Broadcast Funding

Multichoice Will Not Help SABC Collect Proposed South African "Household TV Tax"

MultiChoice, a South African company that operates DStv, has said it will not make its infrastructure available to assist the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in collecting the proposed "household TV levy/tax".

According to the broadcaster, a policy submission by the SABC to the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies' Draft White Paper on Audio and Audiovisual Content Services revealed its proposal, which, according to the broadcaster, aims to modernise South Africa's broadcasting regulations.

Collen Dlamini, the Multichoice spokesperson, told BusinessDay that the current model is not in line with international best practice and should be eradicated. Dlamini further said, Multichoice does not support making Pay-TV operators collect the levy on behalf of the national broadcaster, but rather suggests that the SABC regulates the levy to ensure that it can be managed by South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Having Pay-TV operators collect the levies carries numerous logistical issues, including the fact that many South Africans are subscribers of multiple streaming services and are in ownership of more than one TV set.  This would make the collection a complicated and problematic task, said Dlamini.

In an earlier statement, the Deputy Minister of Communications Pinky Kekana said the status quo needs to change. We cannot fold our arms while we know that our public broadcaster is deteriorating. The proposals must be placed in the public domain. The government must decide whether they will fund the SABC directly or if the household levy should be implemented.

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