Burst bubble for actors in soapie crew

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

Muvhango's actors are biting their fingernails because the shooting of SA's second-biggest soapie has been put on hold.

They have been told to pack their bags and go home indefinitely while the SABC and the series' producers haggle over a contract that was supposed to have been signed in May.

"Everybody is distressed," a source says. "We do not know what the future holds for us. We are looking for other jobs.

"The people who are worst hit by this are the call-in actors. At least some of us have contacts and other professions."

One of the soapie's leading actors, Florence Masebe, said she was not sure how long the break would last.

"All I know is that I have a contract with Muvhango and that they have to honour it until my contract ends next year," Masebe says.

The production is apparently running out of money because the SABC has stopped paying them and they are seven months ahead of schedule.

But Sowetan has learnt from some of the actors that "SABC2 is reluctant to renew the contract because of the bad publicity the soapie was receiving and the internal shenanigans".

Actors have been leaving the soap in droves.

The SABC would neither confirm nor deny the shutdown rumours last night.

Vuyo Mthembu of the SABC's communications department pleaded with Sowetan not to publish the story, saying she would clarify the matter today.

Muvhango publicist Nonkululeko Ndlovu, who is also the daughter of the show's executive producer, Duma Ndlovu, confirmed that Muvhango's contract with SABC2 was still being negotiated.

But she denied that they were taking a break because there was no money to pay the actors.

She also denied that SABC2 had not signed the contract because of the alleged shenanigans affecting the soapie.

"These rumours are unfounded," Ndlovu said. "We are a bit ahead of schedule, that is why we are on break.

"We might start shooting again next month. We are busy negotiating the renewal of the contract."

Asked why it has taken so long for SABC2 to renew the contact, she said that she could not answer that.

She also refused to say whether actors would be paid during the break.

"The issue of salaries and contracts is not my business but the business of the HR [human resources] department. I cannot comment on that."

The SABC's Kaizer Kganyago said that he was out of Johannesburg and referred Sowetan to Vuyo Mthembu.

But Mthembu could not comment as she was consulting with her Auckland Park bosses.