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SABC wants ‘household levy’ to fund public broadcasting

And to do away with the television licence fee, which few South Africans are paying anyway.
Image: Moneyweb

The SABC wants a new tax on households introduced to fund public broadcasting and to do away with the television licence fee, which few South Africans are paying anyway.

“The current TV licence fee system should be scrapped and replaced with a device-independent, tech-neutral household levy for public broadcasting, which would levy all households, with exemption for the indigent and discounts for pensioners,” the SABC said in a summary of its submission on planned legislative changes in the broadcasting space seen by TechCentral. An SABC insider confirmed the document is accurate and is an official summary of the broadcaster’s submission on the draft white paper on audio-visual content services.

“The SABC’s entire submission is based on the accepted principle that the sustainability of the public broadcaster — through the financing of public mandate programming — is vital to our constitutional democracy,” the document said.

The SABC’s proposal on the household levy is “founded on the fact that every single South African household has the realistic ability to access public broadcasting content, whether via analogue free-to-air TV and radio platforms, or via digital terrestrial television, direct-to-home satellite, the Internet, and streaming services through several mobile apps”.

“Therefore, the levy is linked to the public’s ability to access public broadcasting content rather than on the consumption of that content. A similar household levy system was upheld as constitutional by the German constitutional court in 2018 as it was ‘specifically for the financing of public service programming that is fundamental to democracy’.”

MultiChoice must collect

As a “pro-competitive measure”, DStv parent MultiChoice Group should be required to collect the public broadcasting household levy from its subscribers, the SABC said in its submission.

“This proposal must be seen in the current market context after decades of prejudicial legislation and regulation against the SABC, including the must-carry regulations, which have obliged the SABC to provide its three free-to-air channels to subscription broadcasters for free (since 2008); sports broadcasting regulations, which failed to protect the public broadcaster from anticompetitive bundling of rights and unfair sublicensing criteria (since 2004); and the failure by the regulator to implement any limitations on advertising on subscription broadcasters as intended by the Electronic Communications Act in 2005.”

These measures and omissions have had a “massively negative impact on the SABC’s finances”. The freely provided channels and programming have also been used by “a competitor” (MultiChoice) to build part of its subscription base, it said.

“However, the requirement to collect the public broadcasting levy will not only fall upon the dominant subscription broadcaster. The SABC will be responsible for collecting the public broadcasting levy from the balance of households. The SABC will — in addition to current collection methods — utilise a more efficient digital collection system, using the SABC’s digital broadcasting, online channels and ‘over-the-top’ streaming platform (to be launched in 2021). The SABC’s proposed move away from the primarily TV retailer collection model to a public broadcasting household levy is conditional on the dominant subscription broadcaster being required by law to collect this levy from its subscribers.”

In addition, the public broadcaster, instead of requesting an annual sum from national treasury for public mandate programming, wants the relevant governmental departments to “allocate and ring-fence a line item in their budgets for the relevant public service content”.

“Such funding shall be provided for programming relevant to the national development mandate of a particular department, without compromising the SABC’s editorial independence. These departments would include health; basic education; higher education & training; sports, arts & culture, GCIS and the department of communications & digital technologies.

“Notwithstanding the absence of funding for the public mandate, the SABC is still committed to breaking even and turning the organisation around. However, it will become more difficult to properly meet the public mandate in all respects without additional funding, over and above the public broadcasting household levy.”  — (c) 2021 NewsCentral Media

This article was published with the permission of TechCentral, the original publication can be viewed here.

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Close it down.

Just another waste of money.


We as a family do not watch TV whatsoever, in fact cancelled our subscription to DSTV a year ago, without access to fodder on SABC

So, given that we don’t watch any “broadcast” from another bankrupt Parastatal, exempts me from paying a cent, well according to me anyway!

So as a South African parastatal, who gives them the right to tax my phone, laptop or any other device for entertainment, when they fail dismally to do it

I say go and fly a kite and good luck collecting taxes from the masses in the town ships..You’re as afraid of them as you are of the Taxi industry

Once again, 5,8% of the population pays 94% of the taxes in this country.. These are the people that the SABC will target.. Time to put our foot down

I pay my television license and have always done so. Am I a fool?

No you’re not a fool, you’re a good man..Just know that half of what you pay lines the pocket of an Elite cadre, thats why they’re BANKRUPT!

I too paid mine, until i stopped watching TV and they still bill me! When i called them, they asked me if i have a TV in my house..I said i do but wevdon’t watch it

Their response: If you have a TV set in your home, even if it’s broken, you have to pay up

They can demand payment from me till the cows come home, i have no time for any Parastatal, not to mention the thieving ANC

In fact to illustrate their incompetence, every year after paying my Television licence, i mail the SABC and remind them that, by law, they must furnish me with a proof of payment

Haven’t received any for the last 5 years, and they don’t acknowledge my mail

Thats how “deurmekaar” the Corporation is

Government Parasitals

Only RSG worth listening to and saving.Rest is rubbish.

