The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has strongly condemned the protest action by Eugene Mthethwa, a SAMRO member, who chained himself to a pole at SAMRO’s premises.
According to a video circulated on social media platform – Twitter, Mthethwa was staging a protest regarding monies allegedly owed to him by SAMRO.
SAMRO CEO Mark Rosin confirmed that Mthethwa has raised a complaint regarding the calculation of his royalties and SAMRO has tried on many occasions, through many of its managers and board members to amicably address his concerns.
Rosin described the protest action as regrettable. “It is impossible to deal with the issues Mthethwa has raised over the years, where there is no willingness by Mr. Mthethwa to resolve the matter other than his way. We have processes that apply to all members and in our ongoing quest for transparency, we will not circumvent these processes for an individual.”
“The difficulty Mr. Mthethwa has is that he fraudulently gained access to SAMRO funds, which even led to SAMRO expelling him as a member. In good faith, the present board reinstated his membership. However, we now sit with an outstanding amount due to us by Mr. Mthethwa which his royalty earnings get off-set against the balance. It is not a desirable situation for either party but we have had to deal with the matter through the courts” continued Rosin.
“Quite frankly, we are both disappointed and alarmed to see a member behaving in this manner especially where his conduct is not supported by facts” said Rosin.
Contrary to Mthethwa’s claims, SAMRO pays royalties on a regular basis and over the last two days has paid over R60 million to local composers and publishers, a payment, widely welcomed.
“SAMRO exists for the primary purpose of ensuring that members’ rights are observed, advocating for an enabling environment in which music creators can derive the best possible value for their creations and we do so in a transparent manner and are open to audit and verification.,” he said.
Rosin said SAMRO will always try to engage constructively with its members to ensure that they understand the process by which royalties are collected and distributed.
“We hope that Mr. Mthethwa chooses rather to engage and to stop his protest”. Rosin concluded.