Thursday, January 6, 2022

SABC says it has fully paid and has 'great concern' about the non-payment of crew and cast of Clive Morris Productions' struggling The Estate on SABC3.

by Thinus Ferreira

The South African public broadcaster says it has "great concern" that the crew and cast of the local telenovela The Estate on SABC3, produced by Clive Morris Productions, have not been paid since the SABC had fully paid the company.

The Estate is the latest South African TV production doing a show for the SABC where staff and talent have been left without income, following SABC2's Muvhango and 7de Laan where crew and cast went for months in 2021 without getting paid.

While the SABC said that Clive Morris Productions has been fully paid for The Estate, the production company told cast and crew who were last paid in November 2021 that it's because of "delayed payment from the SABC".

Cast and crew of The Estate were promised they would be paid at the end of December 2021, then 4 January 2022 but both dates came and went without any payment.

Clive Morris Productions in a memo told those working on The Estate that it's due to "a delayed payment from the SABC due to the change in contract" and that "this is the very last thing we wanted and up to this point have been working on alternative funding solutions to not default on our obligations to you".

"We anticipate that we will have settled all due payments to crew by 10 January and will conduct part payments as money comes in to at least get some funds to each individual," Clive Morris Productions emailed The Estate crew in an internal memo.

"Some of these payments have taken effect and we will continue to make part payments over the course of this week. As a result, we have taken the decision to shift the start of production to 10 January."

"Can we request therefore that gear check and prep be done on the 8th so that the 10th is the first shoot day. We are working as hard as we can to try to settle the matter ahead of the 10th but can only give a firm confirmation for the 10th," Clive Morris Productions wrote.

The SABC maintains that Clive Morris Productions has been "fully paid".

"The SABC can confirm that the corporation has fully paid the production house responsible for The Estate for the season in contract," Gugu Ntuli, SABC spokesperson, told TVwithThinus.

"The SABC signs a production budget with the production house and does not engage in any agreements with the cast and crew members."

"Although the SABC does not engage directly with the cast and crew members, the non-payment of their salary is a great concern and as per norm the corporation engages with the production houses to update them on processes which may be underway relating to their respective contract and therefore communication relating to all contractual matters are between the SABC and the respective production house," Gugu Ntuli said.

The Estate continues to struggle in the ratings on SABC3 with anaemic viewership in its timeslot that kept falling through 2021.