'Pay TV must help collect licence fees'

2012-05-03 14:11
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – The SABC's new CEO, Lulama Mokhobo, told parliament on Wednesday that the public broadcaster wants pay TV operators to help with the collection of SABC licence fees from pay TV subscribers.

Pay TV in South Africa is making massive inroads in "stealing" viewers away from the SABC and with a growing number of pay TV subscribers refusing to pay their SABC TV licence fees, the public broadcaster wants pay TV operators to help with licence fee collection.

In 2007 the SABC, whose TV licence fee collection is showing only marginal growth, had a similar plan. The public broadcaster wanted South Africa's TV regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), to force pay TV operators to check whether subscribers have a valid SABC licence.

The SABC also indicated that it wanted to get the subscriber information from pay TV operators.

Bigger choice of channels

With competition getting tougher as new pay TV players enter the South African television market, Mokhobo told parliament that the growth in pay TV subscriptions and cheaper bouquets which lures more viewers away from the SABC will have "a serious and negative" impact on the SABC's income in years to come.

She said pay TV operators are stealing away viewers in the target demographics catered to by the SABC.

With cheaper satellite TV bouquets becoming available in South Africa, more people are getting access to and opt to become pay TV subscribers.

Due to the bigger choice of channels, they watch less SABC content. Icasa meanwhile is planning to licence more pay TV operators within South Africa.

Both e.tv and M-Net are set to expand with many more TV channels as they start their own multi channel bouquets as South Africa moves to digital terrestrial television (DTT). The explosion in the profusion of available TV channel choices will further audience fragmentation.

Satellite dish a status symbol

Mokhobo said a growing number of South African TV households view a satellite dish as a prestige status symbol and carried the perception of better television.

She said owners of houses in squatter camps or rural areas with a satellite dish mounted outside the house are very respected in their communities.

According to Mokhobo, the SABC does have good TV content and will have to devise a marketing campaign to fight this perception. The SABC plans to launch six of its planned new bouquet of TV channels for digital terrestrial television (DTT) within a year.

Mokhobo added that "legislative protection" is needed against TV owners who are not paying their annual SABC TV licence. The SABC feels that pay TV operators such as MultiChoice, TopTV and M-Net should be obliged to help in the collection of SABC licence fees.

The SABC said its especially high-income earners who pay for subscription television in South Africa who refuse to pay their SABC TV licence.

According to the broadcaster the collection of fees remains a huge challenge. The SABC’s income from licence fees remains mostly stagnant although the number of TV households in South Africa and pay TV households keeps growing.


  • hnievd - 2012-05-03 14:19

    To expect people to pay for something you don't have use for is stealing. We pay for quality ... willingly

      Sean - 2012-05-03 14:41

      Maybe the board want to receive a bonus , once again !! Don`t they steal enough already ? I won`t pay for cr@p TV !!

      Gordon - 2012-05-03 14:59

      Why do we still need a nationalised TV service?

      Gordon - 2012-05-03 15:00

      Doesn't the Consumer Protection Act protect us from the SABC? (i.e. no service, no payment, etc)

      Annelise - 2012-05-03 15:09

      I bet you all the SABC board members has satellite dishes!

      hennie.botha.7 - 2012-05-03 15:24

      the sabc also broadcasts with dstv. I've sat one day watching sabc on a neighbors tv when it suddenly showed the "signal not available" box from dstv. funniest thing I ever saw. I will not pay for something I never use. I think it is a matter of time before satellite tv is old news, with the availability of content on youtube and other internet services and the price of broadband dropping. the government should save tax payers money and close the sabc. The anc can then start their own channel, because lets face it, only the anc is even worried about the sabc these days as a propaganda tool.

      Stephen - 2012-05-03 15:34

      These suckers watch DSTV which they pay for with our TV Licences www.channel24.co.za/TV/.../SABC-paying-for-staff-DStv-20110916

      philip.venter1 - 2012-05-03 15:49

      So if I own a store and I sell 4 types of broken, rotting chairs and someone opens a store across the street from me and sells 100's of different types of chairs in wide varieties of styles and qualities then I am allowed to say that they are stealing my customers and that all their customers have to pay me a monthly fee even if they don't buy my neglected products just because I was there before them? Lulama Mokhobo, you have absolutely no understanding of capitalism or the whole bloody civilized world. How can you be the CEO of the SABC if you can't even comprehend primary school economics? Does the term "supply and demand" ring a bell at all? No? Anything? Yeah I thought so... Now please do the whole world a favor and let the people with neurological organs residing in their craniums do the talking, you just go sit in a corner and fulfill your duty as the under qualified BEE executive who has no clue what he/she is doing in silence while this country continues to slowly rot away...

