The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is anticipated to move forward with plans to implement a TV license moratorium or amnesty period in the country.
The auditor general’s report to parliament on Wednesday (9 February) confirmed the aforementioned, with the national broadcaster facing billions of rands in irregular expenditure and continued losses over the next three years.
The TV license amnesty period is expected to allow the SABC to improve its financial standing. Employing debt collection companies to follow up on non-payments presently costs the SABC money.
A clean slate could boost collections by relieving citizens of the burden of making back payments. Amnesty could also make it easier for the SABC to transition to a new collection approach that focuses on a general levy rather than individual licenses.
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, the minister of communications and digital technologies, has previously suggested an amnesty period, which she claims would give the SABC more breathing room to deal with its financial difficulties.
“We are awaiting the National Treasury’s approval so that we may bring the matter before parliament to ensure that there is an amnesty on TV licenses,” Ntshavheni told parliament in November 2021.
“We believe that if the SABC is granted (this amnesty), they will be able to take advantage of the chance to improve their financial situation,” Ntshavheni added.
According to the auditor general’s report, SABC also plans to outsource its TV licensing operation to third parties in the future. In addition, several website changes are intended to make it easier for South Africans to pay online.
Under current regulations, first-time applicants for a television licence must pay the full annual charge of US$17,46. Renewals must be paid annually before the license expires, with customers having the option of paying US$ 17,39 annually or US$1,84 per month.