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Local actors initiate a petition against clauses added to their contracts

Actress Nambitha Mpumlwana Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Actress Nambitha Mpumlwana Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Published Oct 3, 2023


Local actors have come out in numbers, imploring South Africans to sign a petition in a bid to stop exploitation of the alleged new clauses added to their contracts.

According to the reports, producers seek the right to capture and digitise the image, likeness and voice of each actor for their exclusive future use in any medium, in perpetuity and without any further compensation.

In their plea for support, they say actors deserve the right to negotiate through collective bargaining to secure fair contract terms that honour their craft and value their contribution.

Nambitha Mpumlwana, popular for her portrayal of Mawande on Generations, is among the actors who have taken a stand on social media to seek support.

She revealed that the South African Guild of Actors (Saga) was leading the charge to guarantee that their voices were heard and their careers protected.

“Lately, there have been reports of new clauses being added to actor contracts in South Africa that are harmful to our livelihoods. As actors, it is essential to stand together and ensure our rights are protected.

“Saga is leading the charge to guarantee our voices are heard and our careers are protected. Please help us by signing the petition below and sharing it widely.

“By doing so, you’re supporting thousands of actors across South Africa,” said Mpumlwana.

Hungani Ndlovu, known for his role as Romeo Medupe on Scandal, was candid about the dire situation they found themselves in owing to the new clauses.

He took to X to share a video where he sought intervention from various organisations.

“Hi everyone, Hungani Ndlovu from Saga, Are you an actor, or maybe you know someone who is? Actors are facing a dire situation that is threatening our livelihoods. As the South African Guild of Actors, we are concerned about the very same issues that American issues are striking about. So we have started an online petition appealing for protection over digital likeness and exploitation.

“Producers want to capture and digitise the image, likeness and voice of each actor for their exclusive use in any medium in perpetuity, which means forever, without any further compensation to the actor. These clauses are increasingly popping up in contracts, and South African actors are forced to sign. As Saga, we are seeking intervention.”

He added that if the issue was left unchallenged, the long-term consequences for local actors would be disastrous.

Renowned actor Jack Devnarain also called on actors to take a stand and said: “Hey actors! This is already happening in SA. What are you doing about it? @SAGActors is the only actors’ representative body that speaks for actors’ rights. Broadcasters, studios and streamers are already eating off your plate; don’t let apathy give them more.”

They further called for interventions from the Department of Employment and Labour, the South African Human Rights Commission and the International Labour Organisation.