Mzansi Magic and Ferguson Films have come under fire for casting woman basher Peter Mashigo in daily drama The Queen just 14 months after distancing themselves from the actor after a video of him assaulting a woman went viral.
A promo video teasing Mashigo’s new role on The Queen emerged at the weekend, sparking outrage from gender-based violence (GBV) activists.
Mashigo confessed to beating up his ex-lover during an altercation that was caught on a video on a street in Arcadia, Pretoria, last year.
Following the incident, Mzansi Magic cut ties with Mashigo who was acting on telenovela The Throne, produced by Shona and Connie Ferguson's production company Ferguson Films.
At the time, the channel, through head of department for publicity and public relations Philly Kubheka, said it "does not condone any form of abuse, especially women abuse”.
But yesterday when asked for reasons why they had changed their mind on the role of the controversial Mashigo, Multichoice manager of corporate communciations Benedict Maaga said while the casting of talent rests solely with the production houses concerned, Mashigo's matter is based on an incident that arose in the past and "we have been assured that the matter was resolved”.
The pay broadcaster said there should be no place or tolerance in society for anyone and any behaviour that hurts and marginalises women.
“Using our DStv platform and partnerships with organisations that are working everyday to protect and save women, we hope to add a powerful voice that says enough is enough," Maaga said.
Ferguson Films had not responded to Sowetan’s questions on the matter at the time of going to print.
Mashigo's agent Brian Mauku said the backlash was unfair, especially since he has starred in six productions, including Gomora on Mzansi Magic over the last year and there were no complaints.
Mauku said that Mashigo has never received a letter of termination from Ferguson Films and he filmed until his storyline concluded on The Throne.
“We have noted that there has been outrage from some personalities on social media in this regard, but why now? This is unfair and unfounded,” Mauku said.
“When he was on Gomora, he was celebrated and no one said anything. But the minute he was cast on a Ferguson Films production, there is a problem.
“There are people using his name to settle old scores and possibly get him fired. Yes, he made mistakes in the past, but he has been rehabilitated for the future.
"I mean that there was no case that was opened and he made amends.”
Mauku said that the woman in the video, Ndundu Sithole, had put the situation behind her and although they were no longer romantically involved “they were seeing eye to eye” [with Mashigo].
Sithole has rubbished the claim: “I don’t talk to him (Mashigo) nor get along with him, but I wish him well.
“I would really not want to say much on this, especially his appointment [on The Queen]. It has been a long road to recovery and healing and I am trying to put this all behind me, but healing is a journey and not a destination.
“This was a very traumatic time in my life, the humiliation and trauma associated with this.
“There will be always be triggers, but have chosen to avoid so many of them. My family has been through a lot, all were devastated and traumatised by this incident and we still working out issues through counselling.”
Lesley Ncube, spokesperson for #TotalShutdown movement, yesterday slammed the idea of alleged perpetrators coming forward in campaigns as rehabilitated as “performative”.
“Has our justice system said you have admitted this, therefore these are the consequences of your actions? We have seen a huge rise in celebrities wanting to jump onto anti-GBV campaigns as activists, for us as a movement, it’s performative.
“What are they getting out of saying they are rehabilitated perpetrators? Why are we giving a platform to known perpetrators, they should be in prison going for rehabilitation. How can an abuser self-diagnose and say the are healed? What steps were taken?”