How to cancel your TV licence

Earlier this year, a MyBroadband reader was able to contact the SABC and cancel their TV licence.

The reader was able to accomplish this difficult feat by proving that he no longer possessed a TV and that he was leaving the country.

The e-mail support provided by the SABC was far from impressive in this case, but it did eventually result in the reader cancelling his TV licence.

Technically, you should be able to cancel your TV licence for a number of reasons, including storing your TV away for an extended period of time or travelling overseas for more than 12 months.

However, judging from the aforementioned reader’s experience in cancellation, it could prove difficult to cancel your TV licence unless you plan to leave the country permanently.


Upon requesting the cancellation of a TV licence, the SABC replies to users with a letter stating the requirements for cancellation.

The SABC requires the following documentation to process a TV licence holder’s cancellation:

  • If exemption from licence payment is requested due to travelling overseas, travel documents detailing a sojourn of more than 12 months abroad are required.
  • Storage of the user’s television is accepted as grounds for cancellation, as long as the licence holder submits proof that the TV is stored with a removals or storage company.
  • In the case of emigration, the licence holder is required to submit travel and emigration documents, such as an airline ticket and overseas work permit.
  • If the television set has been sold to a new owner, the details of the new TV owner must be provided along with the other documentation.

“Should no such prescribed documentation be provided to the SABC, an account will not be closed and, should a licence holder return to South Africa at a later stage, their television licence would have remained active and would obviously reflect a substantial overdue balance,” the SABC states in its cancellation documentation.

These documents must be submitted to the SABC via email or fax.

Affidavit and emigration

While you should not need to continue paying a TV licence if you do not own a television, it seems that emigration is a requirement of the process.

“For the SABC to consider your request, please complete the enclosed pro forma affidavit,” the SABC’s cancellation documentation states.

The affidavit in question requires that users assert one of two scenarios.

The first scenario requires that licence holders emigrated for a period in the past and have now returned to South Africa and do not own a TV, and the second requires that licence holders assert that they plan to emigrate from or have already left South Africa.

This affidavit must be signed by the licence holder and witnessed by a Commissioner of Oaths, and requires users to provide their identity number and TV licence account number.

South Africans should be able to cancel their TV licences if they do not own a television or any other way of receiving and decoding broadcast signals from the SABC, but there is very little accommodation for this cancellation reason within the SABC’s documentation.

In fact, it seems that emigration is the only easily-accepted reason for cancellation of a TV licence in South Africa.

If you fall into one of the categories above and are brave enough to negotiate with the SABC through its email support system, you can attempt to cancel your TV licence by sending a mail to [email protected].

Now read: SABC Day Zero can happen tomorrow – CFO

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How to cancel your TV licence