Production on popular SABC 1 soapie Uzalo has been put on ice until the end of August after cast and crew were not paid, the show’s creators confirmed on Monday.
In a statement, production house Stained Glass Pictures explained that staff decided to suspend their services after they weren’t paid their salaries on August 25.
Affected staff were apparently informed that the production company was waiting on outstanding payments from the SABC at the start of the month and were given the option to continue working or take immediate leave. Majority of the cast and crew decided to continue working until the end of August.
“As a company, we carried the costs of production for as long as we were able to, while waiting for the outstanding payments to be settled by the public broadcaster. Since we were unable to make payments on pay day, the 25th of August, the staff have exercised their right to withhold services until they receive their August salaries. We respect that decision and appreciate the work that they have put into the show this month despite the uncertainty,” executive producer of Stained Glass Pictures Pepsi Pokane said.
The production house said they were in discussions with SABC who have agreed to honour payments by the end of the August and that they were hopeful production would resume in September.
The announcement shook the social media streets with fans reacting to the news with memes and messages.
Fans of the show were heartbroken over the announcement, concerned that it might mean the end of the most-watched show in Mzansi.
Also, can't believe production on Uzalo is shutting down. That's one great show.
— Lebo (@leboranks) August 28, 2018
Who is surprised? I know a few other productions that have not been able to pay crew and cast for the past few months. 😡 https://t.co/ZJb97rsrIm
— beverley ditsie (@bevditsie) August 27, 2018
This is heartbreaking. I love Uzalo. Why SABC ele so? 😤 https://t.co/bURiPtuYV2
— Tokiso (@TokisoM) August 28, 2018
SABC is in shambles….. Uzalo being cancelled.
You dare not blame any of that on Hlaudi. He was doing a good job, y’all removed him.
You got what you wanted. pic.twitter.com/xrqnKdTcyD
— Lonwabo Sicwebu (@LonwaboSicwebu) August 27, 2018
Some fans also wondered if the show would follow the example of Generations and rebrand on its return. Or perhaps it may resurface on DStv.
Sad to see that an award winning soapie like #Uzalo is struggling to pay its cast & crew but it's confirmed that the problem will be resolved soon. #SAFTA https://t.co/lvqHG0oWcs pic.twitter.com/d1syQEqPQD
— ZAlebs (@Zalebs) August 27, 2018
— Sphelele (@SpheDludla) August 27, 2018
Noma Ungabuka Uzalo on Dstv Compact. Its Still Uzalo Not "The Birth" pic.twitter.com/VKdPwUijzU
— ♻✿•Åw‘KøĐWΔ_Ç h R ïï＄✿•™♻ (@Awkodwa_SA) August 27, 2018
Others brought up SABC’s recent announcement that they would air the English Premier League, asking if they used the “Uzalo money” on the football deal.
So SABC has money to bring the EPL but can’t pay production for Uzalo?🤔👀
— ZWELITHINI👑 (@2bzin) August 28, 2018
SABC sacrificing Uzalo to give us the EPL….🔥 https://t.co/7omw4TXkAX
— A Kaffir in sight (@siyandagola) August 27, 2018
Others suggested it was time for the SABC to get a new show for the time slot.
How i wish #uzalo can be cancelled.
— kgabo Shilabjwe (@kgabo_shilabjwe) August 28, 2018
I feel for the staff and actors, no one deserve to lose their jobs. But Uzalo and Muvhango are same whatsapp group. Poor acting and poor storylines. What a torture. I can do without them. https://t.co/s29S3rqDx6
— Mr Daniel (@Revrend_TD) August 28, 2018
Uzalo has suspended shoots because SABC can't settle outstanding payments.
SABC owes more than 150 service providers currently. pic.twitter.com/QWkmSARO2T
— Entrepreneur Zone (@SayEntrepreneur) August 27, 2018