When you can cancel your TV licence – and how to do it

South Africans who no longer have a TV or don’t want to use it for receiving free-to-air broadcasts have the option to cancel their TV licence and save R265 per year.

By law anyone who has a TV set which is capable of receiving a broadcast television signal must pay an annual TV licence.

Even if you do not watch any SABC broadcasts, you still have to cough up.

“Anyone found in possession of a television set without having a valid TV licence would be liable for payment of the annual licence fee, plus a penalty of double the licence fee,” the SABC states.

Television equipment which is regarded as a TV set include VCRs with tuners and PCs with tuner cards.

This does not mean people are actually paying. The SABC has seen a big decline in TV licences payments in recent years.

The decline in license revenue is likely driven by a combination of decreasing public trust due to numerous corruption scandals and the growing video streaming industry.

Many South Africans are now using platforms like Netflix, Showmax, and Amazon Prime Video to serve their entertainment needs.

To be exempt from paying your TV licence, however, requires more than simply to stop watching SABC channels.

Many people wonder when they can cancel their TV license and what process they should follow.

The easiest way to get the requirement for a TV Licence scrapped is to get rid of your TV if you do not use it. Sell it, give it away, or dump it.

If you still use your TV for streaming but would like to stop paying a TV license, there is another option – remove the signal receiver.

After you removed the signal receiver or tuner you have to provide written notice to the SABC supported by documentary proof from a reputable TV repairer or installer.

This proof can be a letter, an invoice, or a receipt from the person who removed the signal receiver or tuner. This application must include a payment of R300.

An authorised agent will then be despatched to your address to inspect the TV equipment.

“On receipt of confirmation from the agent that the applicant has no television receiving equipment in his possession, he will be exempted from payment of licence fees for the rest of the current licensing period,” the SABC said.

“Should a licence holder thereafter require such exemption to be extended, written application by way of an affidavit confirming that the applicant still has no TV receiving equipment must be made on an annual basis three months before the end of each licence year.”

To avoid the requirement of a TV Licence altogether, you can buy a TV without a tuner.

However, these TVs are not widely available and don’t extend to major manufacturers like Samsung and LG.

Another option is to use a large computer monitor instead of a TV, as these displays are not fitted with tuners.

If you have been paying a TV license, the SABC must be notified of the changes in a prescribed form, which serves as sworn declaration or affidavit that you no longer own a TV.

This form can be acquired from an SABC office or can be completed as a relevant statement with any Commissioner of Oaths, such as a chartered accountant, police officer, or judge.

All notices to the SABC must be in writing and addressed to one of the following channels:

  • Post – The Manager, Television Licences, SABC, Private Bag X60, Auckland Park 2006
  • Freepost – JHZ153K, SABC, Auckland Park
  • Fax – 011 330 9560/1
  • Email[email protected]

Be sure to you include your ID number and TV licence number as part of the application so that your query is attended to quickly and accurately.

It should be emphasised that the SABC will not cancel your TV licence if you still owe any amount of money to it.

Below is what the prescribed form looks like.

Now read: Former SABC employees still waiting for their severance packages

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When you can cancel your TV licence – and how to do it