A Northern Cape government department has admitted making an illegal copy of the book after its author dragged it to Twitter.
On the morning of Wednesday, September 14, 2022, South African author Sabata-mpho Mokae was seething, taking to Twitter to expose the provincial government’s misconduct.
On Monday, September 12, Mokae woke up to an email from the book club saying the department had given them a photocopy of his book Maletla in Manong. The club, which copied the e-mail from department officials, said it was upset by the apparent violation of copyright laws.
Oh, we did it!
In a telephone conversation, Konrad Fortune, spokesperson for MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture in Desery Fienies Province, confirmed to The South African that officials made an unauthorized copy of the book. He added that the department should apologize to the writer.
The MEC is “regretful” and apparently plans to launch a full investigation into how this oversight occurred, he added.
“We are in the process of initiating contact with the author and publisher to discuss how we can resolve this situation amicably, possibly in the form of a settlement,” Fortune says.
The incident sparked outrage on social media after Mokae posted a photo of an “illegal copy” of his book. The fact that the department’s Kimberley offices are 10 minutes from the nearest available copy adds insult to injury, the author said.
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The department had several copies of the book, and when they ran out, someone in the department decided to photocopy it, he adds. Fortune claims the book was photocopied only once for the group.
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“I can’t believe that an entire government agency that is supposed to support artists has done this,” lamented the author.
Mokae has a long-standing relationship with the department and with its help published a biography of wrestling icon Sol Plaatjie s,mcnx,c,dnc,vnsdv,n.
The author demands compensation
“We are in the process of initiating communications with the author and publisher to discuss how we can resolve this situation amicably, possibly in the form of a settlement,” Fortune said.
Fortune, spokesperson for MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture in the province, Desery Fienies.
Mokae says that even though senior officials knew him personally, days passed without an apology from them.
The author told The South African that Northern Cape Premier Zamani Saul personally apologized for the incident. However, the author is demanding compensation and said his publisher, Zara Publishing, has already consulted with its lawyers.
This is not the first time, they say in the writing community
The National Writers’ Association (Nwasa) said this is not the first time the same department has infringed on authors’ copyrights.
Mokae had earlier reported to Nwase about photocopying the book to the North West Provincial Government. He claims that the book was copied by the Department of Culture and Arts Mantshiva 1815-1896: Barolong leader and patriot writer Modiri Molema without permission.