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Exploitation of actors has gone on for too long, says Vatiswa Ndara

Vatiswa Ndara bemoaned the unfair and exploitative practices, which she said were rife in the acting industry.

Actress Vatiswa Ndara. Picture: @vatiswandara/Instagram

CAPE TOWN - Veteran actor Vatiswa Ndara is on Tuesday calling for transparency after she highlighted what she called an already ‘rotten system’ that production companies contributed to.

In a lengthy open letter to the Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Monday, Ndara bemoaned the unfair and exploitative practices, which she said were rife in the acting industry.

She confirmed that she would not be part of the next season of the popular DStv drama iGazi, after the producers - Ferguson Films - offered her way below what she said was a fair wage.

The actor's revelations have drawn sharp criticism towards those in charge and prompted others to share similar experiences.

Ndara said the exploitation of actors had gone on for too long.

“I think there should be transparency in this is what we made and this is what we can offer as a budget for the next season. I'm upset and I think I'm more upset with myself as well, that I've allowed this to happen for so long and hoping that the next gig is going to be better. It's just getting worse," said Ndara.

She said after the first season of iGazi, she almost did not return.

"When I did iGazi, fine the first season we weren't expecting much because it was the first time and we didn't know. But there was a huge success. The second season, you'd expect the budget is going to be more. We were told the second season that there's no budget. We were being offered less than [what we got from] season one,” she added.

LISTEN: Vatiswa Ndara calls out exploitation of actors

Ndara explained why she reached out to Mthethwa: "I feel like he's the one person who has the power and authority to say 'let's do something about this, let's have discussions, let's find a way forward'. Because yes, we have all the bodies but do they have the power to make all these things go away quicker than the minister. I feel that the minister has more power than anybody else,” she continued.

Several actors led by the South African Guild of Actors (SAGA), went to Parliament in September 2018 to make their contributions to the Performers Protection Amendment Bill.

The vice-chairperson of SAGA Adrian Galley said the bill was passed by the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. Galley said the legislation was sitting on the desk of President Cyril Ramaphosa, awaiting his signature.

"The amendment bill brings everything up to date with the current laws and looks at the global situation. The notion of royalties for example. Actors are not granted royalties. The law doesn't protect us in terms of royalties at all. Internationally, that is the norm. So, that's one of the issues the bill will bring into play. Another thing is that actors will be granted certain minimum standards in the contracts they're offered; that’s also in the bill waiting to be signed into law."

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