TV licences for smartphones and PCs still on the cards, despite major SABC revamp

Despite the firing of former SABC CEO James Aguma, his proposal of requiring a TV licence when owning a computer or smartphone is still on the cards, according to the SABC.

“It must be noted that this was a suggestion by the then acting group CEO, James Aguma,” said SABC spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, speaking to The Citizen.

“Should the SABC decide to pursue this, the proper process will be followed and an official public notice published in the Government Gazette, as payment of TV licence fees is a legislated obligation in the Broadcasting Act,” he said.

This decision was likely influenced by continuing non-compliance from license holders which drastically cuts into the state broadcaster’s revenue.

“Only about 45% of licence holders complied (in 2016/2017),” said Kganyago.

“The major step is for the SABC to restore its relationship with the licence holders. This will be done through various positive marketing and advertising campaigns, with the first phase launched in April 2017,” he said.

In May 2017, Aguma initially proposed the idea of  a TV licence for their computers, cellphones and tablets to Parliament’s portfolio committee on communications as a means of addressing revenue shortfalls.

Aguma indicated that the SABC were budgeting for lower revenue from SABC TV licences this year, but that by amending the Broadcasting Act to make it mandatory for people to pay a TV licence for more devices they view content on, it would be able to make up for the decreased revenue.

Read: Multichoice and M-Net warn that piracy is going up, and local content is going down: report

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TV licences for smartphones and PCs still on the cards, despite major SABC revamp