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Fewer South Africans believe they should be paying for their TV licences - survey

22 September 2019 - 12:35 By Orrin Singh
SABC proposed a 5% increase in TV licence fees on Friday
SABC proposed a 5% increase in TV licence fees on Friday
Image: Waldo Swiegers. (C) Sunday Times.

The number of South Africans who believe they should be paying for TV licences is on the decline.

According to South African research company, Citizen Surveys, only 40% of South Africans believe that not paying their TV licences is wrong and that they should be punished by the law. This is down from 49% in 2018.

Reza Omar, director at Citizen Surveys, said: "At the beginning of last year, 13% of South Africans did not see any issues with those who do not pay their TV licences. This rose significantly, where in the second quarter of 2019, 21% of South Africans believed there is nothing wrong with not paying."

The research was to provide key insights on South Africans’ views on paying their SABC TV licences. These statistics were based on face-to-face interviews with 3,900 people per quarter.

The release of the survey came in the wake of an announcement made by the SABC that they wanted a 5% hike in TV licence fees.

On Friday, the public broadcaster asked the minister of communications and digital technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams to review and amend the legislation governing TV licence tariff fees with a view to increasing the tariff.

"The revenue derived from the payment of TV licences assists the organisation with the procurement of local and international content. In the 2017/2018 financial year, the SABC collected close to R1bn in TV licence fees, which amounted to about 15% of the organisation's total revenue," said SABC spokesperson Vuyo Mthembu.

A 5% increase will see the annual fee of R265 jump by R13 to R278.

Over 2.6 million South Africans are paying, or have fully paid, their TV licences, while at least seven million stop paying in their second year, it was reported.

The SABC did not say when it was looking at increasing the tariff but its financial situation is so dire that it has even announced it is unable to broadcast the upcoming Rugby World Cup.