If you listened to a your favourite radio station or you have a TV, even if it is not switched on, then according to South African law you are obligated to pay for a TV Licence. Like it or not, in terms of the Broadcasting Act, No 4 of 1999, as amended, any person or entity that has in its possession and/or uses a TV set. Furthermore, a licence remains payable, irrespective of whether a television set in one’s possession is used or not – so the excuse of having a TV in the garage that is old and switched off, is not going to cut it.
There are 6 types of TV licences in South Africa:
- A domestic licence, previously known as a private licence, for households and/or individuals, authorising the use of the licensed set(s) at the user’s registered residential premises only;
- A concessionary domestic licence
- A business licence, for entities (including government departments) using TV sets in their business/commercial activities or on premises occupied for business purposes
- A dealer licence, for businesses selling TV sets
- A lessor licence, for businesses renting out television sets
- A mobile licence, for a TV set in any vehicle, caravan, mobile home, vessel or aircraft used for private purposes.
This started to get really confusing at the Act makes provisions for different scenarios of holiday homes, family using your TV, people not married living together with multiple TV etc. Therefore the SABC suggests making contact with them so they can advise what amount needs to be paid.
Gaming Console TV needs to be licenced
There are many people who simply don’t have an aerial on their roof nor do they have a DSTV subscription. The TV is used only for their gaming console or to watch movies downloaded onto their media centres. According to the ACT, the TV is defined as any device designed or adapted to be capable of receiving a broadcast television signal. Therefore this includes computers that have a TV tuner card, tablets or phones that have the DSTV Drifta connected to it and even TV connected just to gaming consoles or media centres. All these require the owner to pay the R265 annual licence fee.
6 month Jail Time
Failure to pay the annual licences results in your accounts being handed over to the SABC’s lawyers for debt collection. If payments are late, then your account incurs a penalty of 10% per month to a maximum of 100% per annum. If you still refuse to pay for your licence, then a court may find you guilty of breaking the South African Law and fine you R500.00 or you could serve up to 6 month imprisonment, or both.
There is an App for That
In order to assist South Africans in paying for their TV Licence, the SABC has latched onto the mobile app trend and has developed the TV Licence Manager App. Available for Android, iOS and Windows, the app allows you to manage you TV Licence account. The app uses geo-location find physical pay-points, allows the user to make online payments to their TV Licence account, update their contact details, view their statement, log a query and add an additional TV licence. All from the comfort of the phone. The app works well on my Android phone and does exactly what it “says on the box”.
I spoke to Riaan Baatjies, Systems Manager, Audience Services Division at SABC about the motivation behind creating a TV Licence App who said that the App is aimed at “increasing self-service functionality available to our licence holders and reduce calls to the Customer Services call centre. Licence holders don’t have to call the Call Centre to do any of the following: View Statement, Update Details, Log Query, Make Payment, or find nearest Pay Point”
The app was commissioned by Riaan Baatjies as one of the Systems Department’s strategies for FY2013/14. A Budget of R800 000 was put aside for the app development, however “in the end the solution was developed in-house saving the corporation almost R1m.”
The TV Licence Manager has had just over 5000 downloads so far but Riaan confirms that the official marketing campaign will be starting in November 2014.
*headline image from Shutterstock.com