The popular SABC television drama Uzalo raised lots of dust on Thursday’s KwaZulu-Natal legislature as they debated on the R5-million funding the show received especially as it has a link with President Zuma’s daughter.
The debate on Thursday over the drama show, of which Gugulethu Zuma is one of the executive producers, erupted during the debate on the Economic Development and Tourism budget being tabled by MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu.
The National Freedom Party’s Happy Khuzwayowho is one of the first to speak on the issue, she said her party was concerned that the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission, which is one of the entities funded by the department, was not given enough money to help emerging talent in the film industry.
She also added that the party is concerned that the commission’s major funding have connection to the ruling African National Congress (ANC).
“We are [also] worried that this government has provided funding opportunities for people who are already established have political connections to the ANC,”
“A prime example is the financial support given to Uzalo, which is produced by President Zuma’s daughter, Gugu Zuma. The ANC-led eThekwini municipality gave this drama five million rands.”
Defending the funding by eThekwini Metro Municipality, ANC legislature said the drama had helped in raising Durban’s profile.
ANC’s Sibonisa Duma went on to add that Gugu Zuma benefited from a project that aimed to correct past imbalances and being the President’s daughter did not would not deprive her the privilege of correcting those past imbalances.
“You might think that is not correct for Gugu Zuma to get support because of her surname, but you need to look deeper into the matter. She is born in Nkandla, she is part of rural community and she is an individual on her own (sic),”
MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu however, accused Khuzwayo of failing to look at the spin-offs from the supporting of the drama, which to him, included raising the profile of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal for filming purposes.
The popular television series Uzalo which is filmed in KwaMashu talks of Mdletshe and Xulu families in KwaMashu who are connected by the fact that their eldest sons were switched at birth towards the end of apartheid when Nelson Mandela was released.
The Mdletshe family presides over KwaMashu Kingdon Church, while the Mdletshe’s head up a car theft syndicate.When it first aired in February 2015, its premier episode attracted some five million viewers. The two other executive producers are Duma ka Ndlovu and Pepsi Pokane.