While there are no laws barring producers from scripting reality TV shows, viewers have an expectation of authenticity when it comes to reality TV, which explains the recent outcry about the "realness" of some of the programmes currently showing.
Entertainment commentator Phil Mphela said there's no doubt that South Africans are all for shows that reflect and tell our stories as we live them on a daily basis, and that there is a place for them in the country.
"Shows like 'Uthando Nes'thembu', 'Khumbulekhaya' and 'Utatakho' are proof. Those shows have lifted the lid on authentic unfiltered black experiences. Many of the stories on those shows are a common reality in black society. We live these stories," Mphela said.
The recent wave of reality shows, most of which show on Mzansi Magic, has inspired excitement among local viewers and also highlighted people's appetite for local stories that reflect their lives daily.
However, increasingly reality shows are coming under fire from viewers, who call them out for appearing to too scripted or acted.
The brainchild of Parental Advisory Productions aims to help singletons connect with their crushes. The pursuer is taken on a date, where they get to ask the pursued the question: do you love me?
In recent weeks, viewers complained that the show seemed to be too scripted – an allegation its producers strongly denied.
It was the February 14 episode that left a bad taste in the mouths of many viewers.
Out looking for love was 26-year-old Kagiso Mnguni, who enlisted the help of the show to tell his crush, Habiba, that he loved her.
People questioned if it was a coincidence that Habiba has been on more than three reality shows.
According Guinness World Records she is the only SunBabe that has been featured on most reality shows in South Africa 🇿🇦 She holds this title until today, undisputed as no one has done this before. Ladies & Gentlemen I introduce to you Habiba Makgotho. #UyangthandaNa pic.twitter.com/lKXWJB4jW3— TEBOGO RAMASELELE (@TEBZA_R) February 14, 2018
On this show, TV personality Dineo Ranaka helps various people come clean to their loved ones about their double lives.
On the latest episode, viewers met Meshack, who wanted to confess to his two girlfriends that he'd been cheating on them, but intends to marry them both.
But not all was as it seems:
I know Taaibos personally, he's Bella Diosa modelling agent and a Dj. Those girls are from his angency. #yimlo— Tsido Nkaobehe (@IamTsido) February 27, 2018
Mphela said viewers have the power to send a message to producers.
"Casting blame is pointless in this situation. No crime has been committed and in the end, the viewers who continue to tune in are complicit in the lie. [If] you want producers to stop faking the stories, stop watching. Trust me, they will toe the line," he said.
Here are some of the reactions from social media users:
So we paying for staged "reality shows"? Ai fok maan pic.twitter.com/JCx8Nytago— Motshidisi (@tshiddie_M) February 28, 2018
We need to do something about these staged reality shows that DSTV is giving us... Besijwayela kabi #yimlo— Anthony The Great (@simphiwe_antony) February 27, 2018
According to Mphela, it is highly unlikely that producers can be duped.
"There are background checks and interviews that happen (or must happen) before shooting. Participants are vetted. Unless the productions do not do due diligence, which is a different can of worms altogether. We would now have to talk about incompetence, because to accept that producers don't know is to accept they are incompetent," he said.