The public broadcaster in South Africa, the South African Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC) has said that it will investigate the reason why the members of the cast of their flagship production soapie, Muvhango wanted to go on strike during the weekend.
According to media reports during the weekend, actors of the soapie, which has an estimated viewership of more than four million, threatened to go on strike during the weekend following the fact that they had not received their September salaries. According to media reports, the producers of the television presentation, Word of a Mouth sent a letter to the actors about four days before their salaries were due informing them that they would not be paid. The letter read, in part, : “Due to the delayed signing of both the production and script contracts with the public broadcaster, the SABC, salaries for the month of September will not be paid on September 30 2014.” As can be expected, the actors were not impressed in the least.
One member of the cast, who was interviewed but refused to be named said, “We are very pissed off because we think they’re treating us like dirt. If we don’t get paid, something must happen. It’s the end of the month, we don’t have money and our debit orders are bouncing back. We’re going to shoot our scenes but we are not happy bunnies!” Another member said that they were working for their families and would not stand to be treated in this manner.
The public broadcaster, SABC has conceded that there is a problem in paradise and has promised the followers of the soapie that heads will roll. The SABC spokesman, SABC’s Kaizer Kganyago said his organisation would institute an investigation into the issues involved in an attempt to find out what the problem is. He added that whoever would be found as having been at fault would face the consequences. In the meantime, however, he promised that the SABC would make a special payment to the production company, Word of Mouth so that the actors could be paid.
This is apparently not the first time that the word strike has been said in the same breath as Muvhango. Earlier in the year, the executives of the popular show had to have a meeting with the cast, together with controversial SABC Chief Operations Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng in order to resolve and preempt the impending strike at the time. The strike, at that time, was in connection with a need by the actors to have their salaries and contracts reviewed. It is not clear, however, that they were successful in achieving this. It is however interesting to note that these two issues are the same as those that were raised by the sixteen members of the Generations cast who ended up being dismissed in a furore that has resulted in the production taking time off the screen for two months.