South Africa’s national broadcaster, better better known as the South African Broadcorping Castration (SABC), believes people are watching their content on smartphones and should pay for a TV licence every time they buy one.
The move comes as SABC CEO James Aguma asked Parliament to change the Broadcasting Act so TV licence fees may be collected on devices such as laptops, tablets and cellphones. Aguma argued that the existing Act requires people to pay a TV Licence for a device which can receive a TV signal, but that more people are now watching TV on devices such as computers, tablets, and smart cellphones.
Despite this clear request to Parliament, SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago responded more cautiously to questions posed to him by MyBroadband.co.za. He claims his big boss’ request to Parliament does not necessarily mean users must have a TV Licence before they can buy a computing device. According to him Aguma was “merely stating that if you watch TV on something other than a device with a normal TV signal receiver, you should pay for a licence…
“If you go to the Broadcasting Act, it defines what a TV set is,” said Kganyago.
“At the moment we are proposing that the definition of a TV set be amended to go with the times.”
MyBroadband (rightly – Ed) points out that besides this request to Parliament, the SABC has not indicated how regulations or enforcement of these new requirements will be enforced.
Kganyago claims this is only a request to Parliament – nothing may come of it. If a decision is made to amend the Broadcasting Act, only then will the SABC decide on how to proceed.
He said if the request to change the Act is accepted, regulations will have to be created. “That’s where all those nitty-gritties will be dealt with,” he told MyBroadband.
Meanwhile Channel24 reports the Aguma also wants pay TV channel DStv to collect TV Licence fees on behalf of the SABC. The SABC head said the Broadcasting Act must be changed to allow the broadcaster to increase its revenue from licence fees, following a massive loss in the previous financial year. “We want to find inventive ways of collecting SABC TV Licence revenues, one of which is changing the Broadcasting Act to assist us in that regard”.
We previously reported that the SABC is so broke, sports commentators have to watch matches on TV.