Ricochet News

Look elsewhere: DA opposes SABC license fees for phones and tablets

MAY 11, 2017
Look elsewhere: DA opposes SABC license fees for phones and tablets

The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Thursday said that it will oppose the imposition of TV license fees for mobile phones, computers and tablets.

"Yesterday, the SABC’s Acting GCEO, James Aguma, indicated that when purchasing a mobile phone, computer or tablet, South Africans will in future have to pay a TV license fee for those devices," said Phumzile Van Damme MP - DA Shadow Minister of Communications.

"This would be achieved by changing the definition of  'receiving device' through an amendment to the Broadcasting Act."

She said that the DA strongly advises the SABC not to table this amendment in Parliament, and rather devote time to finding innovative ways to fund the public broadcaster.

"It is indeed possible for the SABC to stay afloat without seeking to further tax the already over-burdened South African taxpayer.

"The reason the SABC is currently in serious financial crisis is not because it does not have enough money; but because of corruption, financial mismanagement and a decline in advertising revenue," described Van Damme.

"The public should not have to pay for the SABC’s sins through additional TV license fees.

"Moreover, very few South African access SABC on their phones, computers and tablets. Why should they have to pay money to the SABC when they don't consume SABC products on those devices?"

She said that the SABC should focus on the following in order to improve its financial standing:

  • Recovering money lost through corruption;
  • Cost-cutting;
  • Improving the reputational damage caused by years of financial mismanagement;
  • Improving its content to reverse declining viewer - and listenership; and
  • Engagement with advertisers to bring them back to the SABC.

"The SABC can be profitable, it has been in the past - it just needs the right management in order to do so," Van Damme.

"The DA will continue to vigorously hold the SABC accountable, in order to ensure that it is able to deliver on its mandate to provide quality and entertainment and educational programming."