Night two of the Saftas will air on Saturday on SABC’s S3 and DStv’s Mzansi Magic.
Photo: Christina Reichl Photography
- The SABC and the South African government are advancing on a SABC TV licence amnesty plan that will wipe out long-overdue debts.
- The plan will replace the licencing scheme with a new tax in the form of a “public media levy”.
- The SABC told Parliament in 2017 that millions of South African TV households owe the SABC billions in rand that it will never be able to ever recover in real life.
In Wednesday’s meeting of Parliament’s select committee on public enterprises and communications, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the minister of communications and digital technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, again touched on the SABC’s application, made months ago, for SABC TV licence amnesty.
A SABC TV licence fee amnesty will help eliminate a mountain of licence fee debt the broadcaster has no hope ever to recover. It might also help encourage TV households with a mountain of SABC TV licence fee debt to start paying again with a clean slate and for new TV households not captured on the system to come forward and register.
“We have supported the SABC in their request for an amnesty on TV licence issues. We are awaiting the concurrence of the National Treasury to take the matter to cabinet to make sure there is an amnesty on SABC TV licences,” Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told the committee.
In 2017 the SABC wrote off a staggering R17.7 billion in outstanding TV licence fees that it no longer had any hope of recovering. Yet the struggling public broadcaster is owed billions more in due SABC TV licence fees that pile up year after year.
The SABC told Parliament in 2017 that millions of South African TV households owe the SABC billions in rand that it will never be able to ever recover in real life. “Certain grannies have R15 000 owing – R9 000 in licences, R6 000 in penalties. It just doesn’t make sense.”
In 2021 just 21% – only 2.2 million out of the 10.3 million SABC TV licence holders that the broadcaster is aware of – bothered to still pay their annual TV licence during the 2020/2021 financial year.
Millions more TV households than just the 10.3 million on the SABC’s TV licence database exist in South Africa that the broadcaster doesn’t know of, that it had failed to capture with its outdated database system, and who are watching television without paying any fee.
The SABC is therefore in favour of doing away with a SABC TV licence and for it to be replaced with a new type of general tax in the form of a so-called “media levy” that will cast a much wider net and remove the responsibility from the SABC of having to get TV households to pay a licence fee.
On Wednesday, Philly Moilwa, SABC general manager of regulatory affairs, told Parliament that the SABC TV licence fee should be scrapped.
“The current SABC TV licence fee system should be scrapped and replaced with a device-independent, tech-neutral public media levy for public broadcasting, which would levy all households, commercial enterprises, organisations and institutions.”
“This household levy is founded on the fact that every single South African household has the realistic expectation to access public broadcasting content. Therefore, the levy is linked to the public’s ability to access public broadcasting content rather than on the consumption of that content.”
Moilwa said that it’s not about what device you are using to access TV content “because that is going to make life very difficult for anyone to be made accountable in terms of paying SABC TV licence fees. We are saying let us adopt a public media levy that is going to make everyone able to pay”.
Source by www.news24.com