Please pardon me for using strong language while expressing myself.
Stella Ndabeni Abraham.(Telecommunication)
Nathi Mthethwa(Sports;Arts and Culture)
Ebrahim Patel (Trade and Industry)
SUBJECT (Endorsement of criminals by your departments).
Greetings to you Ministers and I trust you are keeping safe in this challenging times that we are facing.
My name is Chicco Twala and I want to alert you as ministers and the custodians of our government; that some of the people who are meant to be administering our affairs in the music sector are nothing but criminals (thugs).
It is unfortunate that your respective departments are the one’s that endorse these criminals by giving them clearances to execute their criminal activities.
I am not blaming you or your officials since you might be unaware of these activities. But I want to alert you that these criminals approached your departments with the pretence of assisting musicians using the guise of black economic principles to steal from us and today I would like to plead with you as ministers to take action against these criminals.
Honourable ministers my focus at this juncture will be on IMPRA whose President Dodo Monamodi who also acts as the CEO, MD, GM, HR and financial director who has already issued a statement regarding the aforementioned funds without even consulting the beneficiaries (artists and musicians) on how the money will be distributed.
Last week, two music collecting agencies IMPRA and SAMPRA both received R10 million each in the form of an advance payment from the SABC for needle time royalties.
In addition over the past years, the SABC has paid more than R50 MILLION to IMPRA and AIRCO.
Now what these thugs do is they have registered more than 900 unknown musicians and most them are church groups that sing for fun on Sunday under the trees with little interest in making music professionally or for profit. Thus IMPRA is “paying” funds out to these unknown “registered artists" as opposed to paying the artists whose music was used based on the compiled playlist given to them by the SABC.
SABC provides a playlist of artists so that there is no confusion in regards to distribution of royalty payments. Which means that whenever an artists music is played on radio and television, they will receive their share of money based on the number of times their music has been played.
In short honourable Ministers the playlist IMPRA is using is not the one provided by the SABC.
Only a handful of known musicians like myself are on the list of IMPRA and I believe this was to win the support of Minister Nathi Mthethwa who was instrumental in the establishment of IMPRA.
To Minister Nathi Mthethwa, I personally know why you supported the move of establishing collecting societies like IMPRA.
You wanted to give black rights owners a voice where they can be economically advanced and compete with their multi national counterparts that are dominated by whites.
You also wanted a collecting society that will pay musicians their fare share of royalties from broadcasters and correct the wrongs committed against the likes of Mahlathini and Enoch Sontonga which I found to be a good initiative.
All the musicians who attended the launch supported the establishment of IMPRA and we were all happy that at last an institution had been set in place that will represent our interests.
Little did we know that we were supporting ruthless thieves masquerading as champions of black economic empowerment and they use your departments to achieve this.
These thugs are stealing the royalties belonging to Hugh Masekela, Brenda Fassie, Miriam Makeba, Black Mambazo and many more other artists and they are doing this in the name of your departments and today I am alerting you so that you can take action.
The mandate from SABC to collecting societies is very clear and it states that needle time royalties must be paid to the artists who are on its playlist. What these criminals have done, they have registered none existing musician to fool and to make you believe that they are assisting in dealing with the challenges that musicians are facing.
Ministers, we don’t need a rocket science to know who are the most played musicians on the SABC platform the playlist is available for all of you to see. Go to IMPRA’s website and have a look at the artists that are registered and you will be shocked as it does not correspond with the list of artists on the playlist given by the SABC.
The reason why Mr Dodo Monamodi issued a statement via WhatsApp informing musicians that our funds will be used for Covid relief charities was a way of deflecting from the fact that IMPRA is stealing and abusing our funds as the SABC has explicitly stated that the money paid was neither for charity nor a donation but for needle time royalties.
Honourable Ministers as we speak, I have received a threatening letter from these bastards msunu wabonyoko stating that if I continue to interfere with their business they will take action against me. In less formal instances they even boast that they are untouchable because they are friendly with and play golf with Ministers and government officials.
Regarding the threats made against my persons I have made it abundantly clear that threats and intimidation will not stop me from expressing my views and their corruption. I was never intimidated by AmaBunu with all their ammunition during the days of apartheid so their threats do not bother me.
During the dark days of apartheid I fought fearlessly against AMABUNU.
Myself and one of my colleagues Sipho Mabuse who is also ripped off by these thugs were amongst the people who rescued their lives and the lives of their families by giving refuge to MK cadres who were in and out of the country to execute MK operations.
If I was not scared of AMABUNU with all the ammunition they have who are they to threaten me when I speak out against their corruption in my sector.
In conclusion Ministers and with due respect, if these mother fuckers thugs are not dealt with, myself and many of my colleagues are prepared to take action against them.
I for one am prepared to either go to jail or be arrested than to see hooligans stealing our hard earned money and government not taking action. I am looking forward to your swift response.
I therefore request the Honorable Ministers, to help us to get what is rightfully ours and we want action now.