Generations actors have launched a counter-offensive in their running war with their employer, saying that Mfundi Vundla is not the Good Samaritan he claims to be.
The 16 sacked cast members revealed in a Joburg media briefing on Tuesday that they felt betrayed by the soapie’s creator.
They walked into the briefing wearing black-and-white outfits that symbolised mourning, according to their publicist.
The cast wanted to set the record straight on issues they felt Vundla and the SABC had misrepresented.
The corporation and Vundla’s production company, MMSV, had violated the human rights of the Generations actors by making their salaries public, said actress Nambitha Mpumlwana.
The actors said they found it embarrassing and tasteless for Vundla to discuss their salaries and for claiming he had paid for a cast member’s medical bills.
“MMSV revealed what was unethical, it’s a violation of our human right. We are embarrassed,” said Mpumlwana, who plays the role of Mawande in the soapie.
On Friday, Vundla said there was a time when he paid medical expenses for one of his employees because the person had no medical insurance.
He also revealed that the soapie’s cast were paid an average salary of R55 000 a month and not “peanuts” as they had claimed.
Menzi Ngubane denied that Vundla had paid for any of his medical bills.
“The truth will always remain as the truth. Baba Vundla knows the truth. I was admitted to hospital on Sunday, a friend took me to Brenthurst (clinic).
“When we got to Brenthurst, they found that I didn’t have medical aid. My friend paid for my medical bills,” Ngubane said.
“When I was at Helen Joseph (hospital), I was diagnosed with kidney failure. Mfundi came to see me in hospital, with Frederick Stark and Costas (series producer, Costas Gavriel). Mfundi did not say they must move me from Helen Joseph and take me to a private hospital,” the lead actor added.
He also spoke about actors’ working conditions, which he said encompassed intimidation. A lack of regulation meant they were not protected.
Generations star Patrick Shai said he became an actor not for the fame, but “to make a change in my life”.
He believed Vundla should not be proud nor gloat that he paid a cast member’s medical bills, but embarrassed that the cast did not receive medical aid.
Sophia Ndaba, with Generations for a decade, said the strike was a collective decision as the cast all felt the same about making a change.
“We are not happy. We are not doing this to sabotage something we love so much, but what’s wrong is wrong and what’s right is right.” – Additional reporting by Sapa