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Pfanani Lishivha

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Pfanani Lishivha is a results-driven business executive with more than 20 years’ experience in executive management, specialising in the field of collective rights administration and specifically the rights of South African recording artists. His proven management skills are bolstered by his 25-plus years in research and development, as well as in policymaking and regulations drafting.

Work history and achievements

Prior to joining SAMPRA as CEO, Pfanani worked at ICASA, South Africa’s broadcasting and telecommunications regulator, as Senior Manager: Policy and Research. After leaving ICASA, he joined SAMRO and held various executive roles in business development, performers’ rights, and customer services.

Since joining SAMPRA as CEO in 2017, SAMPRA has processed and distributed just under R2b of Neighbouring Rights royalties. He has been responsible for ensuring SAMPRA’s stability. Thanks in large part to his efforts, this comparatively young CMO is on par with the best and oldest Neighbouring Rights CMOs in the rest of the world. It efficiently documents and distributes Neighbouring Rights royalties to recording artists and record companies whose recordings have been performed in public.

Pfanani has been the driving force behind SAMPRA being accepted as the only African CMO that is a member of SCAPR and IFPI, international federations of Neighbouring Rights CMOs for performers and record companies respectively. SAMPRA participates fully in SCAPR and IFPI meetings and general assemblies. SAMPRA has also concluded more than 50 reciprocal agreements with its counterparts in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Under Pfanani’s stewardship, SAMPRA launched the SAMPRA Development Fund (“the Fund”) in August 2020. The Fund’s main aim is to be responsible for SAMPRA’s CSI through support for the music industry in a number of areas including retirement savings and funeral cover for SAMPRA’s performer members, training and professional development for recording artists and independent record companies, music production, touring and travel support, financing of live performances, and funding aimed at preserving South Africa’s diverse cultural heritage.

Personal attributes

Pfanani is a great communicator. He is assertive and an excellent mediator in conflict situations. His track record in mediation, conflict resolution and the fostering of harmonious relations with staff and stakeholders is evidence of his tenacity when faced with challenges, as well as his ability to operate and brainstorm solutions under extreme pressure.

Before joining SAMPRA, the organisation had endless disputes with radio broadcasters that are members of the National Association of Broadcasters (“the NAB”), and retailers that are members of the Retailers’ Association. Pfanani managed to resolve the disputes and has built solid relationships with the NAB, the Retailers’ Association, and international counterparts. He has also managed, under very difficult and trying circumstances, to get the South African Broadcasting Corporation to pay SAMPRA for the usage of sound recordings.

In 2021, he successfully resolved a long-standing dispute between SAMPRA and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (the SABC). The successful resolution of the dispute has led to the SABC paying SAMPRA Neighbouring Rights licence fees, and with the payment backdated to 2014.

Pfanani is an articulate and compelling public speaker, be it on music industry platforms or in his interactions with the media. Pfanani has gained a robust reputation as a subject matter expert on issues of rights administration and he is a respected commentator in this regard.

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