Kwaito legend and newly minted EFF parliamentarian Eugene Mthethwa’s first point of order in his new job is artists’ struggles in relation to royalty payments.
After vocally fighting for his own royalties against Samro (South African Music Rights Organisation) for years by publicly speaking out and staging protests including chaining himself at Samro offices for days, Mthethwa will officially lay his heart’s interests at the highest office in the country as one of his first roles.
Sunday World understand that the former Trompies member is already sitting on a burning royalty payment issue which involves recording labels Gallo Music, Bula Music and RiSA (Recording Industry of South Africa).
This after Mthethwa was asked to intervene in getting a closer court date in a high court matter brought forward by RiSA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi against Bula record label and the Information Regulator to set aside the regulator’s findings which compel Risa Audio Visual (RAV) to release information pertaining to royalties paid to Gallo Music by RiSA on behalf of Bula Music.
In an e-mail which was sent to Mthethwa by Clive Hardwick, the music label boss pleads for intervention on the matter, which has been dragging since 2022.
Hardwick said: “Dear honourable Mthethwa … The Information Regulator has issued an enforcement notice, but RAV on behalf of Gallo have launched an application in the Pretoria High Court to have it set aside.
“The enforcement notice’s validity is being defended by the regulator and myself at great financial cost. This process could take months, perhaps years to get to court.
“The three multinational record companies and Gallo, who all of whom declined to participate in the Information Regulator’s hearing, has now instructed adv Sibisi to have the enforcement notice overturned because they were not given an opportunity to put forward their side of the story.”
Hardwick also laid his frustrations to Mthethwa regarding two defamation of character matters which were also brought by RiSA and Gallo against him.
“In the meantime, RiSA and Gallo are proceeding with defamation matters against me for allegations I made regarding the very same information that they both concealed.
“The fact that the concealment is now common cause has not deterred them. RiSA has got a court date for this matter only in February 2025. Another blatant abuse of court processes.”
Hardwick pleaded for help to get a closer date for the court matters, so that the matter regarding royalties could be addressed in court.
“This is not merely a copyright dispute involving Gallo and Bula. It involves the millions of rands owed to thousands of musicians.
“I submit that it is unconscionable that foreign-owned companies being members of IFPI can support and condone such practices,” he said.
Mthethwa wrote back to Hardwick offering his help.
“Dear Clive, kindly advise if the Information Regulator has not provided its decision on this matter and if it has, why is this matter still a matter of pending litigations?
“Is there a way I can assist to fast-track this matter in favour of justice, now that I have direct access to all arms of governance and justice?”
Mthethwa was sworn in as an EFF member of parliament in June. He became the second musician to occupy a seat in parliament after legendary singer Ringo Madlingozi was sworn in by the party in 2019.