TUMSA, the Trade Union for Musicians of South Africa, has issued a press statement about why musicians need urgent COVID-19 Protection. Here is their outlined proposal:


The occupation of the working musician is one of the most economically vulnerable and unprotected in our country, as in our current labour legislation there is zero employment protection for professionals in the arts and culture.

Musicians, actors and the like are all self-employed entrepreneurs who live from month-to-month with no absolute knowledge what they would have at the end of each month to care for themselves and families with regards to even the most basic of the household expenses like food, rent, transport and kids to school, etc .

Outlined Proposal for 3-months’ COVID-19 relief for full-time SA musicians, highlighting the problems currently experienced by TUMSA to get this job done.

FACT 1: The most practically verifiable database for full-time musicians currently exists with the collection societies – Samro / Sampra this includes names/ addresses /phone numbers /banking details *it is also important to note that Samro / Sampra has the most accurate and up-to-date activity indicators of professional composers and performers, as they are the only sources of revenue collection from the royalty collections and distribution earned on compositions & performances.

FACT 2: TUMSA only recruits members who can prove that they are full-time music industry professionals. current and veteran icons associated with TUMSA include Mafikizolo (Theo) – Kwesta – PJ Powers – Sipho Hotstix Mabuse – Jimmy Dludlu Vicky Sampson – Zolani Mahola (Freshly ground) – Jimmy Nevis – Barney Kophela – Gabi le Roux – Sibongile Mngoma, Camillo Lombard, and many more… rank-and-file musicians who make their daily livelihood 100% from music.

With their collective practical knowledge and expert detailed understanding of the Music Industry, TUMSA formulated a COVID -19 emergency rescue plan for full time musicians that is practical, quick to implement and will target the most accurately assessed 5000 full-time music professionals in SA. It is based on a partnership between the state (DSAC), music industry bodies (collecting societies, record labels / publishers) and music consumer business (private media network broadcasters). this is exactly in line with the model of the president’s priority sector master plan?

The plan as proposed:

1) With R52.5 mill we can at least provide 5000 (only) verified full-time music individuals with the SA minimum wage of R3500 per month for a period of 3-months. (To be revised after 3 months) *Depending on COVID-19 developments draft contribution Model: State (DSAC) – R26 mill (from the DSAC R150 mill) SAMRO – R12 mill (Undocumented Works Reserve Fund, including major publishers’ share) SAMPRA – R5 mill (Record Label Chamber) private media networks – R9.5 mill (Multichoice, Primedia & Kagiso Media) * Please note that the retail Fmcg (who operate in-house radio stations) should also be approached for contributions! So can major gospel churches music is integral to worship? That avoids SABC, so as to continue to recover from their dilemma whilst continuing to pay the SAMRO / SAMPRA arrears to composers and musicians as they have been doing recently since their bail-out. *Payment distributions to be administered by a trust fund monitored by all the above.

2) President to announce a 3-month payment holiday for these 5000 full-time musicians on rents to landlords as well as repayments to banks and other lending institutions, (to be revised after 3 months) *Depending on COVID-19 DevelopmentsPROBLEMS experienced in securing this proposal on Thursday 19 March 2020 The Minister of DSAC was presented with this model. After he called TUMSA SG on Friday morning (20th) and the model was discussed, he undertook to “deliberate with his team and revert with an answer” On Monday, 23 March the Minister responded with a letter that completely avoided any elements of the proposal and was entirely non-committal.

When TUMSA tried to re-engage him he simply ignored any further contact. On Wednesday, 25 March the Minister then announced a relief Plan which was completely biased toward Government-Contracted Musicians, ignoring anyone else. That was widely rejected by the industry and what then followed was an adjusted version of that plan which went exactly to the other extreme, this time throwing it open to virtually the entire public to apply for relief via a Pdf? and this process is to be administered by CCIFSA.

Then on Sunday 5 April TUMSA was contacted by DSAC Dir Gen Vusi Mkhize and a detailed conversation took place, where all these TUMSA concerns were discussed. Cde Mkhize asked for the TUMSA Plan to be forwarded to him again, which was duly done. Since then there has been no response other than “We’ll get back to you”. It was also pointed out to to him that whilst TUMSA is very positive about collaborating with other music industry structures such as CCIFSA and SAMIC, we do not believe a more generalist organisation such as CCIFSA should be making detailed representations on behalf of any of the arts sub-sectors it was formed to simply co-ordinate.

For instance, it cannot measure up to the specific an detailed specialist level of knowledge nor understanding of the music industry such as within the ranks of TUMSA? Unfortunately this was demonstrated clearly when a CCIFSA Official entirely misrepresented the TUMSA plan to SAMRO (an organization of which TUMSA Composer members are shareholders in!?) when he mistakenly overstated the required Plan contribution from SAMRO by a whopping R51 mill!

Fortunately, that was corrected by TUMSA in a very constructive discussion with SAMRO on 1 April, where SAMRO now awaits the commitments for contributions from other partners, before moving towards any commitment to the plan. And so the situation now lingers from day to day.

Meanwhile it is troubling to note that CCIFSA and another newly re-formed organization SAMIC is now embroiled in a power struggle as reported in the media. TUMSA wants no part in any such power-struggles. We just want to get this urgent job done for our Music Sector in the most practical and effective way! *The current DSAC Application form is flying around the entire South Africa, with anyone who believes they are a musician applying for COVID19 relief… This clearly compromises the real professionals who will get lost in the traffic?

TUMSA: East Wing Level, Athlone Stadium, 2 Hickory St, Athlone, Cape Town, 021 637 0327
Web: tumsa.org