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Eswatini artists struggling as Commerce Ministry delays implementation of Copyright Rights Act

Thursday, 25th February, 2021

MBABANE: Lutfo Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland Arts and Music Association (SWAMA) said the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act No.4 of 2018 is not yet operational and currently stuck at the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Trade.

Speaking during an interview with this Swaziland News, the SWAMA President who doubles as a Member of Parliament (MP) for  Ndzingeni Constituency said the Act whose fundamental objective among others was to see artists earning a living with their skills through royalties was long passed into law by Parliament but not yet operational.

“The law was passed by Parliament and also signed by the King, the Ministry of Commerce can best explain why it’s not operationalising it. Whoever is not operationalising this Act is very defiant to both Parliament and the King. The Commerce Ministry has to appreciate the possible lawsuits that can result from this, they need to consult the stakeholders and update them in this matter. This Act would see local artists benefiting from royalties when their music gets played on local radio and television stations”, he said.

Manqoba Khumalo the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade had not responded to a questionnaire from this publication at the time of compiling this report.

When reached for comments Illa Penboy, a local Hip Hop music artist said operationalising the Act could professionalize the music industry.

“The Copyright Act could allow artists to make money through their music, that’s if your music gets airplay or gets used by companies and clubs. This could also professionalize the music industry since big corporate companies could invest in it and be guaranteed of returns. Currently as local music artists we are not taken seriously since we are not making any income from our craft, we hope government will hasten and operationalise the Act”, said the Hip Hop Artist.

Eswatini artists struggling as Commerce Ministry delays implementation of Copyright Rights Act
SWAMA President MP Lutfo Dlamini