The SABC wants MultiChoice to collect a proposed public broadcasting household tax – which is intended to replace its current TV Licence fee – from DStv subscribers.
This is according to the public broadcaster’s policy submissions for the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies’ draft White Paper on Audio Audiovisual Content Services.
The draft policy document has proposed a raft of regulatory changes to the Broadcasting Act, among which it was suggested that streaming-capable devices such as laptops and tablets would carry a TV Licence fee.
The SABC, however, has now stated it is not in favour of licensing or charging any devices or technology in lieu of a public broadcasting levy.
Instead, it said the current TV licence fee system should be scrapped and replaced with a device-independent, tech-neutral household levy for public broadcasting.
“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,” the SABC said.
“Therefore, the levy is linked to the public’s ability to access public broadcasting content rather than on the consumption of that content,” it added.
This tax would be levied on all households, with an exemption for the indigent and discounts for pensioners.
The broadcaster said that a similar household levy system was upheld as constitutional by the German Constitutional Court in 2018 as it was “specifically for the financing of public service programming that is fundamental to democracy.
The German court also found that even if a household does not use public broadcasting, they have a “realistic ability to use it.
In other news – South Africa moves to Lockdown Level 1
South Africa will go to level 1 lockdown with immediate effect, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday night. The country has now clearly passed the second wave,“ Ramaphosa said.
He credited the public health measures and changes in behaviour by the public for the decline in infections. Learn more