Tjovitjo producers explain late payment to actors

Tjovitjo, arguably one of the best dramas to air on SABC1 this year, has had its success overshadowed by reports that cast and crew have not been paid.

Tjovitjo has undoubtedly been one of the most the successful drama series that has aired this year on SABC 1, however, this success has been overshadowed by cast members not being paid.

The drama series, produced by Puo Pha Productions, aired on SABC 1 in August and with its first episode, attracted 5.7 million viewers.

Despite the show’s success, the issue of outstanding payments to cast, crew and suppliers is one that has taken centre stage.

In a statement released on Monday, the production company cleared the air on reports that have surfaced.

“We’d like to upfront correct the misinformation that the delayed-payments are as a result of the SABC, when in fact the SABC have been the most supportive stakeholder of Tjovitjo. It has been more than outstanding and demonstrated incredible understanding to us as black independent producers. This is a relationship we want to grow and cement,” said the statement.

Puo Pha Productions went on to explain that they have been in communication with those who are owed monies by them.

“The outstanding payment due to cast/crew/suppliers will be paid as per our communication to the affected parties, which we have been in constant communication with. The last communication was as recent as a week ago.”

The company has been very vocal about the difficulty they had in getting financing for the project and, despite there being several government schemes – such as the Department of Trade & Industry’s Black Filmmakers Rebate Scheme – which are meant to assist with finance, the production company says that the system has failed them.

Tjovitjo was a perfect opportunity for the DTI to truly empower small black business but it failed us,” they said.

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