SABC TO FIRE ACTORS
GENERATIONS CAST TOLD TO STOP THIER DRAMA OR VOETSEK
STRIKING Generations actors have been ordered to return to work or be fired. The SABC has rejected their demands to be paid Hollywood wages”. The actors received an ultimatum from the SABC’s legal department on Friday night to report for duty tomorrow at 9am or consider their contracts terminated with immediate effect.
The letters were issued to the main actors soon after the cast issued a statement that they had embarked on a strike because the SABC rejected their demands to be paid royalties and to finalise their three-year contracts.
The SABC rejected their demands for pay hikes, which it deemed astronomical pushing up wages of long-serving actors from R16 000 to R30 000 a week.
Two independent sources, a senior executive and a crew member, said the SABC took a decision on Friday night to take a hardline stance because it found the actors’ demands unreasonable and out of touch with reality”.
That means these actors will earn a monthly salary of R120 000, which is equal to R1.4-million a year per cast member. This is not Hollywood. These people want to be like Hollywood stars or soccer stars. Is that affordable and sustainable, given the financial status of the SABC? We were shocked by these demands,” he said.
The soapie has 16 main actors, meaning the public broadcaster would have to fork our R22.4-million a year in salaries alone.
The executive said the cast also demanded payment for any advert written into their storylines or one they feature in during intervals.
Generations is our property, not theirs. We invent new ways of generating revenue through Gen
erations and pay them wages for their roles as actors. Now they want a percentage for adverts written into their storylines or flighted during intervals of the soapie. I think they have really gone too far.
When they issued the statement, they shied away from including these ridiculous demands of theirs, because that was going to expose their greed to the public. They instead chose to portray the SABC as an institution that does not care about its people.”
The executive also dismissed the cast’s claims that the SABC was not transparent with their royalties. They expected a lot of money and are disputing the figures we showed them. They wanted to see our books, and when we showed them… they said they want to bring their independent auditors to check our books because they don’t believe these figures. We told them to bring them, but they failed. So why is that our problem?”
A crew member confirmed that the SABC mandarins blew their tops when they learnt of the cast’s wage demands.
You remember that we [the cast] demanded three-year contracts from the producers and they refused. So Hlaudi intervened and gave us these contracts, but with the same old pay rates, the crew member said, referring to SABC chief operations officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.
We want these rates to be changed, and for them to be in accordance with industry rates.
The producers agreed to pay these rates subject to approval by the SABC, which said they will embark on a roadshow to check if these rates we demanded are indeed payable. They never came back to us, and said what we are demanding is unreasonable or Hollywood wages.”
The crew member said it was fair that they be paid a percentage for the ads. You see, if you are seen promoting Capitec on TV, Absa or FNB won’t touch you. That disadvantages us.”
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said he was unable to comment on the ultimatum as it was not written by the SABC, but by the producers.
He said the striking actors were asked to produce the industry rates they were referring to.
We have also asked them to bring their own auditors to have a look at our books so we can finalise the royalties issue.”
The actors maintained that the SABC had promised to investigate industry pay rates. They pro- duced a letter sent to producers Mfundi Vundla, Friedrich Stark and Costas Gavriel by Pontsho Makhetha, general manager for TV content, which reads: At this roadshow, the SABC promised to investigate and revert on the matters raised… by the 31st March 2014.” The letter adds: SABC has engaged you as a producer about benchmarking of artiste fees.”