The Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA) has revoked the South African Music Award (Sama) for Best Contemporary Religious Album, presented to Pulane Maphari at a live awards ceremony last month, following an apparent bait-and-switch by the artist.

According to a statement released by the organizers of the award, Maphari has repackaged, renamed and showcased the album she released in 2020, titled Sacrificial Worship (Live), as a new work.

She then submitted it for review in 2021 with the same tracklist.

“This is a clear violation of the Sama rules and equals an automatic disqualification. According to General Rules: Eligibility Clause 5.1 states that an album must contain at least four (4) tracks of previously unreleased performance recordings (Remixes excluded),” explained RiSA.

“Clause 5.2 states that 50 percent of the album must consist of different and previously unreleased recordings by the claimed artist or group (in other words, no reissued albums or ‘greatest’ or ‘greatest hits’ compilations or the like).”

Who’s getting the award now?

In light of these developments, RiSA presented Kingdmusic’s award for Best Contemporary Faith Album to Denga.

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The decision was based on the fact that Kingdmusic received the second-highest ranking in the category, as confirmed by auditors PwC.

What is happening now?

Organizers further revealed that RiSA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi had suspended the Sama project team and initiated internal disciplinary proceedings.

The performer in question has also been disqualified and further investigations are underway to determine if further action should also be taken against her.

“The integrity of Samos is paramount. We take seriously any complaints we receive about the way winners are chosen and the conduct of our office and judges.

“We are looking at a complete overhaul of Samas’ structure, systems and processes. Samos should be artist-oriented and goal-oriented,” Sibisi concluded.

This comes after the Samas were criticized and accused of no longer being the prestigious and respected event they once were.

One of their fiercest public critics was musician and first Sama Award winner Zakes Bantwini.

He was later joined by the likes of DJ Maphorisa, Makhadzi, Lady Du and Sibu Mabena.

Talking to Sunday worldSibisi believed that RiSA was responsible for this apparent decline, citing financial constraints as one of the biggest challenges.

He told the publication that his team will go back to the drawing board to fix their mistakes.

“We have taken note of all the complaints and tick each of them. We are going back to the drawing board and will review the entire process and then make a public statement.”

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