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The industry reacts to Samas fiasco

Zakes Bantwini. Picture: File

Zakes Bantwini. Picture: File

Published Oct 27, 2023

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Tempers flared on social media this week after news broke of the sudden cancellation of the much-anticipated South African Music Awards (Samas) ceremony, which was set to take place in Durban.

On Wednesday, October 25, in an urgent press conference in Durban, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), Siboniso Duma, pulled the plug on their involvement in the Samas.

The multimillion-rand event, which was set to take place in November, came under fire after allegations arose that KZN EDTEA planned to splurge R28 million on the Samas.

Political party ActionSA blew the lid on the expenditure in a letter to ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.

At the conference, Duma advised the department to stop the hosting of the Samas this year.

He said: “Senior management has been mandated to engage with the Recording Industry of South Africa and we will also report to the KZN executive council as the hosting of the awards was a collective decision.

“We reiterate the point that our hearts are with artists whose lives were destroyed by the outbreak of Covid-19. The Samas was their hope and the source of income ahead of the festive season.”

Meanwhile, the industry took to X (formerly Twitter) to weigh in on the #ProtectTheSamas trend.

The SA Music Awards wrote: “For almost 3 decades, the Samas have given the stage to various artists and have also honoured legends who have paved the way in the music industry.

“South African music continues to contribute to the GDP of the economy and is recognised across borders. #ProtectTheSamas #SAMA29.”

Zakes Bantwini wrote: “Cancelling the SAMAs is a BIG mistake and a saddest day for the art 💔 #SAMA29.”

Garth Breytenbach wrote: “SAMAs budget up from 8 million tax money to 20 million, cause the music will make it all right! Ayeyeyeye! @MbalulaFikile seems to think this ‘investment’ is a good one cause local music and whatnot!

“Some may say a 20 bar party and politicians in tacky garb is excessive. #SAMA29”

Emarantia_N wrote: “Cancelling the SAMA’s? Absolutely not. Or do I need to remind everyone of how amazing last year’s event was 😭😭😭The iconic fashion looks , the talent? #ProtectTheSAMAs #SAMA29”

Lekgethoshaii wrote: “We need to be aware of how SAMAs have impacted the music industry in SA, most people are still relevant today.. by the platform built by The SAMAs, canceling #SAMA29 was really not a smart move #ProtectTheSAMAs.”