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Statement about a car radio licence is fake says SABC

  • On Monday a statement claiming the SABC would implement a R401 car radio licence fee generated buzz on social media.
  • The SABC has said the statement is false and that it has made no pronouncement about a car radio licence fee.
  • The false statement was believable given the SABC’s history of trying to include other electronics in its TV licence regulations.

Despite the rise of technology, radio is still a massive medium in South Africa. Not only is a radio cheap, one only needs a receiver to grab that signal from the air to get news, music and other entertainment.

Back in 2021, the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa reported – via Financial Mail – that 80 percent of South Africans listen to the radio at least once a week with on 20 percent of those listeners tuning in from a car and the rest from wireless at home.

With this context in mind, it was alarming to see a notice circulating on social media that claimed the SABC was about to implement a radio licence, similar to a TV licence.

The statement – which has since been said to be false by the SABC itself – was rather questionable for a number of reasons. For one the formatting was wrong compared to the SABC statements we’ve seen in the past. While the image circulating featured the SABC logo, the header lacked the SABC’s address as well as any sort of greeting before diving into the announcement.

The reddest flag of all was mention of legislation.

“Under the new section 69 of the telecommunications act of 1996, all South Africans who utilize motor vehicles with radios will be required to always carry a car Radio licence with them,” reads the fake statement. Anybody who has read a statement from a government entity regarding anything related to legislation follows a distinct style which you can see in this call for comment to amendments.

“The Minister of Transport intends, in terms of Section 155(1) of the Civil Aviation Act,2009 (Act No.13 of 2009),” reads the aforementioned example. Note the act number, the specific section and paragraph and more importantly, the correct capitalisation of words.

The false SABC statement continues to claim that South Africans will need to pay R401 per year for this licence which must be renewed annually.

That should’ve been the first sign this was a fake statement as that’s way more than a TV licence which is R336 per year. Beyond that the word licence is spelled two different ways in the statement and the referencing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is incorrect.

The SABC has said the statement is false and distanced itself from it.

“The SABC has not issued any media statement making such public pronouncements regarding licences for car radios,” the broadcaster said.

While false, this was rather believable given that the SABC has, in the past, floated the idea of charging a licence fee for tablets, smartphones and other electronics. For now, though, the only licence fee you need to worry about is the one for your TV.


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