  • Dennis - 2012-05-03 14:23

    Dear SABC, I paid my licence fees for 20 plus years and got crap T V in return ! I no longer pay and I still get crap but repeated more !! SABC go and get ......... plucked !!( the p+l are a silent F )

  • papi.koko - 2012-05-03 14:24

    Mxm, sabc ya tlhanya. y shud i pay for license wen my needs r nt cover to my satisfaction, i mst be gven a choice nd nt forced to pay 4 wat i dnt watch...

      Herbert - 2012-05-04 12:42

      What? No dictionary today?

      sean.redmond3 - 2012-05-04 13:04

      @papi. Huh?????????????

  • Annelise - 2012-05-03 14:24

    Close down the SABC for all I care. Really nothing worth watching, even the news is an ANC advert! All content sucks.

  • Nico - 2012-05-03 14:25

    The SABC expects us to pay for shows older than Noah's ark, re-runs from 1969 (McGuyver) and for shows that's only targeted for a certain group of race. I don't even understand the language, no Afrikaans, no TV Licence !!!!!

      Bongani - 2012-05-03 15:27

      Nico not that im defending SABC, but even DSTV has 1956 shows, check channel 108 and 109.Its such that DSTV has more channels.

      James - 2012-05-03 15:44

      Nico, leave McGuyver out of this.

      koos.vandermerwe.92 - 2012-05-03 22:26

      McGuyver will kick your @ss when he returns through Stargate-1. Be affraid, very affraid boet.

  • alu.ntsandeni - 2012-05-03 14:26

    SABC need to understand that we don't care about their crap... If DSTV go with this, they will serious problem with subscibers.

  • reymister619 - 2012-05-03 14:28

    Yes, heard a similar argument a few years ago, the Post Office wanted to ban email because it competed unfairly with letters.

      thebe.tau - 2012-05-03 14:53

      Kwakwakwa, they should ban sms while they at it, typical mentality of those who cannot compete.

      justin.pretorius - 2012-05-03 15:14

      Brilliant comment actually - the government will do anything to kill competition. Look at how long the Walking Dead(Telkom, SAA, Transnet, Eskom) have been limping along all these decades when they should have been buried long ago

  • raath - 2012-05-03 14:31

    Oh SABC, STFU.

  • Toofaan - 2012-05-03 14:32

    SABC, all you need to do is give your paying target market what they want. When you have quality shows and not the low budget local content on presently, people will leave DSTV for SABC. Until then, why should we pay for crap ? (I don't enjoy spending 100's every month, but I have no choice.)

      fanie.smit.5 - 2012-05-03 15:40

      They are tring to get you to laugh at Vet koek Paleis and Noot vir Noot is now hosted by a has been who makes so many mistakes that even i am embarrsed, and this is Afrikaans. the English programs are even worse.

  • VWhitepaw - 2012-05-03 14:32

    Did they not try this last year already and failed? I'm not watching TV at all. Pay TV is to expensive for me and SABC keeps repeating themselfs. I watch the movies from DVDs. Less adverts while watching. And I don't buy street corner DVDs. I'm waitining for the SABC's decoder box then I am cancelling my TV license. I'm not going to buy that box. One less TV license paying fool for them then.

      Pule - 2012-05-03 14:37

      Who cares?

      Hentie - 2012-05-03 16:16

      Good luck cancelling. They have so much red tape around cancelling and the dunmbest, most ignorant callcenter. You will end up being black listed. No jokes.

  • Stille - 2012-05-03 14:38

    Typical african way of doing things. Mine's broken, so give me yours dammit. lol. Weak.

  • Hudayfah - 2012-05-03 14:39

    I was watching 'martin' the other night, it felt so . .so wayyyback. How can you complain if you play this type of programmes. Stone age rubbish you want to shove down our throats. The local content is rubbish,and thats puting it mildly. When you do eventually play something worth watching, its bloody old. I think its best you pack up and stop wasting our money.

  • Bryan - 2012-05-03 14:43

    Re-runs of McGyver.... Pretty much sums it up!!!

  • miche.crowster - 2012-05-03 14:47

    I love the way the SABC says pay t.v is ''stealing'' viewers. Lol ridiculous why should we pay for crap,e.tv plays the same sunday movie atleast once a month. SABC has to improve their shows and movies and stop stuffing their pockets with t.v license money.

      fanie.smit.5 - 2012-05-03 15:35

      When a shop gives beter servicee.g Pick n Pay as to OK then OK can't go and cry in parlement. They go bankrupt. So get the message women, the public is tired of ANC run Rubish.

