SABC once again punting for household levy rather than traditional TV licence
- On Wednesday the SABC proposed a bill to the Department of Communications to change the system for collecting fees and thereby boost their financial position
- The SABC proposes that a household levy be charged whether one has a television or not since so many people now stream on other devices
- Outa believes this is not the solution and the problem lies with the public broadcaster's existing funding model
The South African Broadcasting Corporation is once again punting for a rethink to the traditional television licence, suggesting to the Department of Communications this week that we pay a "household levy system" based on our access to services instead of forking out for each TV set we own.
Since the ITC White Paper is still in process, the SABC Bill is proposing changes to fee collections in order to bolster their coffers.
Outa's Executive Director of their Accountability Division, Advocate Stephanie Fick speaks to Refilwe Moloto about the legitimacy of the SABC's plan to institute a household levy system to replace the current tv licence.
I think, in a nutshell, they are struggling to finalise their funding model because they need funds.Advocate Stephanie Fick, Executive Director Accountability Division - Outa
Outa believes a public broadcaster is very important, she notes.
Our opinion is that the SABC is necessary. There are so many people in South Africa for which this is their only access to news, education,Advocate Stephanie Fick, Executive Director Accountability Division - Outa
We may also forget part of the SABC is also their radio stations and more people still listen to their radio.Advocate Stephanie Fick, Executive Director Accountability Division - Outa
But, despite believing it should continue to operate, she says their funding model is not working, adding that the SABC Bill that has been put out for comment is simply a rewrite of the Broadcasting Act.
However, she notes, despite the household levy not being on the table as it was only part of the ITC white paper, the SABC made mention of this TV licence fee on Wednesday.
They are arguing that TV licences are archaic because people are streaming through their computers [and other devices].Advocate Stephanie Fick, Executive Director Accountability Division - Outa
Therefore the SBC says that they can no longer collect fees just from TV licences - it needs to encompass all devices and include streaming services.
So that is why they are saying that the SABC Bill believes it should include this household levy because everybody has got the potential to watch TV in their homes. it will be easier to collect, and then they will ask private companies like MultiChoice to claim that back.Advocate Stephanie Fick, Executive Director Accountability Division - Outa
In its submission on Wednesday MultiChoice vehemently opposed this proposal.
All we are saying is guys no, look at your funding model. We are of the opinion that if what you are saying is your board is in place and has good governance, that commercially you should be sound.Advocate Stephanie Fick, Executive Director Accountability Division - Outa
She says the SABC is currently not successfully collecting all TV licence fees.
It is costing them more in collection and they are not going to sue someone because it is too expensive.Advocate Stephanie Fick, Executive Director Accountability Division - Outa
The question is still, why don't they get grants from government?Advocate Stephanie Fick, Executive Director Accountability Division - Outa
She says if the SABC is genuinely getting rid of corruption, the money can be used on procuring better content.
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