It has been almost a month since the SABC and its agents stopped SMSing me, and I think they have finally given up.
This is good for two reasons. The daily SMS reminding me to pay was annoying, and the amount I owed was escalating.
The standard TV licence fee is R265, but the latest amount I owed was R503.50.
Saturday, 18 August 2018 was the last time I was asked to pay, however, as shown in the screenshot below.
The lack of messages follows a statement by the SABC that it wants to more strictly enforce the requirement to pay for a TV licence in South Africa.
The broadcaster also stated it wants to raise TV licence fees each year in line with inflation – and that a TV licence fee in 2018 should cost over R500.
While many South Africans who own a TV can afford the R265 fee, their unwillingness to pay – which the SABC said it a big problem it currently faces – is based on not wanting to fund a corrupt institution.
SABC executives are aware of this, and chairman Bongumusa Makhathini recently said the SABC board has implemented measures to stabilise the corporation and address “endemic levels of corruption and maladministration”.
The public’s unwillingness to fund the SABC has peaked in recent years, particularly when former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng was at the helm.
Motsoeneng was dismissed from the broadcaster after implementing local content quota rules and ensuring his salary was raised substantially.
Unless the public are forced to have a valid TV licence when buying a new TV, and cannot find one they can borrow, many South Africans will continue to avoid paying.
This is evident in the SABC’s latest financial results, which showed a 27.8% compliance level when it came to TV licence payments.
And, honestly, who can blame them.
This is an opinion piece.