  • Peter - 2012-05-03 14:48

    I have no problem paying the SABC R600 a month if they offered what DSTV does....but they dont it is not in their business plan and they allowed DSTV to grow into what it is today. If you cant run a business and see what your compition is doing right then you dont belong in business. You can start off with showing more sport a lot of DSTV subscribers are innit for the sport. If you can e-toll then surely the goverment's SABC can ban sport of SA teams or SA sports unless it is shown on SABC. DSTV is currently a monopoly and they can choose what people pay. To me, dead honest TOPSport was allways better than SuperSport with local sport. At least you could see local Kyalami racing on Saturdays.

  • gabriel.melim - 2012-05-03 14:48

    It is really quite an easy way to resolve. Why does SABC not encode it's signal and introduce decoders??? When you do not pay your airtime (licence fee) to any of the pay TV channels, they simply cut your reception. This is a fool-proof way of ensuring that your revenue is collected and that there is no "pirate" viewing. Even if SABC issued these decoders at no cost, just the saving on debt collection costs and the saving in the interest on borrowings would justify the move!!!

      Deon - 2012-05-03 14:57

      That's because if they used decoders nobody would buy them and they'd collect absolutely no money from license fees.

      Alan - 2012-05-03 14:59

      Eish. Probably because they have so few people that even want to watch the cr*p on SABC. I cannot tell you when last I looked at anything on SABC apart from Survivor. So they want to keep the licences as compulsory, and have somebody else do the work for them (SARS style).

  • Michael - 2012-05-03 14:49

    Stealing????? more like being driven away due to boring one sided rubbish!!!!!!!

  • Michaele - 2012-05-03 14:51

    Another way to finance BMW's, Lexus', Mercedes Benz'. Why watch the street lights when you can see the stars?

  • Martin - 2012-05-03 14:55

    a sattelite dish does mean better tv, why do you think sabc employees have dstv courtesy of the sabc. i dont watch your nonsense channels, and i dont pay for something i do not use, so f off

  • Alan - 2012-05-03 14:56

    'Stealing' viewers? No Lulama Mokhobo, it's called 'better marketing strategy'. It's how the world works out there - and what the ANC still needs to learn. For too long they have had other people's money (ex taxpayers) plonked in their laps, and not had to work for it like the real world does.

  • Fran - 2012-05-03 14:57

    If you stop airing your boring repeats and ask every foreigner owning a TV set I will pay mine otherwise you can forget it. Also if you stop Chinese and Pakistanis who owns shops and sells Tv's to every jack and peter then you will be able to manage the situation better. The fact is if your broadcast goes under I will still be able to watch news on e-tv, live sport from Supersport, 1,2 3, 4, 5 then blitz you name it. What do you give me? Delayed sport, repeats of yesteryear's movies, boring documentaries, outdated cartoons and lots of ANC political useless rallies, mxm, I don't need SABC at all.

  • francoisengelbrecht1 - 2012-05-03 14:57

    "According to Mokhobo, the SABC does have good TV content and will have to devise a marketing campaign to fight this perception." Good content? Are you kidding me? Re-run after re-run... of programmes I used to watch in the 80's!

  • Vincent - 2012-05-03 15:03

    Interesting how they refer to the likes of DSTV as pay TV but they are complaining because people aren't "paying" their TV license.

  • Tgif - 2012-05-03 15:03

    If The perception that SABC TV is such good quality why does the SABC board pay the DSTV subscriptions for all of top management ? Including the A$$wol that is in charge of programming? Could this not be an endorsement of what everyone on this forum is saying " SABC IS A LOAD OF CR@P"

  • Heinrich - 2012-05-03 15:03

    No Rugby on SABC = No payment of TV License

  • Sello Jacky Majadibodu - 2012-05-03 15:07

    i dont remember the last time i watched the SABC channels. Reason? what is it there to watch?

      Alan - 2012-05-03 15:10

      yaaah - since they did away with the old 'test pattern' SABC has become very boring.

  • justin.pretorius - 2012-05-03 15:09


  • yolande.rwaai - 2012-05-03 15:11

    The only show I watch on SABC is Survivor which airs for an hour every Monday for about 3 months in a year. Now can you please work out how much I need to pay, say on a pro rata basis?! Seeing that I don't watch the rest of your rubbish programmes!

  • Julie - 2012-05-03 15:12

    Since 1997 I was only two months without DSTV and almost had a nervous breakdown because I had to watch SABC!!!!!!

