SA music industry feels betrayed by the withdrawal of Sama awards support

KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) MEC Siboniso Duma. Picture: Supplied

KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) MEC Siboniso Duma. Picture: Supplied

Published Oct 30, 2023


As the future of the South African Music Awards (Samas) hangs in the balance following the withdrawal of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), individuals and organisations within the South African music industry have reacted with shock to the recent events affecting the annual industry event.

EDTEA MEC Siboniso Duma announced last week that the department had decided to cancel the hosting of the awards next month after wide consultation with stakeholders.

Some political parties had questioned the wisdom of hosting such ceremonies at a time of severe budgetary constraints.

The department had put aside R28 million towards the awards, which many viewed as wasteful expenditure.

The South African Music Industry Council (SAMIC) said it was devastated at the news of the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government’s decision to pull the plug on hosting the music awards.

Vusi Leeuw, the president of SAMIC, said it was disappointed by the news and said he hoped the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture Zizi Kodwa would help resolve the matter as soon as he returned from the Rugby World Cup in France.

“The industry as a whole has been disappointed by the decision to cancel, or to pull the plug on the South African Music Awards.

“As we’re celebrating our rugby team, the Bokke, we will allow that our minister, who has been missing in action on this matter, comes back in the country, together with the president, and we are pushing to get an urgent meeting with them so that we’re making sure that this matter is addressed and treated with the utmost respect and urgency that it deserves. The implications are huge,” Leeuw said.

Former musician and SAMIC spokesperson and music industry activist Tebogo Sithathu told “The Star” last week that the sector was not taken seriously by government.

“It is sad what is currently happening. We are really not happy and we have to try and see how we can resolve the situation and this will negatively affect the quality of the awards, as we will have to find an alternative province to host the awards at such short notice,” Sithathu said.

Duma said it was unfortunate that the departments had to act in this manner as the return on investment would have yielded positive results for the province.

Duma said that his department had tried to be supportive of the creative arts industry.

“The return of investment was going to be at the value of around R450 million and it was going to be depending on another score because you will find that each time there is an event taking place in the province, a lot of investment might come after it because if you are going to host the Samas for the next three years, there are strategic people that are going to come. Samas are like Grammys in South Africa,” he said.

The Star