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Pay your dues, it's the right thing to do, The Kiffness tells the SABC

In a Facebook post, The Kiffness' David Scott said that he paid his TV licence, even though he didn't watch the SABC, and was now calling on the broadcaster to return the favour by paying royalty licenses.

David Scott of The Kiffness. Picture: @TheKiffness/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Music group The Kiffness has called on the SABC not to spend the R2.1 billion cash injection from government in one go but instead to pay its debts which include R250 million in royalty licenses.

The call was made in an open letter posted on Facebook on Sunday, the day before government was set to transfer the R2.1 billion to the struggling national broadcaster. The cash injection is part of a larger R3.1 billion bailout from government announced last week, with the balance only being given once the SABC had met all the conditions that government had set.

In a Facebook post, The Kiffness' David Scott said that he paid his TV licence, even though he didn't watch the SABC, and was now calling on the broadcaster to return the favour by paying royalty licenses.

"You can’t use 'we’re broke' as an excuse, you literally have R2,1 billion now. Private stations do it. Restaurants do it. So should you. To quote you, 'It’s the right thing to do'. Look at it this way - R250 million is a mere 10% of your bailout budget, a tithe if you will. But to us musicians, it is our bread & butter."

The message was a follow up to one posted on the same platform in August, where Scott said that he would refuse to let the SABC play any of his group's music until they "start paying artists what’s owed to them".

In the post, Scott said that after becoming a member of the association that was in charge of paying royalties to artists, the South African Music Performance Rights Association (Sampra), he was surprised to find that Sampra owed him R60,000 for his music over a number of years and was shocked to find that the SABC had not paid Sampra.

"Unsurprisingly, it’s because the SABC have never paid Sampra. It’s illegal, but they either think they’re above the law or they simply just don’t care (or both)," Scott said in the Facebook post.

In his post on Sunday, Scott asked the public and advertisers if they were happy to support an organisation that was not paying artists like it was supposed to. He then urged the public and the advertisers to move away from the SABC until they changed their ways.

Scott also urged musicians to stop sending their music to the SABC until "they've paid their dues".

On Monday, Scott said that he had decided to start a petition to force the SABC to pay the R250 million it owed to musicians with immediate effect.

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