South Africans stop paying TV licences

The SABC’s latest annual report shows a drastic decline in revenue from TV licences.

According to the 2017 report, revenue of R847.4 million was collected through television licence fees.

This figure is R449.4 million – 34.7% – below budget, representing a decrease of R178.5 million – 17.4% – compared to the previous year.

“The revenue was negatively affected due to the decline in revenue collections from renewals and debt collection revenue streams,” said the SABC.

TV licence fees are collected from households and businesses which own a TV.


The SABC has been plagued with problems in recent years, which are linked to its former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng.

Under Motsoeneng, many dubious decisions were made – which included granting himself a large salary increase and enforcing a 90% local content rule on radio stations.

It was not long before the broadcaster faced serious challenges, including large losses and slowing revenue.

At the end of the past financial year, the SABC was facing a financial crisis – which saw it unable to meet its contractual commitments.

Monthly revenue was lower than embedded expenditure, and certain content providers could not be paid timeously.

This has the potential to collapse the scheduling programme of the SABC.

The SABC’s state of finances led to banks cancelling loan facilities, which further exacerbated the broadcaster’s poor financial situation.

While the SABC started to collapse, loyalists of President Jacob Zuma – which included the communications minister – defended Motsoeneng and the SABC’s operations.

The public grew tired of the corruption and maladministration at the SABC, and widespread condemnation and public protests followed.

It is therefore not surprising that the public has lost faith in the SABC and stopped paying their TV licences.

The broadcaster is aware of this problem, and said the lack of confidence in the offerings of the SABC by audiences and advertisers will need to be addressed.

This looks unlikely to happen, however, with new reports emerging that Zuma and his allies want to control the SABC, its board, and key executive positions.

Now read: How to cancel and stop paying your TV licence

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South Africans stop paying TV licences