Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture – Ms Makhotso Sotyu
Deputy Minister of Communications – Ms Tandi Mahambehlala
President of CIFSA – Mr Tony Kgoroge
Representatives of government departments and agencies
Musicians of South Africa
Members of the media
This Task Team of Deputy Ministers is truly humbled that you heeded the call to come out here today.
Being aware of the massive opportunity cost of your presence here, we hope to make this a worthwhile engagement that will produce positive results that makes life better for all musicians.
In 2009 stalwarts of the creative industry, including many prominent musicians in this country met with the President of the Republic at the Sandton Convention Centre to highlight their concerns, problems and challenges that the creative industry faces.
Creative artists visit our homes and our lives every day. Your words and music inspire us as we go to work or school. Your creative images and sounds stimulate and encourage us as we toil through the day. Your narratives on television stir our imaginations as we unwind from a hard day’s work. Indeed, the works of our countries creative artists are with us from the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed.
They are so ingrained in our lives, that we sometimes don’t take notice or appreciate the role that they play in our lives and society.
It was you, the artists, who asked President Zuma to support your industry by addressing these specific concerns.
1. Too many artists are dying as paupers and there is a need income safety nets for artists.
2. Artists need greater protection of their intellectual property in terms of copyrights.
3. Given the irregular nature of work in the creative industries, artists need access to some kind of unemployment insurance.
4. A further concern was raised about the lack of inclusivity in the distribution spectrum.
These and other issues were raised by the creative industry for government’s attention.
The President was concerned about the plight of our creative artists and the issues that they raised. The President recognised that addressing the issues raised would require both short and long term interventions including changes to policy and legislation. With the integrated nature of the issues raised, the President established a task team of Deputy Ministers to look at all matters affecting the creative industries.
I was appointed to chair this task team in June 2015. The Deputy Ministers that serve on this task team are:
Arts and Culture
Trade and Industry
Higher Education and Training
The Deputy Minister of Labour and Deputy Minister of Economic Development attend to certain matters on special invitation from the chair.
We are mindful that the creative industries sector is a broad one. Today we are meeting with a sub-sector of the creative industries – we are meeting with musicians and stakeholders within the music industry.
We will hold similar indabas with other sub-sectors within the creative industries in other parts of the country. This indaba is purposed to give you feedback on what we have done as a Task Team as well as hear your specific issues that we can act upon.
One of the most important tasks given to the task team is to seek solutions to the issues of social security and income smoothing for creative industries practitioners. A dedicated technical subcommittee of officials from Treasury, Social Development, Labour and Arts and Culture has worked on an intervention model that will lead to a long lasting solution that addresses the social security question within the creative arts sectors.
The Department of Labour is here to present that model to you today. I urge you to pay special attention when we present the social security intervention model for the very first time later. Your input on this will be most valuable.
The Copyright Amendment bill and the Performers’ Protection bill are before Parliament. Public hearings on the Copyright Amendment bill started at the beginning of this month. These will continue into the coming week. The DTI will be responding to the portfolio committee on Friday the 18th of August.
We have been in constant consultation with industry bodies and collecting societies to look at some longstanding matters that continue to hold the South African music industry at ransom. In various interactions with the sector in the past, government identified a number of significant issues that need attention and intervention. Some of these interventions are achievable in the short term while some require a long term approach.
What we had not done until today, is to come directly to you, the performing artist, so you can engage with us freely without fear of misrepresentation of your issues. However, I am also mindful that there is a need for this sector to speak with one voice.
The unity of the industry is important to amplify your advocacy and lobbying voice. We will listen to as many voices as possible but we also plead with you to organise and find unity among yourselves. Together you are stronger.
This Indaba will give musicians a platform to speak directly to government on many issues that affect their day to day business within the sector. The issues you raise here today will be recorded and directed back to the task team for fast tracked resolution.
One of the greatest gains we had facilitated and celebrated was the introduction of the 90% local music policy introduced by the public broadcaster in 2016. The engagements with the public broadcaster on local content were guided by recommendations in the Farlam Copyright Review Commission. The CRC recommended an 80/20 ratio on public platforms and 60/40 for private broadcasters. We anticipate that the uncertainty that now exists with regards to this will be a major talking point at this Indaba.
This has received a lot of attention in our most recent meetings and the Task Team is concerned that the great gains that local music stood to gain may be getting lost in a typical case of “throwing out the baby with the bath water” at the SABC. We stand firmly behind South African musicians on this matter and would appeal for the policy not to be abandoned without consultation with those affected the most.
We are going to dedicate time to issues of Payola and Plugola and bring musicians up to speed on action being taken against those found implicated in this practice that is as harmful to music industry as piracy.
Payola is a heavily entrenched cancer which steals fair airplay from hardworking and deserving artists to favour crooked and corrupt industry players.
Piracy is a scourge that we are fighting vigorously. However, in addition to the work that is being done by the police, there needs to be a concerted public education campaign to discourage participation in piracy. We will be coming back to you for your participation in this campaign with us along with all the major broadcasters. Together we can fight this scourge.
Government departments and agencies are here today exhibiting their services to assist musicians with information on funding opportunities and other support programmes. Please do pay their exhibition stands a visit.
This Indaba is about the artists. We are giving you time to speak to us. It is a platform for us to listen so we can find ways to assist, for your benefit as well as the country.
The work of our creative artists is important to the fabric of our nation. Your work raises important issues in our society.
Your perspectives help to bridge the social divides while bringing our communities closer. You have an important social cohesion role to play. Your contribution to the economy is growing. We now have the tools within the Department of Arts and Culture to quantify this contribution. And the evidence is telling us that your contribution in monetary and job creation terms are growing day by day.
I trust that you will appreciate the work that is being done by the Presidential Task Team on the Creative Industries. I trust that you will be honest and forthright with us on the issues facing the industry. Together we can address these for a stronger, more vibrant creative industry.
I thank you.