The cast and crew of the popular SABC 2 soap opera, 7th Avenuewere informed at the eleventh hour on Sunday that they do not have to return to the set of this soap from today (Monday) until further notice.
Barely two months ago, the makers shared the news that 7th Avenue will come to an end in December this year after 23 years on the box office.
Kaylene Bessit, spokesperson for the soap, confirmed to RNews that the production of 7th Avenue was temporarily stopped due to delayed payments by the SABC.
“The decision (to stop the production) was not taken lightly and is necessary to address the financial challenges arising from non-payments.”
Bessit emphasizes that all members of the team have been paid in full for the work already done.
“Even though we did not receive scheduled payments from the SABC, we continued with the production and made sure that our team all received their salaries. This was made possible by the manufacturers who delved into their own resources. This indicates the unwavering commitment of the talented team that gives life to the soap.”
According to Bessit, it is also important to emphasize that the SABC still made payments, even if they were irregular and late.
“We are pleased to confirm that the invoice for June, which was still outstanding, was paid in full on 1 September 2023.”
Bessit thanks the viewers, workers and shareholders of 7th Avenue for their support during the temporary strike.
“While we find ourselves in this challenging situation, we remain hopeful that there will be a solution with the SABC, which will allow us to resume production in the near future.”
Frances Maposa, line producer of the soap, said in a letter sent to the actors and other team members on Sunday, that the management team will give feedback as soon as possible regarding the return to the set.
“Please also remember that the principle of no work, no pay will apply here in accordance with the contractual conditions,” the letter said.
An actor in 7th Avenuewho prefers to remain anonymous, tells RNews that he and his colleagues are equally upset by the latest development.
“First we heard only two hours before the news was conveyed to the rest of the country that the production was going to be canceled entirely, and now we are in this new situation.”
He emphasizes that he and his colleagues realize the problem lies with the SABC. “We don’t blame Danie (Odendaal). The SABC is the root of evil.”
The actor says they have been paid late every month for the past few months. “It is not a very comfortable situation, even though as freelance actors we are used to an irregular income.
“I also don’t know if I can do other work now, because technically I am still contractually connected with the Avenue. I don’t know when they are going to give us this information.
“Furthermore, it’s also just a very bad situation to be in, because we (the actors and other team members) have come to love each other and we love the stories we tell.”