Duma Ndlovu, the mind behind the popular SABC soap opera Muvhango, is gaining a reputation as an unreliable payer. Ndlovu, along with his production company, Word of Mouth, is in the spotlight again for failing to pay its actors and staff on time. The frustration among the soap opera’s cast and crew is mounting as they have not received their pay since September, just before the production break, according to sources at ZiMoja. An insider close to the production disclosed to ZiMoja that some cast and crew members are on the brink of losing their homes and cars due to the delayed payments. “We’ve been on a production break since September and still haven’t received our salaries from before the break. The lack of communication indicates that we’re working under conditions reminiscent of slavery, all under the banner of someone respected in the showbiz industry,” the source lamented.
Another actor, requesting anonymity, expressed concern that they might have a bleak Christmas. “We’re living in fear of losing our homes and cars because banks label us as unreliable payers. If there’s no communication soon from the Muvhango producers, we may not receive our December salaries either.”
Several key actors who contributed to Muvhango’s popularity, such as Sindi Dlathu, have departed for more promising opportunities, like Mzansi Magic’s The River. Last year, the cast and crew of Muvhango halted production due to delayed payments. In 2019, they experienced a similar situation when two months’ worth of salaries went unpaid, with the explanation that the SABC lacked funds to cover the payments. According to the insider, some of Muvhango’s skilled scriptwriters have also left the Tshivenda soap opera to pursue opportunities on other TV programs. The actors remain uncertain about their return from the break. “We have no idea when we’ll resume shooting; there’s no clear response from the higher-ups,” the individual remarked.”