Piracy is mostly done because the industry is money hungry and greedy. Pirating also gives you access to content otherwise not available in the country. There is also the freedom to watch what you want
It doesn't need to be free though. You simply need three tiers of payment for your content.
1) Ad supported -aka SABC tier. Your content will be disrupted with adverts. Except unlike the SABC, Youtube can do targeted advertising.
2) Partially ad supported -aka DSTV tier. Your content won't be disrupted with adverts, but there will be adverts before you watch. But requires a low monthly subscription.
3) Consumer supported - aka Netflix tier. Your content won't have any adverts, but it mandates a reasonable monthly subscription.
Which requires more effort:
To log into Youtube to watch an episode of your content at a decent quality with a few adverts that sits nicely on a playlist and remembers where you watched, or to scour the net trying to find the pirated version that doesn't have any adverts.
People will go for Youtube 100% of the time if they could. Which is why if I were the SABC, I would offer all the shows that they produce on Youtube and just collect the advertising money. They would get far more than through the non-payment of TV licences.
I have showmax and netflix and i still download a couple of shows because they are not available on the platforms which are available or they are two or three seasons behind. until all content we watch is readily available, people shall pirate.
The excuse is that content is licensed per region, with distribution times to deal with giving movie theaters exclusive rights for a time, and then pay-channels some exclusive time, and then give DVD sales & rentals some time, before finally being shown on free-to-air channels.
Which all falls flat with online distribution. The public can see it but the executives want to use the law to defend their disrupted business models.