims that actors were mistreated or made to work under unfair conditions
Stark said that the cast members had received three meals a day, had their own
dressing rooms, were given an average of six weeks production break a year
and were always treated with respect. Vundla added that he felt betrayed to
an extent and recalled an incident when one cast member was rushed to
hospital with a life-threatening condition and, as the actor had no medical aid,
he had paid for the medical expenses out of his own pocket. “To be painted as
this avaricious person who doesn’t care, I feel betrayed,’ he said.

As fans of the show wait with baited breath to determine its outcome, Vundla
maintains that, “There is a risk we face but it’s an exciting risk. We’ve got
creative ideas and when we come back, man we’re going to give you

Motsoeneng maintained that he would like to see the issue resolved with the 16
actors and is a fan of the show himself.

When asked about the possibility of cast members with terminated contracts
staying on, or returning to the show, Vundla responded, “Whoever we engage
with must be congruent with our plans for the future.’


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