The initial publication said the selected nominees who made it through the selection stage in Ghana were rejected because of the Ebola scare in the West African sub-region.
Hence, fresh auditions were to be held to select new candidates from Ghanaians resident in South Africa..
But in a press statement issued last Sunday, Endemol explained that the nominees who applied for visas to travel to South Africa for the final stage of auditioning could not make the trip due to delays in the processes that were required.
“The South African High Commission in Ghana was following the necessary processes but unfortunately, there were delays in producing additional documentations such as bank statements, which meant that Endemol had to take the necessary measures to ensure Ghana is represented in BBA 9 and does not miss out of the show.
“The production company had no option but to find alternative Ghanaian candidates to audition in South Africa, as they could not hold up the processes that lead up to the show,” the statement said.
In an interview with the Marketing/Communications Manager, DStv & GOtv Ghana, Miss Anne Sackey, she confirmed the explanation given by the organisers in the statement.
She however explained that contrary to previous editions where her team had been instrumental in securing South African visas for the Ghanaian candidates, this year’s candidates lost out for the final stage of the auditions probably because of a new arrangement by the South African Home Affairs Department.
This new arrangement she said, required all applicants to submit their applications personally. It took a minimum of 10 working days for applications to be processed but due to factors such as the inability of some of the candidates to provide bank statements and proof of holding bank accounts, the processes were delayed.
In addition, Miss Sackey explained, other reasons like holidays affected the number of working days within the period thus contributing to the delay.
When she was asked on why Multichoice representatives in Ghana couldn’t “intervene” to ensure that the candidates secured their visas, she said they worked out every possible means to get the visas but failed because of necessary documentations that were required by the Embassy.
She said that the best decision that the organisers could take was to hold new auditions for Ghanaian residents in South Africa to save Ghana from being “eliminated” for this year’s show since time wasn’t on their side and the “grace period” given them had elapsed.
The Ebola epidemic is currently spreading across West African countries and official health reports indicate that it has killed over 1,000 people since March this year when the outbreak started.
The disease has formed the basis for drastic steps by various organisations and countries and was said to be the main reason a new auditions was held in South Africa for representatives of West African countries including Ghana.
But Miss Sackey denied earlier reports in the media that all the candidates selected from West Africa had been dropped. “Only Ghana faced this problem. All the other candidates from West Africa made it for the final auditions in South Africa.
“There is even a representative from Sierra Leone so the Ebola scare couldn’t be a reason for the decision taken but rather administrative challenges,” she explained.
Produced by Endemol South Africa, Big Brother Africa started in 2003. This year’s edition, which is the ninth will be launched on Sunday, September 7, to start another “adventure” in the BBA house.
Past representatives from Ghana comprise Sammy B, Mimi, Ras Wayo Confidence Haugen, Selly, Elikem Kumordzi, Keitta Osei, DKB and Eazzy.