CityPress - - News -

As ac­cu­sa­tions flew be­tween the SA Mu­sic Rights Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Samro) and gospel star Hlengiwe Mh­laba’s copy­right lawyer, Graeme Gil­fil­lian, this week, Arts and Cul­ture Min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa quickly jumped into the fray.

“The min­is­ter wishes to ad­vise that he has given a di­rec­tive to the le­gal unit of the depart­ment of arts and cul­ture to im­me­di­ately ini­ti­ate a process which will cul­mi­nate in the ap­point­ment of a com­mis­sion that will be headed by a re­tired judge,” read a state­ment by Mthethwa.

He de­cried the re­al­ity of SA artists dy­ing pau­pers and said he hoped the com­mis­sion would bring about last­ing change.

The claims pub­lished in City Press last week in­volved mostly gospel, mbaqanga and maskandi artists.

The mu­si­cians made new ver­sions of tra­di­tional songs and were al­legedly hav­ing 83.3% of their roy­al­ties un­law­fully de­ducted since 1963. This week Mh­laba – who says 24 of her 90 songs had been af­fected by the al­leged scam – told City Press the re­port caused an up­roar.

“It’s all ev­ery­one wants to talk about. Other mu­si­cians are very happy. Pas­tors have been call­ing. There is sup­port from all over,” said the mul­ti­plat­inum-sell­ing gospel star.

Zi­masa Ve­laphi, spokesper­son for the depart­ment of arts and cul­ture, said: “The depart­ment has this week sought le­gal ad­vice on how the process of ap­point­ing the com­mis­sion of in­quiry should be taken for­ward and who should ap­point the com­mis­sion.”

“What’s right is right,” said Mh­laba.

“We are not here to fight Samro. We want change and hope to be part of the so­lu­tion.”

Gospel mu­si­cian Hlengiwe Mh­laba

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