Cape Town – A group of musicians and supporters held up banners and marched in the streets of Cape Town on Tuesday to protest against proposed amendments to South African copyright law.
They marched to the Cape Town station, where President Cyril Ramaphosa was expected to unveil and observe the testing of the new trains. Marching under the banner of Trade Union of Musicians of SA (Tumsa), the musicians demanded Ramaphosa address them.
“As musicians, composers and artists of this country, we want to indicate to the president that we are totally against the bill in its current form,” co-founder of Tumsa and music producer Gabi le Roux said.
The Copyright Amendment Bill that seeks to update South Africa’s four-decade-old Copyright Act of 1978 has been met with serious objections by the creative industry in the country.
Speaking at the march, veteran musician Vicky Sampson said: “Our biggest call at the moment as Tumsa is to call out other musicians to unite and join the union. Musicians and artists need to be recognised and acknowledged as workers.”
She added, “We need major change and regulation to take place in the industry as a whole.”
FreshlyGround lead singer Zolani Mahola weighed in: “We do not want to die poor. Musicians and composers die penniless despite their contribution in the industry and the country.”
“Our issue with the bill is that it does not make provision for us composers and musicians to get what is due to us when our work is used in movies and other productions.”
“We face a lot of challenges as musicians. We have been in and out of portfolio committees, and our pleas have seemingly fallen on deaf ears. We do not have local support, and being a musician in South Africa is not seen as actual work,” Mahola said.
Deputy Finance Minister Mondli Gungubele received the memorandum.