The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has drafted and sent a proposal to increases TV licences fees to communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
This is according to DA shadow minister of communications, Phumzile Van Damme, citing a parliamentary meeting on Wednesday (28 August).
While it was not specified how much fees would increase by, Van Damme said that the DA is opposed to any additional taxation of already over-burdened South African taxpayers.
“We call on the public broadcaster to find new revenue streams to stay afloat instead of imposing increases to TV licence fees” she said.
“The SABC needs to find innovative measures to strengthen their collection of revenue as poor South Africans will, without doubt, be unlikely to afford increased licence fees.”
The current annual TV licence fee is R265 a year. South Africans are required by law to pay for a TV licence if they wish to use devices which can function as a television.
This includes second-hand TVs, as they are still capable of receiving a broadcast television signal, which is the definition of a television set in section 27 of the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999.
In the same meeting, SABC Group chief financial officer Yolande van Biljon said that the broadcaster is technically insolvent and is struggling to honour payments to service providers and contractual obligations.
Some suppliers who have won bids at the SABC have indicated their unwillingness to take up the contracts due to their financial dire straits, she said.
There are instances where the broadcaster is unable to honour payments and even [unable] to adhere to committed contracts, “which means we often need to renegotiate because we have been unable to meet the requirements,” van Biljon said.
“Currently, the organisation is technically insolvent. We are also under tremendous strain towards being factually insolvent as a result of our liquidity issues. Cash is depleted and the trade and other payables amount to R1.8 billion as at June 2019.
“There are a number of significant suppliers that make this up, notably Sentech (R554 million), our signal distribution provider; Supersport, Samro and various other content providers (amount to R174 million). We have monthly engagements with all these parties,” she said.