Pinky Kekana gets dragged over streaming service TV licence collection plan

Communications Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana says coding should be introduced as a compulsory subject in schools. PHOTO: GCIS

Speaking in her capacity as deputy minister, Kekana added that the suggestion for steaming services and DSTV to help collect licence fees is in line with government’s proposal to help the SABC improve its financial position.

Following news of her presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on Tuesday, Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana’s name has been dragged through the mud.

This follows her sharing the news that the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has proposed that a new regulation be implemented to expand the definition of a TV licence to include streaming services such as Netflix.

According to the day’s agenda, the purpose of the meeting was to allow the SABC to brief Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications on:

  1. The Skills Audit Report
  2. Detailed expenditure patterns relating to legal proceedings
  3. Breakdown of costs associated with signal distribution by Sentech
  4. Details of all companies contracted to the SABC as well as the monies associated to the contracts and
  5. All other outstanding recommendations made by the Committee, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, the SABC Editorial Forum, and the Unions (CWU and BEMAWU) on their responses relating to matters raised with the Committee during engagements with SABC internal stakeholders.

According to Kekana’s portion of the presentation, the public broadcaster would like to see the definition of a TV licence expanded, as the current version is outdated and needs to be adjusted to current realities.

Under the new regulation, the SABC would like to see pay-TV service providers like MultiChoice (DStv) and video on demand providers like Netflix, ShowMax (owned by Multichoice), Amazon Prime, Apple TV and others collect TV licences on behalf of the SABC.

This has been compared to municipalities collecting traffic fines and motor vehicle licence discs.

Speaking in her capacity as deputy minister, Kekana added that this suggestion is in line with government’s proposal to help the SABC improve its financial position and added that allowing the public broadcaster to collect licence fees from non-TV users would go a long way towards achieving this.

“Including engaging with those who have been carrying the SABC programmes on their pay-TV, how do we through ICASA make sure that they too are able to assist us to collect TV licences?” asked Kekana.

“But we are not only limiting it to TV. We also have other platforms where people consume content and in all of those areas, that is where we should look at how we are able to get SABC licence fees from those gadgets.”

Among those gadgets mentioned by Kekana are laptops, tablets, and smartphones which would make users/owners subject to licence fees should the new proposal be pushed through.

DA MP and Shadow Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Phumzile Van Damme is vehemently against this proposal and has urged South African Citizens who feel the same to submit their views to government as the proposal is still a draft and therefore open for public comment.

Those who wish to submit their comments can click here. 

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