DA demands public apology for author’s stolen work

Issued by Ofentse Mokae, MPL – DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson on Sport, Arts & Culture
16 Sep 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbites in English & Afrikaans by Ofentse Mokae, MPL.

The DA strongly condemns the theft of intellectual property committed by the Northern Cape Department of Sport, Arts and Culture after it photocopied and distributed the most recent novel by local author and lecturer at Sol Plaatje University, Sabata-Mpho Mokae, ‘Moletlo Wa Manong’.

We are further demanding a public apology to Sabata-Mpho Mokae by the department.

Reports that the book was copied by departmental officials, for distribution to book club members representing the province at the Fundza Mzanzi Championships, are inexcusable.

The incident involved a number of stakeholders and extends beyond a mere act of ignorance. We cannot condone the contravention of copyright laws from the very department that is meant to promote and protect the work of writers and artists.

What is further concerning are reports by the book club that this is in fact the second incident whereby the department handed them photocopied versions of a book by a local author.

The department has caused financial losses for Sabata-Mpho Mokae, and at least one other author, as a result of the unlawful copying and distribution of their books.

The DA is probing the matter and has submitted parliamentary questions to determine who is responsible for replicating the books, what books have been photocopied, how many copies were made, to whom exactly they were distributed and when they were dished out, as well as what disciplinary action will be taken against those responsible.

Someone must be held accountable for the serious offences in terms of the Copyright Act. Sabata-Mpho Mokae and any other affected author must also be reimbursed for damages sustained, after they have received a proper apology.

The DA will monitor the department’s engagements with Sabata-Mpho Mokae and their response to this matter, and we will further intervene if necessary, to ensure that all photocopied copies are destroyed and the matter is amicably resolved.