Broadcasting Services

South Africa: SABC Financial Woes Affect South Africa’s Music Industry

According to the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), the SABC stopped making payments on music royalties for songs used on its radio stations and television last year.

South African news publication, City Press has reported that SAMRO — in its most recent annual report — revealed that the public broadcaster owed the music rights organisation $4mil million in royalties at the end of June in 2018.

In its report SAMRO said that continuous efforts were still being made to engage with the management of the SABC in order to resolve the slow and delayed payment of the growing outstanding balance; to prevent future distributions from being negatively affected.

According to the organisation’s website, SAMRO’s primary role is to manage performing rights on behalf of its members.
SAMRO is responsible for collecting license payments from companies such as television, radio broadcasters, retailers and promoters who use music. These payments are then distributed as royalties.
SAMRO pays out approximately $21mil in royalties to composers and publishers every year, but with the SABC now struggling to pay up, this amount will be affected.

2018 was a financially challenging year for the SABC, and South Africa’s national broadcaster continues to drown in money troubles as it carries on operating under technical insolvency.

In March 2018, the SABC revealed that it had to pay $1.5mil to defend its former CEO Hlaudi Motsoeneng during his turbulent reign. Motsoeneng was involved in over 15 different legal scuffles since the 2013/14 financial year and was eventually removed from his position in 2017.

In August, Yolande van Biljon, SABC’s Chief Financial Officer announced that the SABC’s debt was close to $51mil and that it owed its creditors over $50mil, with the accumulated interest of approximately $34mil expected.

In October, the broadcaster revealed that it had served a notice of retrenchment to retrench 1200 freelancers and 981 permanent employees because the SABC could no longer afford to pay all those salaries.

In the retrenchment notice, the broadcaster stated that it had already implemented numerous cost-cutting measures even those adjustments were not enough to prevent complete organisational wide reductions and restructuring.

Credit: This article originated from

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