Many South Africans are unhappy about the fact that they are expected to pay for a TV licence even if they don’t watch SABC programming.
However, if you are caught with a television but without a TV licence, you can face fines or other penalties.
As a result of this, many who plan on consuming video content without accessing terrestrial television would prefer to own a device that does not require them to pay for a TV licence.
The SABC is very strict when it comes to who is exempt from paying a TV licence, which can make understanding whether you are liable to purchase one difficult.
Many South Africans wrongfully think that they won’t need to pay for a TV licence if they buy a second-hand device.
However, the SABC states that all TV owners must pay for a TV licence – whether the device is new or second-hand.
Whoever sells the TV must provide the SABC with information about the buyer, such as their name and physical address.
While many don’t bother to do this, it is worth knowing that neglecting to provide the SABC with this information is illegal.
Any device with a broadcast television signal – which includes the majority of TVs available in South Africa – cannot be sold to someone who doesn’t have a TV licence.
Certain “TVs” known as smart panels, which don’t have the ability to receive a broadcast signal, may be used without a TV licence.
While this device functions like a TV, and often includes a remote control, speakers, and appropriate ports, the fact that it cannot access terrestrial television makes it immune to TV licence requirements.
A DStv decoder can be purchased without a TV licence, but to actually use the device, it is required that the owner has a TV licence. The same is true for a PC TV tuner card.
Media streaming devices, such as Apple TV and Android media players, do not require that the owner has a TV licence.
How to cancel your TV licence
If you no longer own a qualifying device, or are leaving the country, it is theoretically possible to cancel your TV licence. However, this process is incredibly tedious to actually achieve.
A MyBroadband reader recently succeeded in cancelling their TV licence by proving that they were leaving the country and were no longer in possession of a qualifying device.
If you want to cancel your TV licence, you can email the SABC and you will be provided with a form that you can fill in and submit if you qualify to cancel your licence.