File photo: Independent Media
Johannesburg – The SABC has decided to delay paying the more than R75million it owes in royalties to musicians until later in the year.

Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said some of the money owed, dating back to April 2014, would be made available between October and December, or as and when funds become available.

Replying to a question in Parliament from the DA’s Phumzile van Damme, Dlodlo said the biggest amounts, totalling R52.7m, were owed to the South African Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra) and the Independent Music Performance Rights Association (Impra).

The amounts date back to March 2014.

Dlodlo said that both collecting societies have not agreed on the percentage split of the amount based on the play history reports SABC has generated.

“A decision was made that both societies must submit their repertoire lists to the SABC for final verification by the end of May.

She added that R14.5million was owed to the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (Samro) as at April 2017.

“This is based on March 2017 revenue."

“Payout of the Samro amount is scheduled for the third quarter of the year 2017/18,” she said of the planned payment between October and December later this year."

Payments would be made to Sampra and Impra once the verification was completed and agreed upon by all parties, she said.

The Association of Independent Record Companies (Airco) was owed R2.8m from October last year to April this year and the Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa) R2.4m from January to April this year.

The television division was awaiting invoices from Airco for the period starting in May this year, she said.

Regarding the Risa payments, Dlodlo said R19.8m was made available in December last year, and that the balance of R2.4m would be paid between October and December this year.

She also said the amount for the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of South Africa for February to April this year had been submitted, however, this payout was also dependent on the availability of funds.

The payment is also scheduled to be made later this year between October and December.

The debt on royalties to musicians takes place against the backdrop of the beleaguered public broadcaster being caught up in dire financial straits.

Last month, the broadcaster submitted a funding proposal to Dlodlo after a team from the Communications Department, National Treasury and SABC top management drew up a funding proposal.

Both Dlodlo and the SABC have yet to make public the amount the public broadcaster wants to be assisted with.

The proposal was prompted by reports that the SABC, which in April had R110m in reserves, recorded an operating loss of R509m, as at the end of March.

The public broadcaster recorded losses last year because of the 90/10 local content unilaterally introduced by former chief operating officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

The revenue losses in radio amounted to R29m and R183m on television.

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