IGazi actress Vatiswa Ndara sparked an uproar on social media when she accused her employer Ferguson Films of exploitation of her craft.
She claimed that the production company which is home to popular television shows such as The Queen, iGazi and The Throne, “reaped the financial benefits through repeat broadcasts, licensing deals and repackaging of the show,” said Ndara.
In response to her fiery open letter addressed to the Minister of Arts and Culture, Nathi Mathethwa, the Ferguson came out guns blazing at Ndara, accusing her of greed.
The Safta award-winning actress played the role of Nomarashiya on the hit the Mzansi Magic series produced by Ferguson Films.
In the six-page letter posted on Twitter, she alleges poor remuneration, alleged unfair contractual agreement, alleged unfair treatment by producers, and make claims about bullying and intimidation in the industry.
According to a statement released on behalf of Ferguson Films, Brendon Kooker said the production owners by Shona and Connie Ferguson had been in talks with the iGazi actress who demanded to be paid R 700 000 for a five week shoot.
“As actors ourselves and producers we are aware of the challenges facing the entertainment industry. We support 100% a need for the industry to be regulated and for the Performance Protection Amendment Bill to be signed sooner rather than later,” said the Fergusons.
“We attempted to negotiate with the actress and her agent in good faith and within the scope of the applicable production agreement, however the agent subsequently recused himself from the negotiations. Thereafter we dealt with her manager. They made it very clear that Ms. Ndara would not accept anything less than R700 000.00 for the 5- week shoot,” reads the statement.
Furthermore the production company highlight that Ndara’s jab was petty and unnecessary.
“Shona and Connie Ferguson have other business interests apart from their production company and do not owe anyone an explanation as to how they manage their finances and lifestyle. The jab from Ms. Ndara is petty, unnecessary and uncalled for,” said the Fergusons.
OUR OFFICIAL STATEMENT: pic.twitter.com/ttUQ56WNBY
— UNCLE SHO (@Shona_Ferguson) October 9, 2019
Ndara was not the only actor and crew member who shared the same alleged exploitation.
“I was part of the crew shooting the queen the DOP Leon Kriel wanted to sleep with me and I refused that’s when things started going sideways for me I ended up hating my job and myself even got depressed until I decided to quit #Fergusons,” said Malele.
My name is katlego malele i was part of the crew shooting the queen the DOP Leon Kriel wanted to sleep with me and I refused that's when things started going side ways for me I ended up hating my job and myself even got depressed until I decided to quit #Fergusons
— katlego malele (@katlegomalele1) October 8, 2019
The Fergusons said: “There have been other slanderous and false allegations made by Ms Dieketseng Mphuthi and Mr Katlego Malele, which are being addressed separately by our legal team. ”
By Nokuthula Zwane