South Africans say no to paying TV Licence


By Theodorah waga Mawasha

Most South African TV license holders don’t pay the fees. As a result, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), wants to implement a media levy to combat non-compliance.

The broadcaster has been struggling to collect TV license fees with its registered clients dating back a few years. It first reported on license fee evasion in its 2018 annual report and follow up reports also showed a decline.

Despite several rolled-out initiatives to simplify the payment process, to make it easier for license holders to pay the fees, there has been no improvement and the numbers have kept dropping. In 2018 it was 72%, the following year which was 2019 it dropoed to 69% then in 2020 it was 81% and last year, 2021 it reached to 82%. The evasion rate is said to have been over 82% between 2020 and 2021.

Furthermore, the revenue generated from collections is reported to have dropped below 0.4% year on year and 2.2 million

TV license holders managed to settle their fees in full or in part.

The broadcaster’s failure to collect fees is not the only factor contributing to it’s deteriorating financial situation. In the year 2022, SABC revealed that it had lost R600 million in two years which it attributed to a declining audience.

In the same month, Communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni gave the broadcaster until 30 June 2022 to explain how it plans to generate more revenue.

“We have given the Board and management of the SABC until 30 June 2022 to submit a plan on how the public broadcaster is going to commercialize and monetize the opportunities availed through the broadcast digital migration. The broadcaster was further directed to prioritize and promote local content,” Ntshavheni said.

Meanwhile, multichoice has also weighed in on the matter and said the levy should be collected as a tax at a local or national level.

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