Mzansi artists blast Cyril Ramaphosa

THE creative industry has reacted to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech.

Last Thursday, 9 February, he delivered a State of the Nation Address (Sona), in which he congratulated Grammy Award-winning artists Nomcebo Zikode, Zakes Bantwini and Wouter Kellerman.

Ramaphosa made no mention of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, and artists have since expressed their disappointment.

Actor Jack Devnarain, who is also chairman of the South African Guild of Actors, said: “Once again, there was a complete lack of any kind of meaningful mention of the creative sector. This sector is a fantastic driver for job creation, given that South Africa is a major hub for film and TV production as well as the production of commercials. We note that the Copyright Amendment Bill and Performers’ Protection Amendment Bill are trying to transform the sector by taking old pieces of legislation and trying to modernise and make them fit and proper for the modern creative industry.”

He said they were going through the National Council of Provinces process.

“Public hearings are underway. It was disappointing that the president couldn’t mention this process, which he himself tried to stall. It felt like he was blocking the transformation necessary to modernise the sector. We are disappointed by the president’s failure to acknowledge the glaring issues that demand transformation,” he said.

Kwaito star and activist Eugene Mthethwa said Ramaphosa missed a chance to address artists.

“It is not even surprising because in his three Sona speeches, he never mentioned arts. All he does is celebrate our successes but nothing to uplift the industry. Our sector is mainly managed by men and faced with serious problems but our president doesn’t see anything wrong. This means we are non-existent to him. For this reason, I don’t understand why we still have a department,” he said.

Producer and acting president of Trade union for Musicians of South Africa Gabi le Roux said: “Our president’s speech was honest and sincere. It was delivered with humility yet making no bones about government taking appropriate responsibility for the scenario we find ourselves in, but then providing great leadership to intervene in areas such as electricity. It is unfortunate though that our sector still does not receive the attention our R74 billion contribution in 2018 to the GDP warrants,” he said.


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