TV licence payments explored

When buying a television set in South Africa you are required to produce proof of payment for a TV licence. The SABC as the public broadcaster manages the collection of TV licence fees.

Following some of the complains about the SABC's inability to handle TV licenses payments effectively, CapeTalk’s Kieno Kammies spoke to Monya Boucher, Acting Communications and Liaison Manager at the SABC about the procedures and processes they have in place.

“The SABC estimates that only around 30 percent of South Africa’s TV owning households are paying their licence fees, which means two thirds of South Africans who have TV sets are not paying.” - News24.

Who needs a TV licence?

Anyone using or having in his/her possession a television set or any device capable of receiving a broadcast television signal is required to have a valid, paid-up television licence. This includes any person, dealer or business.

Various types of TV licences

  • A domestic licence previously known as a private licence.
  • A concessionary domestic licence.
  • A business licence - for entities using TV sets in their business/commercial activities.
  • A dealer licence - for businesses selling TV sets.
  • A lessor licence - for businesses renting out television sets.
  • A mobile licence - for a TV set in any vehicle, caravan, mobile home, vessel or aircraft used for private purposes.

What if the tuner is removed from the TV set – denaturing process?

  • The tuner is removed at your cost
  • Apply for denaturing at the SABC
  • SABC will send an agent to inspect the TV set and give you a denaturing certificate
  • Make a payment of R342 to obtain the certificate
  • Send a copy of the certificate to SABC to register you on their database as a denatured product
  • You will receive a statement with a zero balance

According to Boucher, if a DVD, DSTV decoder or an old VCR is connected to the denatured TV set then the user needs a TV licence.

What happens if the TV license holder dies?

In the case of death, Boucher says the SABC licensing department should be notified. A copy of death certificate should also be sent to them. They also want an explanation of the whereabouts of the TV set. The TV licence of the deceased will only be cancelled when all the required documents are submitted

What happens to people who do not pay their TV licences?

People who do not pay for their TV licence are handed over to debt collecting agencies after 60 days. If found guilty in court of failing to comply with the law, you will get a fine of not more than R500 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both.


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