Mbabane: There is light at the end of the tunnel with regards to the implementation of the Copyright Act of 2018 as the government has now made it a priority.
This was revealed by the Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo on Wednesday during a meeting with the arts industry representatives.
The meeting was led by the Minister of Commerce Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo and the Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Youth Affairs Harries Bulunga. The meeting served as an opportunity for Government to provide updates to the arts industry on concrete steps that have been taken to operationalize the Copyright Act.
During the meeting, the minister of commerce industry and trade Maqoba Khumalo said they were pleased to have met these important stakeholders and assured the arts industry representatives that the government has put the matter on the priority list to ensure that the law can be operationalized as soon as possible.
“We have prioritized this matter and we are already moving to ensure that the law can be operationalized as soon as possible.” “Even though there have been challenges in the past, this issue is now a high priority item for Cabinet itself and we hope that we will be able to set up the necessary structures very soon to allow for the Act to become operational.”
Operationalizing the Copyright Act has been dragging since 2018 when it was passed into law. The law will enable artists to be paid royalties whenever their craft is played either on radio or television. Operationalizing the law is set also to deal with the economic situation of artists since the arts industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amongst the updates provided, the Minister announced that Government has been able to fill up a critical post that will help in driving the operationalization of the Act within the Commerce Ministry.
The Ministries also announced that draft regulations to the Act have been completed and will be shared with the relevant stakeholders before the end of June 2021.
The minister of Sports, Culture, and Youth Affairs Harries Madze Bulunga noted that artists in the country needed to begin to reap the full economic benefits of their work. He said as a ministry they were happy with the progress that has been made so far and the collaborative efforts from the Ministries of Commerce and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Representing artists in the meeting were, among others, SWAMA President Lutfo Dlamini and Vice President Lindelwa Mafa, ACAESWA President Phetsile Masilela, Eswatini National Choral Music Association (ENCMA) President Sihle Gumbi, composer Mathokoza Sibiya and singer Bholoja Ngubane.