‘SABC is ripping me off,’ says local man

2015-08-04 09:23
Ken Newman holds his TV licence bill that shows he has paid for the licence for the year 2015.

Ken Newman holds his TV licence bill that shows he has paid for the licence for the year 2015. (Jonathan Burton)

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A PIETERMARITZBURG man has accused the public broadcaster, the SABC, of extortion after it demanded thousands of rands in unpaid TV licence fees — despite his licence being paid up.

“My lawyer says this is unjustifiable enrichment and it is illegal. The SABC is attempting to enrich themselves at the expense of the elderly,” said Ken Newman.

Newman (66) said he recently went to purchase a new TV but found he had been blocked from being issued a valid TV licence until he paid the money the SABC claims he owes.

The public broadcaster said Newman owes them about R4 129,40 dating back to 2009.

The crux of the problem is that there are two account numbers for TV licence fees in Newman’s name.

He has an account number that he obtained in 2006 when he purchased his first TV set.

In 2009, the SABC then issued him with another account number, demanding payment in the region of R5 000, which it said was in arrears.

Newman has refused to pay this account. He has, however, continued to pay his original account with his last payment being in February this year.

“Because of this mix-up, they have refused to issue me a valid TV licence,” he said. “I bought my first television set in 2006 and I have been paying my fees every year. I do not owe them any money. I only have one TV, I do not know anything about this second account number.

“I am not going to pay that money. Why should I pay for two accounts when I only have one TV set; it’s unfair.”

In a letter dated May 28, 2011, Newman told the lawyers representing the SABC that he did not owe them money and they had an incorrect account number.

“It’s not that they are demanding this payment which I do not owe, the amount they are also demanding is ridiculous. How did they arrive at that amount?”

In 2011 when the broadcaster wrote to Newman, it claimed he owed about R4 879,40 in fees. It offered him a discount saying if he paid, he would only pay R2 797,50 and all the outstanding penalties of R2 081,90 will be reversed.

The last document produced from a retail store where Newman tried to buy the television set in December, said the amount had dropped to R4 129,40

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  sabc

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