Key Note Address by Minister Pallo Jordan Moshito Music Exhibition and Conference at Sandton Convention Centre

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21 Jul 2004

Chairperson of Moshito Board, Mr Nick Motsatse
Members of the Board
International speakers: Jeremy Fabinyi, Jean-Francois Michel, Paul Barbaro,
Local speakers
Distinguished guests Judge Albie Sachs, Mr Rod Hooijer, Councilor Lumko Mtimde and all protocol observed
Managers and Directors from various institutions
Distinguished delegates
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am very honoured to be your guest for the first SA music market and conference - Moshito ‘04. As we are marking the 10th year of democracy, we register our gains, celebrate our achievements and map out our challenges before us while consolidating our freedom. Today’s event can therefore be regarded as an aspect of the efforts of our people, working together to make South African freedom a success.

I would like to bid our international speakers attending this three-day event a very warm welcome to South Africa. I am certain that I speak on behalf of all of us here in wishing you a fruitful and rewarding experience in South Africa. I trust that you will not confine yourselves to this conference alone, but will seize the opportunity to take in the many delights this country has to offer the international visitor.

As you know, the demand for developmental programs in this country is immense. Yes we have progressed beyond the phase when oppression was institutionalized. But the legacy of the exploitation of both our human and cultural resources still haunts the national landscape. One of the purposes of this conference is to explore how best to ensure that the cultural products of this country and its heritage benefits our people.

The cultural industries can be highly effective instruments for the economic revival of the African continent. Africa’s cultural product has already made a huge contribution to humankind’s common cultural patrimony. The rhythms, the musical idiom and the melodies of Africa have dominated popular music, at least in Europe and the New World for the better part of the last century. South Africa, like the rest of the continent, is extremely rich in cultural resources. Many veins of this cultural wealth reamin untapped or under-utilised. Though ours is a largely non-industrial continent, it possesses riches many other continents have lost or forgotten.

Our government has identified the cultural sector as a potentially significant contributor to the growth of our economy. Taken together, the cluster of activities under its rubric are important not only for their growth potential, but also for the critical role they play in profiling the unique cultural products South Africa can market in a highly competitive and globalised knowledge-based economy.

The music industry is a critical component of our cultural industries. Because music communicates through a universal language, it has the distinctive ability to break through the constraints of borders. Emerging from long established local traditions, music - the first artistic discipline to exploit electronic reproduction and communication - has become a vast international enterprise, spanning entire continents and crossing the deepest oceans with a remarkable ease. As government, we would like to see this sector of our cultural industries become more diversified, more global and imbued with the sort of entrepreneurial spirit that does not shirk risk-taking and experimentation.

It has been said often that modern information and communications technology has greatly reduced the size of our planet. While this could compromise the economic political and cultural autonomy of regions and nations, I prefer to regard it as a challenge to explore the extent to which countries like ours can use it to make what are today national industries into transnational ones. A challenge to test the limits of the international market place to discover how receptive it could be to South African music.

I feel confident that Moshito can provide such answers.

The organiser has put together a stimulating, thought-provoking programme. We hope it will excite you about hewing out the way forward for our domestic music industry. We would like to see this conference end with action plans around identifiable objectives.

The music market project, which forms an important dimension of your deliberations, should become a music industry trade-show, comprised of exhibitions, sale of music products and services, music business seminars and live performances. Moshito is forum to provide opportunities for business networking, information exchanges, promotion and product development for national music producers, performers, individuals and entities providing support services.

Sustained effort over the longer term is the only way to attain these. South Africa is blessed with a music industry capable of serving both domestic and international clients with some of the best facilities in the region. We also have some competitive advantages such as our diversity of our population, our profound appreciation of the multi-cultural character of virtually all societies, strong corporate governance, stable operating environment, well connected and efficient logistic infrastructure for distribution, warehousing and transportation of products. However to maximize our advantages, the South African music industry needs to develop deeper understanding of global market opportunities and business trends.

The theft of the intellectual property African musicians is perhaps as notorious as the plunder of our continent’s natural resources. Earnings overseas are rarely non-repatriated by the less scrupulous entrepreneurs. African countries lack national agencies to collect mechanical and performing rights royalties. In addition there are high levels of piracy both within the continent and beyond its borders. These problems are compounded by the fact that the music sector in Africa is highly fragmented and African countries lack a strong legislation and institutional framework.

As government, we have undertaken to improve the legal protection of intellectual property and create a better framework for musicians to protect their copyrights. Among the measures we have taken is to encourage performers and composers to deposit original copies of their work with the National Film, Video and Audio Archives. This can serve as a deterrent against rampant music piracy and other intellectual property right infringements. Not only do these practices undermine potential markets by damaging investment in the sector, they also rob the state of tax revenues and drain earnings away from the local artists and music producers. Government believes that creators must be adequately rewarded for their efforts, so that they can develop their profession skills and build a legitimate music business. Government has assumed this moral obligation, but it is only by working together with the stakeholders in the industry, that we will realise effective protection of our artists.

Discussing lawmaking at a conference dedicated t music might well sound odd, but the law has a very direct impact on this industry. Labour relations legislation, health and safety regulations, fire code restrictions, noise ordinances, safety policies all affect the manner in which the public consumes the products of this industry. Surveys indicate that in most developing countries musicians often work without employment contracts. We should rigorously interrogate this practice, not as a way of placing new constraints on the industry, but as a way to afford performers better protection. It it proper that unlike others who work for a living, musicians have no rights and those who employ them recognize no obligations other than paying them a fee? Is the current situation in which performers are excluded from pensions, social security, unemployment benefit, health schemes and workers’ compensation tenable in the long term?

These are tough issues, and I do not suggest that there are easy answers. But, how long is the music industry t live with the scandal of the most talented artists dying in poverty, or worse yet, in the gutter?

As the Department of Arts and Culture, we are committed to creating an environment in which to build a vibrant local music industry here in South Africa. In 2000 my predecessor, Dr Ben Ngubane commissioned a task team to investigate the problems affecting musicians and to make recommendations on how to address them. The outcome was 37 recommendations which, inter alia, include the development of a music market, combating piracy and addressing social security problems facing musicians. My department, together with other government departments, statutory bodies and industry players are currently implementing those recommendations. Moshito is one dimension thereof. Our government’s interest in the outcome of your deliberations, in part derives from that, but I think we can all agree that those recommendations wil help improve the performance of the industry.

From an African perspective, addressing these challenges is very crucial because culture plays a huge role in Africa life. Cultural activity is much more than a soundtrack for NEPAD. It is integral to NEPAD and will be one more aspect of intra-African co-operation. By the promotion of regional and internal markets and audiences, by the facilitation of mobility within Africa, and stimulating a freer exchange of skills and technologies amongst ourselves as Africa we can more speedily ensure the development of our mother continent.

I am confident that all of you will work with Moshito in this endeavour to develop new capabilities and seek out more opportunities for the industry. Let me conclude by turning once again to the members of Moshito and all the others behind the music market initiative. Your work is well noted and recognized. Your commitment to reinvent your products, to design new business models, to rise above the “average” is a sign of good leadership.

I most heartily thank to all who are attending this conference and may I once again wish all participants fruitful deliberations over the next two days.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are all invited to join our guest speakers and distinguished local music industry representatives for some refreshment and easy banter over food and drinks. I hereby declare the Moshito Music Conference and Exhibition - Moshito 04 - formally opened.

Thank you.