While SABC CEO Madoda Mxakwe confirmed this week that the national broadcaster is effectively insolvent, the SABC and its team of debt collectors have only ramped up pressure on South Africans who have failed to pay their TV licences.
One of the ways that they have upped the ante is by contacting late-payers at their place of work.
Speaking to a BusinessTech journalist in October, a representative of one of these debt companies indicated that while it was relatively easy for TV licence holders to ignore personal calls and SMSes – it was more difficult to screen work calls.
While the representative was unable to verify how the debt collection service was able to obtain the BusinessTech journalist’s work number, he indicated that it could have been retrieved from the original TV licence application or as part of the debt collection process which would reveal an individual’s place of work.
In a follow-up call made by the same debt collection company, a representative indicated that the company would now begin adding monthly penalties in an effort to force non-payers into action.
He indicated that in addition to the outstanding annual amount for the TV licence, an additional debt collection fee had been attached – bringing the total running total to R516.
The representative indicated that a once-off fee of R70 would now also be added to this amount for failing to pay within the 30-day period after the SABC had handed over the debt to his collection agency.
In addition, he said that the debt agency would be attaching a recurring amount of R26 on the first of every month should non-payment continue.
This would effectively increase the outstanding TV licence amount by close to R100, and the running total over the R600 mark.
As a ‘special offer’ to help pay for this outstanding amount, the representative said it was now also possible to pay over two or even three months.
This amount could be paid over instalments of between R200 – R300 a month for convenience purposes, or in the event customers are unable to afford the full running total, he said.
However, the representative was unable to confirm over the phone the amount of interest that would be added to these installments or what the total payment amount would be.