South Africa-based pay TV operator MultiChoice has resumed production on a number of its shows that had been put on hold because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Programmes that have resumed production include South African telenovelas Gomora, The Queen and Isibaya, which all air on MultiChoice-owned channel Mzansi Magic.
The move comes after the South African government eased restrictions imposed as part of the coronavirus lockdown, thereby permitting local TV producers to get back to work.
The Pretoria government has allowed the resumption of economic activity that is categorised as Alert Level 4 under South Africa’s system of classifying emergencies.
The relaxation of restrictions comes after MultiChoice announced in March that it was setting aside R80m (US$4.4m) to pay cast and crew salaries during the March/April initial lockdown period.
The company also guaranteed the incomes of freelancers who had been working on its SuperSport productions, after all sporting events were suspended, as well as freelancers in its broadcast tech arm.
Nkateko Mabaso, CEO of flagship MultiChoice channel M-Net, said: “At this stage, the safety of crew and cast remains a priority and we are in constant communication with production houses, as per the government’s directive, to ensure stringent health guidelines are in place and are being adhered to.”
Connie Ferguson, exec producer of The Queen, added: “It has been a tough time worldwide with the pandemic, and we are grateful to still have an opportunity to do what we love. Our priority is the team’s health and safety on set.”
Christelle Parrot, producer of Megaboere, a series that airs on MultiChoice-owned kykNET, said: “The relief fund has helped a lot of our people during a very difficult time. We appreciate their support for an industry that is so desperately in need.”