From 1 August 2013, SAMRO will be even more accessible to members with the opening of a new satellite office in Durban. 

In an effort to make interaction with SAMRO easier for members and those hoping to become members, the organisation is opening up satellite offices around the country, including in Durban. 

The Executive General Manager for Rights Holder Services at SAMRO, Pfanani Lishivha, explains: “We want to have contact centres in all the provinces, as we have members throughout the country.” 

SAMRO’s head office is based in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. This previously meant that if someone wanted to apply for membership or to notify their works, they would need to travel to Johannesburg, which can be time-consuming and expensive. They could have also sent their information by post, which would potentially have taken a long time – with no guarantee that the information would arrive. 

“To combat this problem, we have decided to team up with other organisations in the music and arts industry to assist us in setting up satellite offices,” adds Lishivha. “SAMRO already has one working satellite centre in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, and the BAT Centre in Durban will be the second of this kind.” 

The BAT Centre is a general base for the arts, including drama, visual arts and music, in KwaZulu-Natal. From 1 August, trained staff will be able to help with applications for membership, notifications of works, and so on. SAMRO is seeking out similar bases in other provinces with links to the arts world. “The BAT Centre in Durban is akin to the Newtown Precinct in Johannesburg,” explains Lishivha. “It’s a place of networking for the arts industry.” 

Apart from these satellite centres being points of contact for SAMRO members and would-be members, they will also be used to look for music creators that are believed to reside in the surrounding areas. 

“Sometimes we need to pay royalties to someone but we do not have that member’s bank account number,” says Lishivha, “and we want these centres to help us find these people so we can pay them the money owed to them.” 

Also, if someone needs to confirm the authorship of a song, notification of works forms can be signed at these centres. “We are currently exploring opening centres in Polokwane and in Bloemfontein, to make processes simpler, easier and more efficient for our members and would-be members,” says Lishivha. 

•The BAT Centre is located within the small Craft Harbour off Durban’s Victoria Embankment.