SABC’s TV licence failure

The SABC’s TV licence business model is broken as many South Africans don’t watch any SABC channels and don’t want to pay for a mismanaged and corrupt organisation.

SABC CFO Yolande van Biljon told Parliament that revenue underperformed by 27% compared to its budget and was 8% lower than the previous financial year.

“The bottom has dropped out of our revenue generation initiatives, and as a consequence, the SABC’s loss increased by R949 million to R1.2 billion,” she said.

One of the main reasons for the SABC’s poor financial performance is that people are not paying for TV licenses.

The state broadcaster’s TV licence revenue declined from R968 million in 2019 to R741 million in 2023.

The SABC billed R4.5 billion in TV licence fees in the last financial year, but, like in previous years, it collected far less.

This translates into a TV licence evasion rate of 84% as debt collection agencies failed to convince people to pay. It is up from 69% four years ago.

Van Biljon said South Africans disconnect calls from TV licence collection agents and do not respond to electronic communication.

SABC acting CEO Nada Wotshela said they are just not winning with South Africans collecting TV licence fees. “We have tried various interventions,” she said.

“The fact that people have so many other choices on how they access our services means they don’t see why they should be paying for TV licences.”

Although it is difficult for the SABC to admit, many South Africans refuse to pay for TV licences because of corruption and maladministration at the SABC.

Citizens are tired of funding the corrupt government, which manifests as a rebellion against paying for e-tolls, TV licences, and similar levies.

SABC Board chair Khathutselo Ramukumba said the SABC’s current funding model is unsustainable to finance its public service mandate.


This article was first published by Daily Investor and is republished with permission.

Now read: SABC reports R1.13 billion loss

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SABC’s TV licence failure