The SABC wants to raise its TV licence fee, says its chairperson Bongumusa Makhathini. The reason? Not to improve its service but simply to improve its revenue.
During a public chinwag Makhathini said that the TV licence fee is a major source of income for the SABC and must be increased. Quoted by MyBroadband.co.za, Makathini said: “TV licence fees still remain the second largest source of revenue for the SABC, but we need to rebase the fee and strengthen the collection of this revenue.”
“There are currently 1.8 million TV licence-paying households and businesses out of a total of nine million accounts on the SABC database,” he lamented.
A TV licence fee is priced at R265 per year, which is equal to around R0.72 per day, and has remained unchanged since 2013.
“In September 2018, I think we can all agree that there is very little, if anything, you can buy for 72c a day,” Makhathini said.
He suggested that the license price be frequent increases in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). If this happened over the past years, the price of a TV licence would now be R517.75.
“It is recommended that the legislation, policy, and regulations in respect of television licence fees should be amended to cater for annual tariff increase in line with CPI, subject to ministerial approval.”
CPI is the Consumer Price Index, and tracks the rate of change in the prices of goods and services purchased by consumers.
Makhathini argued that raised fees would aid in funding the public broadcasting mandate, adding that a low percentage of television owners actually pay their TV licence.
“While 1.8 million paying accounts is a relatively small percentage, we believe that a credible, trusted, and properly-run public broadcaster can create a culture of increased TV licence payment.”
The SABC also wants retailers to crack down on TV licence checks at the point of sale and aims to enforce greater compliance on the payment of fees.
The public broadcaster also recommended stricter enforcement and penalties for nonpayment of licence fees.