SABC seeks household tax for TV fee

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South Africa’s public broadcaster, SABC, wants the government to create a “household tax” on every home to fund its activities.

“The current TV licence fee system should be scrapped and replaced with a device-independent, tech-neutral household levy for public broadcasting, which would levy all households, with exemption for the indigent and discounts for pensioners,” said SABC in its submission to government ahead of a White paper on AV services.

It also wants pay-TV operator DStv/MultiChoice to collect the tax from its subscribers.

The SABC proposal covers terrestrial transmissions as well as new digital services, DTH broadcasting, Internet or wireless-based streaming.

“This proposal must be seen in the current market context after decades of prejudicial legislation and regulation against the SABC, including the must-carry regulations, which have obliged the SABC to provide its three free-to-air channels to subscription broadcasters for free (since 2008); sports broadcasting regulations, which failed to protect the public broadcaster from anticompetitive bundling of rights and unfair sublicensing criteria (since 2004); and the failure by the regulator to implement any limitations on advertising on subscription broadcasters as intended by the Electronic Communications Act in 2005,” added the SABC submission.


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