  • Jacques AkaShreko Stander - 2012-05-03 15:14

    Serious !! I think Mokhobo had a blackout!! Eich

  • Sandile - 2012-05-03 15:15

    Every corner you meet this government officials they want money ,be careful people just now you will pay for walking on the street ,hell with tv licences.

  • magomarele - 2012-05-03 15:18

    These SABC clowns are now truely out of their minds. They must first deliver quality service to their viewers before they can even talk of TV License fees. Bloody idiots.

  • Bongani - 2012-05-03 15:23

    Even you Makhobo have a DSTV so what are you complaining about exactly?

  • Barker - 2012-05-03 15:25

    When will everyone actually realise that this is not a licence that belongs to SABC. This is a Telkom signal receiver licence. Most signals are sent via Telkom equipment. All radio hams are liable for a receiver's licence. Before TV, we paid a receiver's licence if you had a radio. The licence is for you to receive a video and/or audio signal via the airwaves, which is Telkom's domain. If this licence was advertised correctly, then more would pay. We all receive a signal of some sort, be it TV, Radio or Cellular. If DSTV was supplied via cable and no antennae or dish was used and you used a large monitor to view, then you would not need the licence, as in other parts of the world.

      Alan - 2012-05-03 15:28

      wrong - a major percentage of TV licence's are supposed to go to buying and producing viewer content. The Telkon Licence is a minor part of the annual TV Licence.

      James - 2012-05-03 15:52

      Barker, first off, Telkom doesn't manage the signal, Sentech does. Secondly, as Alan pointed out, the majority of the subscription should go to buying content and not paying salaries . Thirdly, everyone has to pay their TV license in the UK regardless of whether or not they watch BBC. Difference is, BBC channels tun without any ads (Because veryone is paying for the content already)

      Michaele - 2012-05-03 16:16

      Who owns satellite space, Telkom, my ass.

  • fanie.smit.5 - 2012-05-03 15:28

    Stop all the reruns and poor content and then maybe you will find that people will pay for the privlage of watching SABC. Madame you can not dish up rubish and think people will be satisfied. Stop the mismanagement of SABC. Put effeciant people in charge and thaern maybe you will come right. Stop showing programs that are years out of date. Cheap does not work in broadcasting. OOPS! WHY AM I WAISTING MY BREATH, THE SABC IS A PLACE TO GIVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY JOBS AND TO STEAL MONEY FROM.

  • mothakge - 2012-05-03 15:33

    No, its not a status symbol, is a way for them to watch Bafana Bafana games live, it is a way for them to watch Absa PSL games live, all of them and watch relevant movies that come with the times, not Mcgaiver* and Michael Knight......times have changed....Change is Constant, but what the SABC changes is not content but CEO and Golden handshaes, that is why people rather starve and be able to watch their favourite sports on TV LIVE....dont patronise people with your status symbol finger-pointing tactics,The SABC cant even show pre-recorded shows in the correct sequence....ask Survivor fanatics and you call installing a Dish Status?*inyourface*

  • Deon - 2012-05-03 15:39

    Can't say they don't try. I haven't lived in SA for 5 years, yet I still regularly receive emailed lawyer's letters demanding a few grand in unpaid license fees to cover the time I've been gone, and threatening legal action and a poor credit record. Has anyone ever tried to cancel a TV license? The affadavits and other documentation you'll need make it nigh on impossible! But I think that by now the 'national broadcaster' has grown accustomed to being ignored and a laughing stock.

      Stirrer - 2012-05-03 16:08

      I actually HAD a licence, and I also got the letters. Their admin is a shambles. I gave up trying to convince them that I was above board, and eventually stopped renewing the license. What's the use of trying to stay legit if they want to prosecute you anyway?

  • Tgif - 2012-05-03 15:40

    I Smell another ANC Cadre Implant Lulama Mokhobo , I am sure that this name translates to I am completely incompetent. DSTV did not " Steal me as a viewer " The SABC programming is almost exclusively aimed at Black people . I have absolutely no reason to watch SABC. I pay the superscription for the TV that I want to watch, collect your money from someone who cares EISH !

      Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-05-03 16:09

      No,their channels don't even appeal to any race my friend as i do not know when and where do they do their researches before deciding on airing their programs

      antoinette.jordaan - 2012-05-03 18:35

      Good one Tankiso! :)

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-03 15:45

    The SABC has no room to talk, as a failed enterprise and proven defrauder of the public this piece of cr*p must be completely disbanded. I most definitely will never pay another government related TV license fee again ever. obviously the SABC is starting to have problems paying for its employee's M-NET. e-TV proves beyond any valid argument that license fees are not necessary or needed, the SABC is simply collecting money for the government.

