THE BIG DEBATE BURSTS BACK - WITH REDI TLHABI

Thursday, May 25, 2017

SABC: Pay your R265 TV licence, get R500 discount from Shoprite Checkers in return.


The out-of-cash and struggling SABC is now telling people to pay their SABC TV licence of R265 for which they will get R500 discount from Shoprite Checkers in return.

After offering free funeral in August 2016 for those who pay their TV licence, the SABC is now promising a discount from Checkers that's worth more than the TV licence amount.

Again teetering on the verge of bankrupty after its government bailout of R1.47 billion in 2009, the SABC is now sending out messages to people imploring them to pay their R265 TV licence to get "R500 discount at Shoprite Checkers".

While South Africa's number of TV households continue to grow at a rapid pace, less than a third of TV viewers pay their SABC TV licence fees.

The beleaguered public broadcaster is projecting its revenue from its TV licence stream to fall another 8% this year compared to the previous financial year although it keeps spending more and more money on TV licence collection.

The SABC's acting CEO James Aguma told parliament earlier this month that the SABC wants the Broadcasting Act changed so that people are forced to pay for a TV licence for more viewing devices like tablets, computers and smart phones.

James Aguma also said the SABC wants commercial broadcasters and pay-TV operators like MultiChoice running the DStv satellite pay-TV platform to be compelled to "collect TV licences on behalf of the SABC".

Earlier this year he told parliament that the SABC wrote off a staggering R17.7 billion in outstanding TV licence fees, that over 400 000 accounts on its system were invalid, and that the SABC had sent demands to "grannies owing R15 000" and dead people who can't pay.

He said the South African public responded aggressively over SABC TV licence demands the past few years, sending the SABC expletives but that the SABC decided to recently change its approach.

In a poll on the news app NetNuus, South Africans are however pouring scorn on the SABC's latest TV licence payment enticement, saying they won't be paying and wondering how the Checkers discount is even possible.

"Math at its best," said Anneke Piek. "R265 licence and I get R500 groceries. Loss for the SABC of R235. What a joke."

"I'm now going to Checkers to spend R265 and then I will get 1 Little Shop. Forget the licence," said Trevor Koshter.

"They can just take my Checkers discount and then they owe me R500 - R265 = R235. That they can just pay directly to MultiChoice," said Gerrie Labuschagne.

The SABC is hovering on the brink of financial collapse, barely able to pay staff and no longer able to pay all TV producers who it only wants to pay 25% monthly.

The SABC is awaiting another government bailout in the form of another government-guaranteed bank loan from the treasury, organised through the department of communications.

The new minister of communications, Ayanda Dlodlo, has so far declined to mention the amount the SABC requested in a bailout from treasury that's being made through her department.