Government departments owe millions in unpaid TV licence fees

And millions more are owed to the broadcaster's advertising division

21 December 2020 - 15:00
The SABC's 2019/20 annual report showed a drop in both its TV licence revenue and in its advertising revenue. File photo.
The SABC's 2019/20 annual report showed a drop in both its TV licence revenue and in its advertising revenue. File photo.
Image: Tyrone Arthur

Government institutions owe the SABC more than R57m in unpaid TV licence and advertising fees.

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams revealed that 20 national and 126 provincial departments, 57 state-owned entities and 249 municipality accounts owe the broadcaster a combined R28.2m on TV licence fees, while R29.2m is owed to the broadcaster's advertising division.

Ndabeni-Abrahams revealed this in a written parliamentary reply to DA MP Phumzile Van Damme, who wanted details about money owed to the public broadcaster by government institutions.

The minister's response showed that three national departments, 24 provincial government departments, six municipalities and eight SOEs owed the SABC's sales division R29.2m for advertising.

The three national departments that owe just over R13m for advertising are government communications (GCIS) and the departments of health and trade and industry. Provincial departments owe the SABC R9.2m for advertising and the outstanding amount is R4.5m for SOEs and R2.3m for municipalities.

On TV licences, national departments owe the SABC almost R1.7m, while provinces owe R18.7m, R6.3m is owed by municipalities and SOEs owe a combined R1.6m.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said the SABC continues to follow processes to collect outstanding debts by communicating these balances to the departments and SOEs.

“However, special additional campaigns commenced in the month of October with priority on SOEs,” she said. 

She said SABC group CEO Madoda Mxakwe was writing to all the affected departments and municipalities in this regard.

TV licences remain a contentious topic, with only about 25% of licence holders paying up.  

The SABC's 2019/20 annual report showed a drop in both its TV licence revenue and in its advertising revenue.

The broadcaster said its total revenue had declined 12% year-on-year to R5.7bn and the decline was largely attributed to declining advertising spend and a delay in finalising some of the commercial partnerships for the SABC on digital platforms.

TV licence revenue declined 18% year-on-year to R791m.

This is largely due to delayed use of debt collecting agencies. As part of the overall policy review, we have submitted a proposal to the shareholder for the future collection of a collection levy,” said Mxakwe in November. 

TimesLIVE


X