Producers of television soapie Generations have fired 16 actors who had embarked on a strike, the SABC said on Monday.
“MMSV Productions, following consultation with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), have today terminated the contracts of the striking actors on the SABC1 soap drama, Generations,” spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement.
“The termination follows calls by both parties for the actors to return for recordings, following the start of their illegal strike.”
The 16 cast members embarked on a strike this week. The cast claimed that the broadcaster as well as the production company, had failed to deliver on promises it made to them during their strike last year. The cast was reportedly promised three year contracts which they had not received.
They also wanted salary adjustments.
Earlier on Monday, the actors wrote an open letter to viewers and fans explaining why they embarked on a strike. Despite the show being the most popular in South Africa, the cast is paid rates well below what is understood to be the industry norm, the actors said.
“There has been a great deal of talk from the SABC that we want to be paid extravagant salaries, this is simply not true. Our actor colleagues on the same platform, SABC, are paid at much better rates, so it is possible.”
They said when they embarked on a strike in October last year, they proposed a set of rates that they should be paid. In November 2013, MMSV Productions agreed to meet these rates, provided the SABC would also support the proposed normalisation of salaries, the actors said.
The SABC responded that they would like some time to review the proposed rates, and would revert in March 2014. The SABC kept extending the deadlines for a response.
“When the July deadline elapsed, there was no communication from them as to the outcome of their deliberations. When we enquired, we received no response.”
“It became clear to us that their requests for extensions were merely a delaying tactic, and there had never been an intention, as promised, to review the salary scales.”
Kganyago said the SABC and MMSV Production had put measures in place to ensure the future of Generations . Some of the lead actors who have been fired included Menzi Ngubane, who plays the character of ruthless businessman Sbusiso Dlomo, Nambitha Mpumlwana (Mawande), Patrick Shai (Patrick Tlaole), Sophie Ndaba (Queen Ndaba), Seputla Sebogodi (Kenneth Mashaba), Winnie Ntshaba (Khetiwe Buthelezi) and Katlego Danke (Dineo Dlomo). SAPA