Zuma to rescue artists

2009-11-19 11:13

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has promised entertainers they will not suffer

for being talented and creative.

He committed his administration to helping local entertainers own

the work they produced.

Zuma was addressing the entertainers at a meeting in Sandton on

Tuesday.

Musicians present at the meeting said piracy remains the biggest

threat to the industry.

Artists urged government to set up a special police anti-piracy

unit.

But deputy justice minister Andries Nel told the meeting such a

unit already existed within the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations

(The Hawks).

Other concerns raised by the artists were that their intellectual

property be protected, that they be recognised as workers and taxed like them

too.

Zuma said in a meeting he had with entertainers before the April

general elections, an artist had complained about not being defined as workers

nor taxed as all other employees.

Legendary 1980s musician Steve Kekana said their intellectual

property was unilaterally taken away from them.

The president brought a high level delegation which included Arts

and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana and her deputy Paul Mashatile, Ministers in

the Presidency Trevor Manuel and musician Collins Chabane, Communications

Minister Siphiwe Nyanda, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Finance Minister Pravin

Gordhan, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande and five provincial arts and

culture MECs, to the meeting.

A no-nonsense Chabane chaired the session and was in a mean mood,

snubbing one of the country’s legendary artists Ray Phiri.

During a question-and-answer session Phiri, who said he was

representing Mpumalanga, had grabbed the roving microphone ready to pose a

question but Chabane ignored him and the Stimela frontman sheepishly retired to

his seat.

Another artist Tsepo Wa Mamatu took issue with Zuma’s silence after

ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema had threatened to kill for the president

in the run up to the elections.

But Wa Mamatu was booed by delegates.

Zuma later promised Wa Mamatu an audience, saying he did not have

time to engage him at the meeting.


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