The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) will move ahead with its plans to increase TV licence fees.
Presenting in parliament on Tuesday (17 September), SABC board chairperson Bonamisa Makhatini said that the national broadcaster could not continue to run on the equivalent of 72 cents a day.
“How much do you pay a guy who is looking after your car at a parking mall? Surely you pay them more than 72 cents? There are more South Africans who can afford to pay R1 a day.
“If you won’t pay a guy who looks after your car 72 cents, what about the SABC which gives you 19 radio stations, five TV channels, and who plays such a critical mandate in educating, informing and entertaining our general public.”
He added that it may be possible to change legislation at a later date to protect the country’s indigent people from fee increases.
While Makhatini did not comment on how much the SABC was looking to increase licence fees, raising fees to R1 a day would see an effective increase of R100 from the current annual fee of R265 to R365.
This change can not be made unilaterally by the SABC and would require an amendment of the national broadcasting act as well as permission from the minister of communications.
One of the key problems with raising TV licences is the issue of compliance with the broadcaster reporting a compliance level of just 27.8% in October last year.
In August, Makhatini said that there are 9.6 million TV licence accounts in South Africa with 2.2 million paying and 455,000 on instalment.
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.