SABC wants TV licence price to rise

The SABC wants a 5% increase in the cost of a TV licence.
The SABC wants a 5% increase in the cost of a TV licence.
Image: Tyrone Arthur

The SABC wants to hike TV licence fees by 5%.

The public broadcaster has asked the minister of communications and digital technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to review and amend the legislation governing TV licence tariff fees with a view of increasing the tariff.

"The revenue derived from the payment of TV licences assists the organisation with the procurement of local and international content. In the 2017/2018 financial year, the SABC collected close to R1bn in TV licence fees, which amounted to about 15% of the organisation's total revenue," said SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu.

A 5% increase will see the annual fee of R265 jump by R13 to R278.

Over 2.6-million South Africans are paying, or have fully paid, their TV licences while at least seven million stop paying in their second year.

The SABC did not say when it was looking at increasing the tariff but its financial situation is so dire that it has even announced it is unable to broadcast the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

However, the DA said the increase would hurt the pockets of South African citizens.

"The DA is opposed to any additional [increase] - what would be in essence - taxation of already over-burdened South African taxpayers, as well as those who are impoverished and struggling to put food on the table," said DA communications shadow minister Phumzile van Damme.

"We call on the public broadcaster to find new revenue streams to stay afloat instead of imposing increases to TV licence fees."

The Special Investigation Unit on Tuesday told the standing committee on public accounts in parliament it was on a drive to recover R560m the SABC lost through irregular contracts.

The department of communications did not confirm if it was granting the request.

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