THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Third South African government minister to intervene in SABC's firing of Generations cast scandal: Nathi Mthethwa is 'deeply concerned'.


The minister of South Africa's department of arts and culture, Nathi Mthethwa says he is "deeply concerned" about the latest SABC scandal which saw the shocking wholesale firing of the Generations cast on SABC1 on Monday by the SABC and MMSV Productions.

The Generations cast was fired on Monday by the SABC and MMSV Productions following a second strike the united actors embarked on since last Monday.

The dismissal of the principal Generations cast has sent shockwaves through South Africa's television industry.

Generations ranks as the most watched TV show in South Africa with an average of 7.5 million viewers every weeknight, is the most watched soap, the most lucrative TV show of the SABC and commands a price of R200 000 per 30 second ad spot during its 20:00 primetime timeslot.

It was the Generations cast's second strike in 10 months at the SABC1 soap over exactly the same issues of wanting three year contracts from the SABC as it was promised in 2013, better paying contracts, as well as back payment for rebroadcasts and international sales of the show - all issues that the SABC promised to give attention but failed to do.

On Tuesday the ANC majority government said the minister of communications and the minister of labour will be intervening and getting involved in the dispute.

Today the government said the minister of arts and culture will get involved, making it the third minister giving attention to the Generations cast firing.

requested the intervention of the ministers of communications and labour in the dispute," says ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa in a statement.

"We are willing to engage with all the relevant people to help find a speedy and amicable resolution to this matter," says Nathi Mthethwa in a statement.

"We are deeply concerned about these developments and hope that SABC management, the production company and worker representatives will work together to reach a speedy resolution to this matter".

Nathi Mthethwa says the government supports the formation of a strong creative workers' representative body to look after the interests of artists in South Africa.

Meanwhile the SABC plans to have a press conference on Friday at 11:00 at its Auckland Park headquarters in Johannesburg to give the public broadcaster's talking points after firing the Generations cast.