- We need competent people- artists
- Bulk of royalties go outside the country – COSBOTS
After electing a new COSBOTS board at their Annual General Meeting in 2017, industry key players are once again up in arms and mobilising to topple the current leadership citing incompetence. After assuming office, the board promised that through a collective effort they would ensure that the society delivers optimally on its mandate and offer its members decent value for their work, win back their trust and champion members’ interests, but to date none of the promises have been met and the industry is still in shambles.
“COSBOTS must be run by competent and decisive people who understand the music industry. We just have a lack of delivery by this board. All the board members laid down what they were going to do and we were excited. Why couldn’t they consolidate their roadmaps and start working? When will they start working? The biggest problem was voting for people who were not tried and tested for competency before assuming the roles and are now struggling to make decisions and produce results that will benefit the struggling music industry,” artists and key industry players opined.
In an interview COSBOTS spokesperson Seeletso Lekgaba said members had every right to choose their preferred representatives on the board and are entitled to draw their own conclusions. Removal of directors is provided for in the Companies Act, under section 151 (2), which reads in part that a director may be removed from office by special resolution passed at a meeting called for the purpose of the removal of the director. However, Lekgaba pointed out that as management they felt obliged to respectfully draw to the attention of aggrieved members that it was important to be objective in assessing the overall performance of the board.
“Some of the matrices and measures that need to be considered in determining the competencies of the board include existence of procedural rules for boards, member skills, board size and existence of subcommittees of the board, a culture of open dissent, a defined process of performance evaluation, independence of board members and the importance of the human element,” she said.
When asked about some of the board’s achievements since they assumed office, Lekgaba said one of their biggest achievements was the introduction of robust internal controls, geared at mitigating operational and financial risks and improving the growth potential of the company and the commensurate returns to members.
However, Lekgaba refuted claims that the society was using more money to run the organisation instead of paying artists’ royalties. She says the problem that has resulted in distribution of muted royalties is attributed to the lack of compliance by users. “The fact that COSBOTS has often times had to resort to taking users to court to compel them to pay royalties, comes at great cost and major inconvenience to the company. This has on many occasions affected the company’s cash flow and its ability to pay royalties,” she adds.
She further highlighted that a large portion of royalties collected is attributed to foreign artists because the majority of music played by broadcasters, business premises of retailers, restaurants, hotels, hair salons, transport providers belongs to foreign artist. According to the distribution principles, COSBOTS practices equal treatment where foreign authors, composers and publishers enjoy the same rights as nationals of member countries.
“COSBOTS is currently in the process of applying for membership of CISAC, which is the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composes, and once we are members then we shall be required to effect full distribution where royalties are collected and distribute among all entitled right owners as much in proportion to the actual use of their works as possible,” she revealed, adding that they continue to advocate for more local airplay to make sure local artists benefit more from royalties.