Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, South Africa’s minister of communications and digital technologies, has approved a proposal to introduce a TV license amnesty in the country. Ntshavheni stated the amnesty would provide the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) more breathing room to cope with its financials when she spoke to a parliamentary committee on November 17, 2021.
“We are awaiting National Treasury’s approval so that we may bring the matter before parliament to ensure that there is an amnesty on TV licenses.” “We feel that if the SABC is granted (this amnesty), they will be able to take advantage of the opportunity to improve their financial situation,” Ntshavheni said.
Employing debt collection companies to follow up on non-payments currently costs the SABC money. A clean slate could potentially boost collections by relieving citizens of the burden of repaying non-payments. Amnesty might also help the SABC move to a new collection model that focuses on a general levy rather than individual licenses.
In response to queries, a SABC representative told a BMA Source that the national broadcaster had been in contact with Treasury about removing regulatory impediments but declined to comment directly on the issue of a license amnesty.
According to the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) annual report for 2020/2021, 82 per cent of TV license holders in South Africa failed to pay the yearly licence fee. In total, 2.2 million TV license holders could settle their fees in whole or in part against a database of 10.3 million TV license holders.
Under the current regulations, first-time applicants for a television licence must pay the full annual charge of US$ 17,13. Renewals must be paid annually before the license expires, with users having the option of paying US$ 17,06 annually or US$ 1,81 per month.