SABC: Future And Nature Of TV Licensing In South Africa To Be Decided Imminently
The future framework for the viability and sustenance of the TV license as a funding plank for the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) is set to be settled with the next few months. The South African minister for Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has asserted that the public consultation process will run it course up until mid-February 2021, after which the government should spell out its proposals of the TV licence framework.
Ms Ndabeni-Abrahams department's Draft White paper stated - with reference the SABC financing through the TV license mechanism - that" Provisions of the financial matters and staffing of the Corporation are necessary. However, they require review and consequential amendments to the TV licence fee section to broaden the definition and collection system for television licences and strengthen enforcement mechanisms and penalties of non-payment. And the achievement of the above will be determined by the submissions expected from all South Africans towards the draft White Paper," Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
As the SABC is obliged to receive a chunk of its funding from the TV License mechanism, the Corporation has been lobbying for a revamped modality for the South African TV Licence framework, with the SABC Head of TV Licences, Sylvia Tladi quoted as recently saying that:
"We are of the view that the regulation is outdated. Bear in mind that the Broadcasting Act was last amended in 1999, whereas the TV licence regulations are 16 years old. In that time, there has been a significant development in how content is being consumed."
Ms Tladi said that the SABC is focused on "expanding the definition of the TV-set to include devices such as smartphones." She and her colleagues at the Corporation will seek to work with the likes of Multichoice and Netflix to help ensure payments and collections of the amount that are due. The SABC will press for regulation to back these items if need be, Ms Tladi suggested.