Pretoria – Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa has expressed concern over the dismissal of some cast members of television soap opera, Generations.

Sixteen Generations cast members have been fired following a dispute over royalties and salaries with the SABC.

Last week, the soap’s leading actors went on a strike in a desperate bid to get the SABC and MMSV Productions to take heed of their concerns over salaries and contracts.

Minister Mthethwa said Generations has contributed to the development and growth of South African talent and the film industry. He has noted that it enjoys a huge following amongst television viewers.

“For over a decade, Generations has contributed to job creation and provided opportunities for local talent to be acknowledged and recognised. This has highlighted the quality of talent that exists in the country and thus saw Generations enjoy the support of many television viewers, for whom it has become part of their lives.

“We are deeply concerned about these developments and hope that SABC management, the production company and worker representatives will work together to reach a speedy resolution to this matter,” Minister Mthethwa said.

The Minister said the Department of Arts and Culture has always encouraged and supported calls for the formation of a strong creative workers’ representative body to look after the interest of artists.

“We are willing to engage with all the relevant people to help find a speedy and amicable resolution to this matter,” he said.

He said the creative economy, especially film-making, makes a significant contribution to job creation and economic growth and development in the country, which is why the rights of creative workers and other professionals in the sector must be respected and protected.

Among those dismissed are Sophie Ndaba, Menzi Ngubane, Seputla Sebogodi, Patrick Shai, Thami Mngqolo, Sonia Mbele, Winnie Ntshaba and Mike Mvelase.