A few weeks ago we wrote that the SABC was up to its usual shenanigans, trying to squeeze extra money out of South Africa by applying to be made a public service media broadcaster. This move would effectively require people to pay the broadcaster an annual levy, even if they didn’t actually consume any media produced by the corporation. We now know a little more about this suggested ‘TV tax’ thanks to a report from the Sunday Times.
The SABC reportedly wants South African households to pay a R265 levy, if they could potentially make use of the its services. That ‘could’ is important because it means that even if you don’t actually watch TV, you’ll still have to pay the tax. Because you have the potential to watch something the SABC produced. The levy will apply to your home if you stream Netflix on your phone or listen to Spotify on a laptop; basically, if you own a device that you could allow you watch something on SABC, you owe them money. Which, as we all know, is complete garbage.
Does… does the SABC even have a plan?
The report from the Sunday Times paints a rather comical picture of what the SABC is trying to pull off here. Apparently they want Multichoice, the other major broadcasting corporation in Africa, to help collect the tax for the SABC. Of course, DStv has already said that it finds the plan to be “inappropriate and unfeasible” because yeah, it definitely is exactly that.
Still, maybe put your pitchforks down for a second. This is just a proposal put forward by deputy minister of Communications Pinky Kekana and any additional levies will need to be approved by Finance minister Tito Mboweni. For those who actually pay a TV license annually, it won’t change anything except the payment method, since the levy would replace TV licenses entirely.
“The household levy is founded on the fact that every single South African household has the realistic ability to access public broadcasting content, whether via analogue free-to-air TV and radio platforms or via DTT, DTH, the internet and streaming services through several mobile apps,” said the SABC in the proposal submitted to parliament towards the end of February.
It makes sense that the SABC wants the tax in place. More and more South Africans are moving away from traditional television and turning to streaming services, which mostly offer better value for money and better service. This also lines up with the SABC starting its own streaming service, which may be distributed by Sentech. One can only hope that such a levy isn’t put into place because, as you no doubt already know, it’s utterly ridiculous.
Source: The Sunday Times