The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has told the Department of Communications that the SABC bill approved by Cabinet earlier this year needed to "redefine" the television license regime to put the public service broadcaster on a better footing when it comes to drawing revenue.
The broadcaster recommended a "household levy system" based on the possibility to access to SABC services rather than actual usage of it's license. SABC was making submissions to public hearings by the Department of Communications on Monday.
The SABC has been working through financial challenges for the better part of a decade and the difficulty it has experienced in collecting TV license fees adds to it's already difficult financial troubles.
"Unfortunately, the SABC Bill retains the out dated TV License system and does not take into account the SABC's view that it should be replaced by a technology neutral, public broadcasting household levy that would exempt the indigent and should be part-collected by the dominant pay TV operator," the SABC said.
The broadcaster said it was concerned that the bill retained the TV license fee regime which is tied to television sets, despite the proposal made by SABC for a complete change. The broadcaster said the German household levy model was implemented in 2013 and reaffirmed as constitutional in 2018 by the country's Federal Constitutional Court. The SABC also said that the SABC Bill should be informed by the Draft White Paper for Audio Audiovisual Content Services and the "recommended approach" will create policy certainty and save both the policy maker and stakeholders' costs of participation in this legislation development process.
The SABC also thanked the department for the opportunity to submit written presentations and said that it looked forward to further engagement on the finalization of the Audio Audiovisual Content Services policy and the development of industry legislation.
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