SABC owes artists R240m – Phumzile van Damme

DA MP says Ramaphosa must approve new board immediately so that serious issues can be addressed

SABC owes artists R240 million, Ramaphosa must approve new board immediately

26 March 2019

A reply to a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary question has revealed that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) owes artists more than R248 million in royalties.

In the reply, the Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, indicates that the money is owed to artists represented by various organisations, to which the SABC owes millions.

Despite this debt, President Cyril Ramaphosa seems to have little urgency in filling the 8 vacancies on the entity’s board. Now, more than ever, we need a competent board that has quorum to address the serious issues present at the SABC.

These are hard-working men and women whom the President has a responsibility towards. These working artists have families to feed, school fees to pay and must keep a roof over their heads.

Names of the Organisation

Amount Outstanding

South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO)


South African  Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA)


Association of Independent Record Companies (AIRCO)


Recording Industry of South Africa (RISA)


Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO)


Furthermore, the SABC currently finds itself in such a dire financial situation, that they might not be able to pay salaries to its own employees.

Parliament recommended a list of names to serve on the board a week ago and Ramaphosa is yet to make any announcements. The DA has written to him to exclude Professor Sathasivan Cooper from the list and we reiterate this call.

Professor Cooper has no broadcasting experience and during his tenure as Vice Chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville (prior to the merge with UKZN), he was investigated for 11 governance issues. The investigator's report to the Education Minister portrayed Cooper as “manipulative” and prone to “surrounding himself with acolytes”.

Now is not the time to play party politics and stall the process of appointing the board. We need action, and we need it now.

The DA will continue to bear oversight on the SABC board appointments and ensure that the process is corruption-free and fair. The DA is the only party that can build One South Africa for All.

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications, 26 March 2019