Broadcasting Services

South Africa’s SABC Faces Potential Music Boycott

The SABC’s financial woes have not only affected its ability to air local sports on its TV channels, but the public broadcaster has also short-changed many South African musicians.

Earlier this year, South Africa’s Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced that the SABC owed local artists over $16.5 million in music royalties.

Now that the SABC has been given a $138 million bailout by the government to prevent a complete broadcasting blackout, local musicians are insisting that the public broadcaster pay off this debt, where royalties are concerned.

Earlier this month, the South African musician David Scott (from The Kiffness) posted an open letter to the SABC on Facebook, demanding that the public broadcaster pay the debt it owes to local musicians.

After posting the open letter, Scott started a petition calling for the SABC to pay up all its royalty debt.

The petition urged advertisers, the public and other musicians to boycott all SABC radio stations until it has paid off its royalty debt. Many prominent musicians shared it on Facebook and on various other social media platforms.

In the petition, Scott declares that the SABC’s recent bailout means that it now no longer has an excuse not to pay its outstanding royalty debt.

Responding to the outcry, the SABC’s spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu said that the SABC confirms that it currently owes royalties to several collecting societies; however, Mthembu added that payment plans were now being put in place to deal with the outstanding monies.


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