South Africa’s parliament is to issue a draft Bill on how the nation could collect television licence fees in the future.
A report from the country’s Government Communications and Information System regarding a recent cabinet meeting stated that the Bill proposes reforms in the SABC’s funding model and the TV licensing system.
Two alternates are being mooted:
One would see a new ‘household levy’ created so that the estimated 76 per cent of licence non-payers would be brought into the revenue system.
Option 2 would be to keep the existing TV licence but expand it to cover ownership of computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The government is also looking to force third-parties and private broadcasters to collect the fees. MultiChoice/DStv, reportedly, is far from keen on this idea; MultiChoice argues that it is a direct competitor to the nation’s SABC public broadcaster. Moreover, it is required by law to protect its customers privacy and any new law may be a direct contravention of that obligation. Questions have also been raised on who would pay for the collection and administration of the fee payments.