Skip to main content

Government not backing down on TV licence fee for smartphones

Woman with smartphone
(Image credit: Future)

The government have made it clear they are not backing down when it comes to expanding the definitions of TVs as part of their new draft policy framework. 

The White Paper includes smartphones, laptops and tablets under the definition of "TV' which makes it an imperative for almost every South African to then pay for a TV licence. 

During a Parliament sitting, Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams responded to a question by DA deputy chief whip in the National Assembly, Michael Waters on the necessity of this expansion - saying it was necessary because the SABC is facing financial challenges. 

The SABC has been struggling financially following years of endless corruption and mismanagement. 

Poor payment of TV licences is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to the issues the SABC faces. As a result, the opposition and much of the public don't believe that expanding the scope of TV licence requirements is fair. 

Ndabeni-Abrahams also said that the enforcement of these licences will be stricter and carried out more efficiently than they are now. This is likely possible as confirming a person has a TV in their home is a lot more difficult than confirming they have a smartphone. 

Have your say 

The public can still submit comment on the White Paper by the 15 February 2021. The DA has urged those writing in to specifically ask for the broadened scope of the TV licences to be amended.   

Leila Stein

Leila Stein is an experienced multimedia journalist and content producer with a special interest in data journalism. she is skilled in news writing, editing, online writing and multimedia content production and have a Bachelor of Journalism  from Rhodes University and an Honours in Historical Studies from University of Cape Town.