Firing of actors by employers paints an empty future for students who are pursuing drama after matric, the deputy minister of higher education and training said on Tuesday.
“These developments paint a bleak future for students pursuing their studies in the creative and performing arts industry,” said Mduduzi Manana in a statement.
He said the majority of the Generations actors fired last week after a dispute were graduates of various tertiary institutions.
“The dispute between the different parties poses a threat to future graduates, who will find it difficult to pursue careers in the field because of the perceived lack of secure income.”
Manana suggested that the parties find a way of handling their dispute to ensure that South Africans were not deprived of the prime time soapie they had grown attached to.
The actors had formed the Generations Actors Guild (GAG), to improve salaries and working conditions of the 16 actors, as well as all actors at the SABC.
On Tuesday they told a press conference that the SABC and production company MMSV had violated the human rights by making their salaries public.
“What was said on Friday was unethical, it exposed us,” said actress Nambitha Mpumlwana who plays the role of Mawande in the soapie.
“We are embarrassed because we are private individuals and we don’t want our private details in the public sphere.”
MMSV owner Mfundi Vundla told reporters on Friday that the soap opera’s actors received an average salary of R55,000 a month, and not “peanuts” as they had claimed.
Actors who were fired and part of GAG include Menzi Ngubane, who plays the character of ruthless businessman Sbusiso Dlomo, Patrick Shai (Patrick Tlaole), Sophie Ndaba (Queen Ndaba), Seputla Sebogodi (Kenneth Mashaba), Winnie Ntshaba (Khetiwe Buthelezi), and Katlego Danke (Dineo Dlomo).
They claimed the broadcaster and MMSV had failed to deliver on promises it made to them during their strike last year. They were reportedly promised three-year contracts, which they had not received. They also wanted salary adjustments.
Vundla said on Friday that the production company had a contract with the SABC and had to deliver.
“We have the responsibility to deliver episodes on time to live up to our contract.” SAPA