DA starts petition against SABC TV licence plan for Netflix, DStv

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The DA has started an online petition.
The DA has started an online petition.
Photo: Glenn Carstens-Peters/Unsplash
  • The DA has started a petition against the government's plans to introduce new legislation to force viewers to pay for a SABC TV licence for smartphones and tablets.
  • The draft proposal also wants to enforce a 30% local content quota on streaming services.
  • "You should not have to pay a cent more to keep the SABC afloat!" says the party


The Democratic Alliance (DA) has started a petition against the ANC-led government's controversial plan to introduce new legislation to force viewers to pay for a SABC TV Licence for smartphones and tablets. It would force video streamers and pay-TV operators like MultiChoice to collect SABC TV Licence fees from subscribers by adding it to their bills.

"You should not have to pay a cent more to keep the SABC afloat! The public has already had to suffer the consequences of the billions in bailouts the SABC has received via the public purse," says the DA political party in its new online petition. "The SABC must find creative ways to self-sustain and break even without making people like you fork out any more money."

"Given the emergence of streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV+, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video and others, the department of communications and digital technologies proposes broadening the definition of a 'broadcasting service' to include online broadcasting services," says the DA.

"This means that you would have to pay a SABC TV Licence fee for watching any 'broadcasting services', including streaming services, regardless of whether it's on a TV, a computer or a phone."

The DA joins the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) thats submission to the controversial plan asks: "Why should Netflix and DStv be obliged to collect revenue on behalf of another entity and how will this initiative be facilitated? Furthermore, how will the money be collected and then handed over to the SABC?"

READ MORE | Scrap the SABC TV licence scheme, says OUTA

"How will subscribers practically be managed because Netflix and DStv subscribers may signup and cancel at any time?"

The financially struggling South African public broadcaster that once again suspended its retrenchment process until 2021 due to political and trade union pressure, made a net loss of R511 million for its 2019/2020 financial year and is on track to make a loss in excess of R1.2 billion in the next financial year.

Less than a third of South African TV households that the SABC is aware of as having a SABC TV Licence still bothers to pay it.

The proposal to shift the burden of collecting SABC TV Licence fees on behalf of the SABC is contained in the Draft White Paper on Audio and Audio-visual Content Services Policy Framework: A New Vision for South Africa 2020.

Besides making private companies responsible for collecting SABC TV Licence fees because the SABC is unable to, the draft proposal also wants to force local and international video streaming services like Netflix, Showmax, Amazon Prime Video and others in future, to carry at least 30% local content in the country.

READ MORE | SA wants to force a 30% local content quota on streamers like Netflix – here’s why it’s a bad idea

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