Muvhango actress Cynthia Shange opens a can of worms

Cynthia Shange during the memorial service actor Joe Mafela. Photo: Veli Nhlapo
Cynthia Shange during the memorial service actor Joe Mafela. Photo: Veli Nhlapo

Actors on the television series Muvhango seem to be fighting a losing battle when it comes to securing "reasonable" contracts.

This follows a revelation by actress Cynthia Shange, who took to the podium at Joe Mafela's memorial service held at the Joburg Theatre last week. She said she has been with the soapie for 18 years but is still given one-year contracts.

This goes against the instruction given to production houses contracted with the public broadcaster last year, which were told to give main actors three-year contracts, in line with the ones given to them.

"I have been with Muvhango for 18 years, but each year I sign a new contract. I cannot get a loan because I am not permanently employed. You can squeeze your salary to get medical aid, but if you lose a job in that period, it lapses," she said.

Another Muvhango staff member who wished to remain anonymous said: "We are still given one-year contracts. I don't know why because it is supposed to be three years, and no one is doing much to help."

Following a strike by 16 Generations actors for better salaries and contracts in 2014, former SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng told Sowetan's sister publication the Sunday World at the time that he was "dealing with the matter decisively".

When contacted for comment following Shange's outburst, SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago backtracked, saying contractual issues are between individual actors and the production house, Word of Mouth Pictures.

"We give three-year contracts so that they can give three-year contracts to on-air personalities. I spoke to Cynthia after that and she knows that they [Word of Mouth Pictures] were given three-year contracts," Kganyago said.

"This is a matter between her and Word of Mouth. If she says she was not given a three-year contract, it is supposed to be raised with the production company because we don't have control over that."

Word of Mouth Pictures producer Duma Ndlovu was not available for comment yesterday. Muvhango spokeswoman Amanda Ngudle requested questions to be e-mailed to her, but she had not replied to the e-mail by the time of going to print.

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