Generations' top stars desert set again

Generations' top stars desert set again
Published: 2013 October 17 05:33:36 (4832 Views)
The set of South Africa's Number One TV soap Generations was deserted again as its biggest stars, in a bitter dispute over contracts with producer Mfundi Vundla, stayed at home for a second day.

Mfundi, who created the show 20 years ago, told Daily Sun: "The show will go on with or without actors who are in dispute with me.

"We will strive as we have done in the past to deliver quality to our audience.

"In a word - no one is bigger than the show."

The war involves Mfundi and the soap's leading stars, including Sophie Ndaba, Menzi Ngubane, Katlego Danke, Zolisa Xaluva, Anga Makubalo, Thami Mngqolo, Zenande Mfenyana, Mandla Gaduka, Winnie Modise and Maggie Benedict.

They are refusing to go back on set unless they're given three-year contracts without any restrictive clauses.

The stars were due to return to work on Monday after a shooting break, but they didn't arrive and supporting actors were sent home.

But the outspoken Mfundi is determined that he will only offer three-year contracts with qualifying clauses.

He said yesterday: "We are in a very competitive industry and I need flexibility to bring in new talent when I want to.

"A flat multi-year contract will make me uncompetitive."

Speaking about the quarrel, Mfundi said: "At first I felt betrayed by the actors, because I treat people working for me fairly.

"However, I understand they feel they're acting in their best interests by pushing me to the limit.

"They want contracts longer than a year because it gives them a feeling of security.

"For example, I believe it is within my rights to bring new talent into the cast even if it means getting rid of someone currently on the show.

"I also believe it is within my rights to write out a actor who is not performing to my satisfaction - for example if he or she arrives late constantly, does not know their lines, or does not reflect what's written on the page."

The actors have appointed an attorney to represent them.

Mfundi said: "At this stage there is no impact on the show as we have enough episodes ready for broadcast to last till the end of December.

"I have enough time to settle this issue," he said.

"We will negotiate with the attorney representing the actors in good faith.

"Hopefully we will reach common ground."

But he added: "If we do not reach agreement then all options are on the table, including re-writing the series and taking a new direction."

Mfundi said: "My message to the viewers is that this issue will be solved. Generations is an institution that was built by my team and the audiences."

Yesterday SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said: "We have started talking to both parties so that we understand the issues, and to make sure that they are resolved as soon as possible."

It was an "employer-employee" issue at Morula Pictures, he said. "We have to understand that this is an employer and employee issue between Morula Pictures and their stars and does not involve the SABC."

But he also said the broadcaster could intervene if a settlement wasn't reached.

- Dailysun
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