Open Letter to the President and Speaker of the National Assembly

21 December 2020

Copyright Amendment Bill Public Participation

Dear Honourable President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Thandi Modise,

We, the Writers Guild of South Africa, write to you on behalf of our members.

We are thankful that the President returned the Copyright Amendment Bill to the National Assembly on 16 June 2020. Accordingly, as you are aware, the Copyright Amendment Bill is currently before the National Assembly for consideration since June 2020. Since this date, the National Assembly only convened on the Bill on four (4) occasions, the last being 4 September 2020. No further deliberations were held by the National Assembly since. 

Furthermore, it is unclear whether the National Assembly will avail the second round of public participation. Although we concede that public hearings were held in August 2017 in respect of the Bill, we, on behalf of our members, hereby humbly request that the second round of public hearings be held for us and other interested parties. We request to be afforded the opportunity to comment on the Copyright Amendment Bill formally, at which forum we shall put forward our concerns and submissions in full. 

We hope that you heed the call from the creative community, who stand united against the current provisions contained in the Copyright Amendment Bill, to allow those who are most vulnerable and reliant on this Bill the opportunity to make their voices heard.

Sincerely,

Theoline Maphutha

Chairperson: Writers Guild of South Africa