Very few people can claim that they don’t listen to any SABC broadcast whatsoever. Whether it’s entertainment analogue TV, or your favourite radio station on your car’s FM receiver, or streaming Uncle Cyril’s Coronavirus update (family meeting) via Youtube, this central broadcast service is indispensable and it needs to be funded. Not saying the one-sided propaganda and wastage/theft is okay, not saying it’s right that so few must pay, but the country needs it to work well.

False Mr Groenewald. I personally believe the country would be measurably better off if everyone turned off the state propaganda (“family meetings” as you call them) and thought critically and sought out their own independent sources of information. We do not need a propaganda service that tells the masses how great the State is.

No. Improve the quality, generate content that users want to see (do not enforce rubbish onto us), etc. and we will all gladly pay for this service (assuming it is market related fees). If you can’t do this, shut down SABC.

Too lazy, corrupt and incompetent to do what is necessary to fix itself, the SABC wants everyone else to do the work for it. Certainly a reflection of its ANC overlords in the way it operates.

If even the couple of viewer’s that are still watching sabc are not prepared to pay a license fee, then you can assume it is absolute rubbish and you should stop producing it altogether.

another tax.First it was a TV licence under the Nats (now ANC), then the SABC wanted to tax virtually all receiving devices; now a ‘household levy’ (ie,another tax).What if this sets a precedent for other soe’s at the feeding trough?What does the DA say about this??

Speaking of ‘WANT’ – I don’t WANT to watch SABC or any of its offerings. I don’t WANT to watch DSTV endless re-runs.

If you channel hop you will see the absolute juvenile rubbish that they have on those channels somewhere between 130 to 200.

Reminds me of TV in 1974. I am not paying for that and am seriously thinking of never paying my tv license again.

What a bunch of losers… they cannot even give their propaganda away for free!

The State should not be in business of any sorts, rather it should be the regulator, mediator and enforce of laws between business, citizens and other countries whilst claiming only a 5% transactional tax to support its existence.

Just another communist wet dream. Same type of people who gave the East Germans the Wartburg Trabant car impersonator.

So why not get advertisers to advertise? That way you can fund all sorts of good programs. You can even build a sustainable business without having to rely on TV licenses.

Ooops, I almost forgot. Advertisers want value for money. That can only come when there’s an audience.

Back to the tried and tested method.

1. Get money from the SLAVES (that’s the taxpayers).
2. Waste it – but this time don’t pretend you’re not wasting it. We know it already.
3. Ask for more money.


The SABC is not “vital” to anything worthwhile – specifically not democracy.
The SABC is in the state that it is in due to massive – and we are talking massive – cadre deployment. Nothing whatsoever to do with “unfair” behaviour by any competitor.
And then there was Hlaudi Motsoeneng, of course.
Just shut it down and put the cadres out on the street. SA will be better off for it. As will democracy.

If the SABC wants to collect fees from everyone they need to abide to the following as a public broadcaster, reduce the number of redundant managerial staff (was the subject of many articles), account for the sale of the archived material sold to Multichoice, provide access to content that we actually want to see, prove that they are in fact collecting from everyone not just the leafy suburbs.

As per Governments stance on ETOLLs:

User pays Principle.

Same should apply to SABC.

I dont look at their nonsense programming.

I should therefore not pay!

User pays principle definition (according to the ANC-led government), is “apply whatever set of rules and legislation changes, by making conflicting and non-sensical self-interest-motivated adaptations thereto to extract maximum revenue to continue fleecing the populace and filling the corrupt trough”.

Eskom could learn from SABC!

Do away with meters and collections all that stuff, just add a tax on energy consuming devices. Geyser – R6000 tax goes to Eskom. Kettle – R500 tax to Eskom. Bedside lamp – R25 tax to Eskom. Prefund a few years’ consumption to settle the debt!

If you buy a generator would they pay you a rebate?

As to SABC : try and stop the invoices for a deceased relative. Basically a script for a Monty Python movie.

Sorry Macafrican, bad idea. People must pay for what they use, these flat fees won’t work. You have quite a good knowledge and insights on energy matters, but here I completely disagree.
Eskom must be liquidated, the energy sector can be for a large part privatised. Paying taxes to Eskom ?!?!? Over my dead body.
Back to TV licenses. Collection never worked well here despite needing them when buying a new TV, having retailers, collection agencies and lawyers involved at enormous costs. Many countries like Australia and NL got rid of them decades ago.
In SA we have about 13 or 14 m households with a TV, of which about 9 m are registered with the the SABC for licenses. Less than 2 m are paid and numbers are declining. TV licenses are a completely outdated and ineffective way of collecting taxes for a highly controversial service that is IMHO not exactly impartial, independent and value for money.
Scrap TV licenses ASAP. The whole need and reason for existence of our public broadcaster and signal distributor Sentech is open for discusion. IMHO, they also can be scrapped or privatised.

SO if I don’t pay for a TV licence , why would I pay a household levy?

The SABC is redundant, simple. Close it down.

End of comments.





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