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POPULAR SABC soapie Generations could have a completely new cast with a new storyline in the new year – if contractual problems are not solved soon.
The show’s creator, Mfundi Vundla, said the soapie had enough pre-recorded material to last until next month, and he might have to resort to a plan B if the problem continued.
Twelve cast members have been at loggerheads with Vundla since the beginning of last month about their contracts. Not a single episode has been filmed since.
And it’s not only the cast members who lost out on their monthly salaries on Thursday – everyone involved in this huge production, viewed by millions, was not paid. This includes call actors and crew members.
On Thursday night, Vundla said he had been praying the issue would be resolved soon and hoped the cast members would come to their senses, adding that “nobody is bigger than Generations, nobody is indispensable and there is always plan B”.
“There can be a complete rewrite, a complete recast. Somebody will have to knock some sense into their heads, I’m sure they have bills to pay.”
Vundla said he believed the cast members’ lawyer, Bulelani Mzamo, was responsible for the dispute.
He believed Mzamo was not giving his clients the correct advice, as he did not understand the relationship between producers and actors.
Vundla said that in the South African TV industry, and not only in Generations, the nature of the contract that entertainers signed was called “the independent contractors agreement”, which was different from the normal employer-employee contract.
The cast on strike wanted to be treated as employees with benefits such as housing, medical aid, a car allowance and maternity leave, he said.
“They are not employees but independent contractors. What their lawyer wants is that we should treat them as employees, which is not the case in South Africa.”
Mzamo said, however, the cast had been signing the contracts over the years without having an attorney look at them first.
The attorney represents Sophie Ndaba (Queen), Katlego Danke (Dineo), Anga Makubalo (MJ), Menzi Ngubane (Sibusiso), Zenande Mfenyana (Noluntu), Mandla Gaduka (Choppa), Winnie Modise (Khethiwe), Maggie Bennedict (Akhona), Thato Molamu (Nicholas) Zolisa Xaluva (Jason), Thami Mngqolo (Senzo) and Slindile Nodangala (Ruby).
“What we want is that the contract must be balanced,” Mzamo said.
He said he felt some clauses disadvantaged his clients and that some phrases in the contract were open to abuse.
About 10 million people tune in to watch Generations daily. - The Star