DA slams SABC over request to push TV licence on smart-device owners

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The Democratic Alliance has lashed out at the SABC and its acting CEO James Aguma over proposals to make anyone watching TV on electronic devices pay for a TV licence.

In a sharply worded statement released today, DA Shadow Minister of Communications Phumzile Van Damme, said the part will oppose any attempt to make South Africans buy a TV licence when they buy a smartphone, tablet or computer.

“Yesterday, the SABC’s ccting GCEO, James Aguma, indicated that when purchasing a mobile phone, computer or tablet, South Africans will in future have to pay a TV license fee for those devices,” said Van Damme. “This would be achieved by changing the definition of ‘receiving device’ through an amendment to the Broadcasting Act.”

“The DA strongly advises the SABC not to table this amendment in Parliament, and rather devote time to finding innovative ways to fund the public broadcaster,” she said. “It is indeed possible for the SABC to stay afloat without seeking to further tax the already over-burdened South African taxpayer.”

Yesterday’s proposal by Aguma clearly shows that the SABC is scrabbling around for any means to increase its revenue streams, largely because mismanagement has led to a drop in its finances. On top of that, it seems more than a little cheeky to impose a license fee for owning a device may never watch SABC content through.

Here’s the thing; we at have no problem with the SABC asking consumers to pay for watching its content. But why not go about it some other way like by putting its online content behind a pay-wall or asking users to login to its sites and platforms using their TV licence number? Mind you, that might require some better management. Okay, forget we asked…