The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) has condemned action by Samro and Trompies member Eugene Mthethwa, who has chained himself to a pole at their premises.
This after a video of Eugene staging a protest regarding money he believes Samro owes him went viral.
In the video, Eugene and singer and EFF member Ringo Madlingozi can be seen sitting at a table inside the Samro building as they demand their grievances be met.
“As you can see Eugene has to make a stand, not for himself but for the rest of us as artists. We're here because Samro has been lying. They are not accounting to anyone so here we are.
“They know a lot of membership is black and people who are not privy to those rights, so they are capitalising on that,” Ringo said.
Chained to the table, Eugene said: “We are here. They will see how they remove me. They have to answer the questions I've raised. The white CEO Mark Rosin, somebody who was exploiting artists, is the same person they've brought to come and get his pension funds from Samro.
“When our own members don't have pension funds, don't have anything.”
Eugene said he had been a member of Samro for 30 years but his pension funds amounted to less than R300,000.
“ That's nonsense. What they have been doing is taking music that is popular and removing it from being documented. So, that's broad day robbery, heist and I'm told I should be prevented from getting into the building, a building that was built with our money!”
While the initial video was shared hours ago, a tweep shared another video that showed that Ringo and Eugene were still at the SAMRO building stating day two of their protest.
[TODAY]: Eugene Mthethwa has taken a firm revolutionary stance of making a sit-in at SAMRO in need of answers to questions that he has been asking without answers.
— Sixo Gcilishe (@SixoGcilishe) February 18, 2021
According to a statement provided by SAMRO CEO Mark Rosin confirmed that Eugene had raised a complaint regarding the calculation of his royalties.
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) February 18, 2021
“SAMRO has tried on many occasions, through many of its managers and board members to amicably address his concerns.”
While Mark described the protest action as regrettable, he said, “It is impossible to deal with the issues Mthethwa has raised over the years, where there is no willingness by Mr. Mthethwa to resolve the matter other than his way. We have processes that apply to all members and in our ongoing quest for transparency, we will not circumvent these processes for an individual.
“The difficulty Mr. Mthethwa has is that he fraudulently gained access to SAMRO funds, which even led to SAMRO expelling him as a member. In good faith, the present board reinstated his membership. However, we now sit with an outstanding amount due to us by Mr. Mthethwa which his royalty earnings get off-set against the balance. It is not a desirable situation for either party but we have had to deal with the matter through the courts.”
Mark added they were both “disappointed” and “alarmed” to see a member behaving in this manner especially where his conduct is not supported by facts.
“Contrary to Mthethwa’s claims, SAMRO pays royalties on a regular basis and over the last two days has paid over R60 million to local composers and publishers, a payment, widely welcomed."