  • peter.t.solomon - 2012-05-03 15:49

    Start with thousands of SABC employees who don't pay tv license, and yet have dstv.

  • Malungisa - 2012-05-03 15:49

    How can u pay a something does't show quality instead they show useles channel even the child can't watch it is only generation and muvhango no sports that is why kids in our day drinking 2 much bcause they show too much black label,castle lager,kwv,even now when im talking about black label they get thirst.TV doesn't show nice movies or things that encouraging viewers to leave wrong staff,people commit suiced,loose hope,femilies fighting each,many dirvoce,drugs,fraud,etc but u want me 2 pay borring channel no...no...no

  • PumaFred - 2012-05-03 15:53

    next they are going to want to implement a TV Toll - everytime you change channel you get charged :)

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-05-03 15:58

    Why must pay tv do their dirty work and why must we pay a tv licence just to own a tv even if you dont watch it.

  • Ted - 2012-05-03 16:06

    Its difficult to run a country of hunter- gatherers. We are a shameful country of half-thinkers and everything-comes-free lazy people. Picture this: You want good content from the SABC and you don't want to pay UNTIL they can show they are worth it? Come on! Its a chicken and egg affair. You have the chicken and you can have eggs. After all, the chicken incubates the egg. To expect good content from the SABC without paying for it first is stupid expectation. In the UK we pay up to R1500 per year to watch a colour TV. Here we pay R250 per year. How many beers can you buy with that?. Those who think DSTV is good actually think so because it uses the BBC a lot; another public broadcaster with a bit of money. You like BBC News, BBC Food, BBC Entertainment, BBC Knowledge, CeeBibies, etc. It is paid for there in Britain by telelicences that you are refusing to pay here. Pay your licences and complain later about bad service. If you put rubbish into a system, you get rubbish out. You put nothing and expect something? BBC is happy when it can licence its channels to DSTV coz it knows you will pay to watch your own zulu dances on their channel! What a bunch of confused nationals!

      Thembi - 2012-05-03 16:25

      Get a life Ted this is Africa when you are in Rome do what Romans do.Don't compare a developing country with a developed one wonder if you know about that.uyaphapha Get off your high horse.

      Barry - 2012-05-03 17:45

      Ted - you seem confused. First you say "We are a shameful country of half-thinkers..." and then you go on to say "In the UK we pay up to R1500 per year". It sounds like you are what is fondly known in SA as a "soutie" - one foot in SA, one foot in the UK, and nothing worth speaking of hanging in the ocean.

      Shaun Mackay - 2012-05-03 22:35

      get a life Ted i disagree you come from the uk so go back if it was so Great. now you come here so now u pay 25 pounds instead of the 150 so whos the the problem people in glass houses should not throw stones.

      Kwajo.m - 2012-05-04 12:32

      "Come on! Its a chicken and egg affair." Then this egg has been hatching for a long time. I will wait until it hatches.

  • Mihail - 2012-05-03 16:07

    Most EU countries have ditched the broadcasting licence as it is anachronic with the days we live in. The modern TV transmission today does not use the radio wave band SABC claims (it is a tax that people have to pay of using that specific band, it is not about programs, so whether you watch or not, having a device that uses that band you're good to pay). Cable TV, Internet, even satelite (which uses the upper band of GHz, which is not radio) have no obligation to pay. This tax was implemented long ago, before satelite comm or mobile telephony. Thanks God, otherwise we'll have to pay SABC for using the cellular!

      Kwajo.m - 2012-05-04 12:36

      "Thanks God, otherwise we'll have to pay SABC for using the cellular!" You killed me man.

  • Tankiso Mogoje - 2012-05-03 16:19

    Their administration is in shambles really,i wanted to pay my license as it was in arrears and i called them several times asi needed a new tv set and was taken from pillar to post.I ended up making a new license and not paying up an old one and i won't pay from now on

  • Barry - 2012-05-03 16:20

    Over recent years it has become increasingly apparent that the SABC is incapable of moving with the times and providing competetive and worthwhile programming. Perhaps it is time for the corporation to consider moving into fields more suited to the talents of its senior management such as fast foods, plumbing, pot-hole repairs - pretty well anything except television and radio?

  • sihlenis - 2012-05-03 16:32

    I pay for DSTV cause I get what I need when I need it, I get all my games live on Supersport

  • sihlenis - 2012-05-03 16:32

    I pay for DSTV cause I get what I need when I need it, I get all my games live on Supersport

  • dewaldmontgomery - 2012-05-03 16:46

    What does this TELL you, silly man? IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF YOUR SERVICE, CUT YOUR COSTS. Start with your salaries and bonuses.