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SABC wants to ‘add TV licence fee onto DStv bills’ – but they’re struggling

SABC wants to ‘add TV licence fee onto DStv bills’ – but they’re struggling

It’s just as crafty as it is desperate, but SABC feel like they have to do something – anything, even – about the sheer volume of people who refuse to pay their TV licence. The annual fees, set at R265 a year, go towards funding the state broadcaster across is television, radio, and online platforms. But DStv officials aren’t playing ball with them

SABC BID TO COLLECT TV LICENCE PAYMENTS

Earlier this year, SABC moved ahead with its plans to bill everyone who could possibly have access to their shows – even if individuals weren’t in possession of a telly. Those who stream shows on their laptops, tablets, and phones will also be asked to cough up the yearly payment – broadly changing the definition of a ‘TV licence’ itself:

“The SABC submits that the public broadcasting levy should become device-independent for all households that have the possibility of access[ing] public broadcasting content via the internet, mobile, analogue or any digital broadcasting platforms – with exemptions for indigent households, and discounts for pensioners and other designated persons.”

DSTV ‘WILL NOT ADD A TV LICENSE PAYMENT’ ONTO THEIR BILLS

One ploy that has been submitted by SABC is to get DStv to charge a TV licence fee on their behalf. The plan to get a subscriber service to do the dirty work of the long-running state institution is, quite frankly, cynical and controversial. However, MultiChoice clients can at least rest easy for the time being – because CEO Calvo Mawela is having none of it:

“Our position is simply very clear: We can’t be held responsible for collecting money on behalf of the SABC. The SABC itself needs to find a way to collect such monies. We further made it clear that we think this is an old way of thinking around a public service mandate.”

“There are many better ways of [finding] public service funding that we have seen all over the world where people have moved away from a device into a public service contribution wherein tax payers are able to contribute a little bit and the public broadcaster is able to survive.” | Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO

WHAT WILL SABC TRY AND CHARGE YOU FOR?

SABC is in a hole, and attempts to dig their way out have so far failed. The group’s broad definition of what should constitute a ‘licensable device’ has also caused confusion, but it essentially boils down to this:

  • – Figures released by SABC and the government reveal that 76% of South Africans ARE NOT paying for their TV licences.
  • – Several monitors and smart displays do not require a TV licence, and can be used for ‘big-screen viewing’.
  • – As confirmed by tech expert Jan Vermeulen last week, only TVs or radios with ‘built-in tuners’ require a TV licence:

Currently, you need a SABC TV licence for any TV or radio with a tuner built-in. You don’t even need a TV licence for a DStv decoder that receives a broadcast signal, but one that happens to come from space.” | Jan Vermeulen


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