The SABC has reviewed its public broadcasting policy, and has sought to amend certain aspects of its policy, in light of its current financial difficulties.
The public broadcaster said it has noted that “in order for the Corporation to deliver on its public service mandate it requires financial sustainability,” in a statement released on Thursday.
The statement highlighted key points that must be focused on if the corporation is to survive. These include the following: “The review of legislation and regulations that have led to an exponential increase in the cost of public mandate programming, [reducing] potential revenue and creat[ing] unfair competitive conditions, namely the Broadcasting Act, the Electronic Communications Act (ECA), TV Licence Fee regulations, Sports Rights Regulations, Must Carry Regulations and DTT regulations; and Funding of the shortfall for public mandate programming.”
The statement calls for entities that sell television sets to have more rigorous regulations to ensure that TV licences have been purchased prior to buying a TV, in an effort to make everyone pay their TV licences. They suggest that these entities should include insurance companies and Pay TV operators.
The SABC also recommends that stricter enforcement and penalties for non-payment of licence fees be instilled, in order to promote and encourage “a culture of payment.”
According to TimesLIVE, the SABC’s existing TV licence fee of R265 has been unchanged since 2013. This equates to 72c per day, which SABC board chairman Bongumusa Makhathini said was very cheap, considering that there is almost nothing you can buy for that amount.
It adds that there are currently 9 million accounts registered on the SABC database, but only 1.8 million of those households pay their TV licences.
The statement added that moving away from an analogue-based model towards a digital, multichannel environment is a sustainable, long-term and viable option.
“ICASA will soon embark on the inquiry into the DTT broadcasting licensing framework and as such the SABC will engage ICASA during the inquiry process,” it explained.