Nhlanhla Sibisi, CEO of the Recording Industry of South Africa (Risa), plans to make an announcement soon about the South African Music Awards (Samas).
According to rumors, the organization is struggling to find a headline sponsor, which has caused a delay in the announcement of finalists.
In 2022, the nominees were announced in June. There has been no indication of when the nomination event will take place this year.
Explaining the reason for the Samas 2023 awards delay, the CEO stated that an announcement on the next steps will be made in “due course.”
“Since the Samas lost the MTN headline sponsorship in 2013, our sponsors are on a year-to-year basis, which means we have to negotiate each year to get them on board. Some negotiations take longer to conclude and that delays our timeline.
“This makes planning difficult because we don’t know the commitment the sponsor will make for that year.
“If we constantly have to wait for confirmation our timelines are delayed, but we will make the necessary announcement in a few weeks.”
In recent years, the Samas have attracted criticism from artists and audiences alike. Complaints ranged from sound issues to artists not pitching for awards, and some felt cheated.
Zakes Bantwini took to Instagram to express his disappointment at what was supposed to be an exciting night for him.
Zakes said, “Regrettably this year happens to be the lowest point of these awards and I receive the awards with a heavy heart. The lack of attendance by artists nominated is just one sign of what artists think of Samas organisers and stakeholders.”
Makhadzi revealed that her performance during the award event was cut short.
She was hardly the only celebrity let down on the night. Maphorisa, a DJ and music producer, resorted to Twitter to criticize the prizes.
“You can’t cheat the numbers. F**k the Samas forever. Doesn’t even bring food on the table.’
Reflecting on the 28th installment of the Samas, Sibisi stated that he felt an urgent need to issue a statement in response to the remarks received. He complimented the team for securing financing after the award ceremonies had been delivered virtually for the previous two years.
“The Samas rely on a system in which our members (record companies and artist-led labels) review, amend and confirm the rules, categories and judges. This system is reviewed annually by our members and artists during a town hall meeting.
“However, in the past two years this review process and engagements with artists has been less than optimal due to Covid-19 restrictions and some of the gaps left open by lack of adequate engagements are glaring.
“As a result, I have started direct engagements with record companies and artists, and I will be proposing a major overhaul of our structure, systems and processes in the coming weeks and will make the necessary announcements before the end of September,” he said.