I think the time has come that we ask this question and evaluate the merits of the on-going payment of TV licenses.
Whilst traveling on an airplane I sat next to an American gentleman and we got to talking about South Africa, politics and the race issues (he was a black gentleman and was interested in progress). When we discussed the wide array of taxes in SA, he was surprised, and when I mentioned TV licenses he laughed out loud yelling "A TV tax ???".
You see TV licenses are just another form of tax we pay - but unlike e-tolls the user pays principal seems to have been discarded. To be fair the TV license isn't all that much (although every little bit adds up), most people don't pay it, and the quality of what is on TV is largely poor. Never mind the mismanagement of the board.
The REAL negative to the TV tax we pay is the cost of collection. For the amount we pay, the cost of collection agencies to try and get the money out of us, and the cost of TV "agents" running around trying to see your printed license (which often doesn't arrive) - I just can't see how the maths adds up.
I am convinced it costs MORE to collect our TV license fees than we pay in. It would be more efficient simply to allocate money to the SABC much like government allocates money to all of the other state owned organs.
Surely however the best thing to do with the SABC would be to :
1) Roll out the digital TV stuff asap
2) Cut all the "free" content to just one channel which would cut the costs immensely, but allow an improvement in quality
3) Sell a "premium" package like DSTV does with additional channels with premium content - perhaps modelled after how the BBC or NBC do it
4) Out of profits support the local film industry but require quality over quantity to create world class programming for the SABC channel.
This would eliminate the need for an "additional" tax in the form of TV licenses, would eliminate the criminalisation of ordinary citizens who "don't pay" for a TV license. If this was the stated plan of the SABC I would understand the need for a TV license for a year or two more (to fund the digital rollout).
Put me (or someone else who will implement this) on the SABC board if you like my plan !
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