Broadcast Funding

Here's How The SABC's Proposed New TV Funding Will Operate

The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation has shed more light on how its proposal for a new funding mechanism will work. Already dubbed by many as the "SABC Household Tax, the corporations said its new proposition is based on the idea that every South Africa household has the "ability to access public broadcasting content, whether via analogue free-to-air TV and radio platforms or DTT, DTH, the internet and streaming services through several mobile apps."

The SABC, therefore, proposes that "the current TV licence fee system should be scrapped and replaced with a device-independent, tech-neutral household levy for public broadcasting, which would levy all households, with the exemption for the indigent and discounts for pensioners".

The public broadcaster insists that the new household levy, as proposed, will be closely linked to access to public broadcasting content instead of on the consumption of the content. In effect, under the new levy system, it would not matter whether you watch or listen to SABC programming; you will still need to pay if it is adjudged that you have access.

Industry sources say that the SABC is pointing to German law as precedence. In 2018, a German Constitutional Court upheld the household-based levy system's implementation - similar to what is currently being proposed by SABC. The court in Germany is reported to have approved this because it was "specifically for the financing of public service programming that is fundamental to democracy."

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