The Generations Actors Guild, body representing the fired 16 actors from Generations, has made the decision, on behalf of the actors, to challenge MMSV Productions’ breach of contracts by taking their dispute to the High Court.
The cast has recently retained Senior Counsel, who has reviewed the case and identified key contractual and constitutional breaches in MMSV Productions and the SABC’s handling of the dispute.
As a result, the Generations Actors Guild has made a decision to challenge the airing of the show Generations – The Legacy, on the grounds that it is in contravention of the production house’s existing contractual terms with the cast and breaches their rights as defined in the constitution.
They have delivered a legal letter demanding that the new Generations be taken off air not later than 10 January 2015, failing which they will approach the court to order its removal.
A decision was taken recently to obtain a second opinion from Advocate Dali Mpofu SC. After looking at the papers and consulting with the actors, his advice was that the matter primarily involved contractual and constitutional questions and not labour rights alone. The rights of the public are also greatly affected.
“The decision by MMSV Productions and the SABC to create a new show while the case with the Generations cast was as yet unresolved represents a breach of the contractual and fundamental constitutional rights of the actors and they both did so knowing that there was a pending dispute and hence it was at their own risk”, explains Mr Bulelani Mzamo, the actors’ attorney.
“It has to be emphasized that the cast had always expressed their desire to return to work on the terms that had been agreed upon. Their withdrawal of services was taken as a last resort, based on the fact that this agreement was continuously violated. The actors consistently expressed their willingness to return to work. Nonetheless, MMSV Productions hired new actors and commenced with a new production, namely Generations – The Legacy, knowing that they have not resolved the fundamental contractual issues with the cast of Generations. It is on this basis that we are taking the case to the High Court. Generations – The Legacy should never have been produced and aired while the current dispute was still unresolved.”
Mr Mzamo added
“This is going to be an important case, not only for defining the rights of the actors, the production company and the SABC, but also the interests of the licence-paying public and the millions of Generations fans across the country and the continent”.
In line with the advice received, the actors have withdrawn their case lodged with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in favor of the aforementioned high court action.
Commenting on the latest legal action, the Generations Actors Guild said:
“The events of the past few months that led to us being fired for standing up for our right have only served to strengthen our resolve. We operate in an industry where labour practices are cloaked under a veil of secrecy, that allows for breaches and abuse of basic labour rights.
We are and have always been clear about what we wanted – to work in an environment where our rights were respected, and the agreements that we had made with the two entities were held up. That they would rather fire us and replace us with a new cast, instead of addressing our very valid concerns, speaks volumes. We look forward to our case being heard and evaluated on its merits at the High Court.”