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Andile Qongqo, Afro-jazz pianist.
Andile Qongqo, Afro-jazz pianist.

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) has announced major financial relief for its members. This has come in the form of the successful payment of more than R120 million in royalties in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Members benefit through royalties, grants and access to pension. This is part of the organisation’s concerted efforts to support its members beyond just the collection and distribution of royalties, to help them through these difficult times.

Nicholas Maweni, chairman of Samro, said payments amounting to R120 million in royalties have been made since the beginning of this year.

He said the music body has completed the process of enabling qualifying members to cash out their retirement annuities from the Samro Retirement Annuity Fund (SRAF).

“This is if the investment amount is at a maximum value of R7 000 or below,” said Maweni.

“Initiatives such as the retirement annuity withdrawal and the recently announced Music Creation Support Grant demonstrate that Samro is continuously on the lookout for additional benefits and mechanisms that can be leveraged to help our members during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We remain committed to doing our utmost to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic does not thwart our initiatives and efforts to achieve our aims of supporting local musicians and strengthening the local industry as a whole,” he said.

Aside from this latest round of royalty distribution, the foundation announced a further once-off payment would be made to 100 qualifying music creators within certain categories, as part of the Music Creation Support Grant. Local Afro-jazz pianist Andile Qongqo is, for instance, among the affiliated artists set to benefit from the initiative.

“The ongoing achievement of higher royalty collection and distribution was the result of the efficiency measures Samro had put in place. It is one of Samro’s priorities to put more cash in the pockets of its members.”

Currently, the organisation has around 20 000 registered members in the country.

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