18 June 2012
The Department of Arts and Culture through the Bureau of Heraldry designs and registers heraldic representations such as flags and coats of arms. The Bureau is guided by the Heraldry Act, which governs the use and protection of national symbols.
Officials of the Bureau of Heraldry and the Department of Trade and Industry who deal with Copyrighting and Corporate issues of the State met this morning to clarify ownership of the National Anthem.
It is clear that former President Nelson Mandela officially adopted the National Anthem of South Africa through a Proclamation (No. 68 in the Government Gazette of 10 October 1997), which therefore belongs to the country. The national Anthem is composed through the joining of a shortened version of Nkosi Sikelel'iAfrika and The Call of South Africa. The article published in the City Press on the 17th of June 2012 fails to distinguish between the Inkosi Sikelel'iAfrika Hymn Composed by Enoch Sontonga and the National Anthem of South Africa. Compositions referred to in the City Press article use the Hymn and not the National Anthem.
The Department of Trade and Industry is aware that the people whose work was chosen out of the commissioned works actually notified collecting royalties that they owned the Copyright to the work. This is contrary to the fact that ownership of the Copyright on the National Anthem is owned by the state. The Copyright and publishing rights should therefore be those of the state.
Section 5 of the Copyright Act also provides that any person commissioned to do work and gets paid for the work does not own it, the Copyright belongs to the person who commissioned the work. In sum, the composers of the National Anthem do not have Copyright claim to the National Anthem
The Departments are currently reviewing gaps in the legislation with regard to the usage of the National Symbols and the National Anthem in particular.
For further enquiries kindly contact Sidwell Medupe on 079 492 1774 or 012 394 1650 or Premi Appalraju on 082 903 6778 or 012 441 3580
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