With the recent postponement of the Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS) annual general meeting, to be now held on August 19, a team of vibrant creatives have taken the initiative to form a collective whose mandate would be to replace the current board which has been riddled with accusations of inaction and malpractice.
Dubbed “Team Real Change’, the collective is comprised of Shabba Kgotlaetsho, Tomeletso Sereetsi, Game “Zeus” Bantsi, Sydney “Dj Boogie Sid” Nzala, Winani Sekani, Jimmy Moyambo and Batho Motlhake.
“Members have a litany of complaints relating to failures and breakdowns in the delivery of the very reason for COSBOTS’ existence – monitoring, collection and distribution of royalties to rights holders.
The core mandate of the society is to monitor media and look out for the works of its members in order to collect on their behalf. The conflict of interest in the awarding of the monitoring tender to the company of the chairman of the board, to the purchase of a building in excess of P3 million without consulting members are some of the grievances.
“This is part of a long trend of questionable financial decisions,” says musician and film maker Bantsi.
The team is intent on a renewal of COSBOTS through improving relations with stakeholders such as copyright users (radio stations, promoters) through a coherent and consistent stakeholder engagement strategy: “We have assembled a team of energetic, accomplished and capable industry leaders who place a huge premium on such values as integrity, transparency, fairness, accountability and ethical corporate governance to deliver on the society’s mandate to set rates, monitor, collect and distribute royalties to rights holders,” states Bantsi.
On the team’s media statement, they explain that members have to be empowered to sustainably produce works of high value and to develop leadership skills that will drive growth of the arts sector. “Through this programme we will also actively push for the increase of the local content quota on Botswana radio stations and television to ensure that the bulk of royalties stay in Botswana and benefit the majority of the creative sector here and other allied industries,” states the release.
“We are sadly aware of the strained relationships between COSBOTS and copyright users and its implications for members. We recognise the need to prioritise improving such relations because they help maximise income for artists when all stakeholders understand their role in helping COSBOTS achieve its mandate,” Sereetsi, author and musician, states.