President must take urgent steps to ensure Nkosi Sikelela belongs to all South Africans
Mmusi Maimane, DA National Spokesperson
19 June 2012
The Democratic Alliance (DA) notes with great concern reports that foreign singers and international publishing companies are milking Nkosi Sikelel’iAfrica for all it’s worth without any material benefit to the people of South Africa.
Section 5 of the Copyright Act of 1978 provides that where a work is made under the direction or control of the state, as was the case with the National Anthem, the state is the owner of the copyright.
I will be writing to the President requesting that urgent steps be taken to protect our national anthem from exploitation. I will also appeal to government to negotiate means through which the people of South Africa can benefit from recordings and performances of the anthem.
The City Press reported that the global music industry is making an estimated R100 million a year off our anthem while government is not collecting a cent.
The failure by government to adequately secure the various performance and mechanical rights of one of our nation’s most treasured possessions has opened a loophole that makes it easy for individuals to exploit, knowingly or unwittingly, for their own gain.
The national anthem does not belong to any individual, but is the property of the people of South Africa as a whole. It is a symbol of the diversity of our country and the challenges we had to overcome to secure our freedom in 1994.
The DA will also pursue this matter in Parliament by submitting questions to the Ministers of Trade and Industry and Arts and Culture.
It is imperative that government move swiftly to ensure that our national anthem is the rightful property of all South Africans and that the people of this country are the first to profit from our national symbols.