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SABC launches TV licence inspectorate

The SABC has launched a TV licence inspectorate that will see contracted inspectors knocking on people's doors to check if they are in possession of a valid TV licence. “We need to rely on sources of income such as TV licences to ensure our independence as the public service broadcaster, as we cannot entirely rely on government funding,” group CEO Dali Mpofu told the media briefing today, Tuesday, 26 June 2007, in Auckland Park.

In terms of the new project, a total of 560 identifiable inspectors – with handheld PDA devices, uniforms, ID badges, name and company names and call centre for verification – will be conducting nationwide door-to-door visits to see if people have complied with the TV licence regulations.

“As the national broadcaster, we have an obligation to realise our vision and ensure that our listeners and watchers embrace total citizen empowerment through our enriching content.

“Funding to produce this local content is derived in part from TV licence fees, which as stated in the Broadcasting Act, may be used only for the delivery of radio and TV programming that benefits all South Africans,” Mpofu said.

Four service providers

Anton Heunis, SABC head of audience services, said that four service providers – Professional Mobile Mapping (Gauteng/North West), Workforce Group (KZN/Free State), Creditworx S&V (Western, Eastern and Northern Cape) and Malebo Manyeleti Holdings (Limpopo and Mpumalanga) – are contracted to the public broadcaster to go door-to-door to ensure that households, businesses and retailers are complying with the law by being in possession of a paid-up TV licence.

Suburbs, townships and informal settlements in urban and rural areas will be targeted, and in terms of the Broadcasting Act No 4 of 1999 as amended, inspectors might get a warrant of search to get access to the premises of people who refuse to let them enter their premises, City Seokane, SABC GM of compliance, said.

However, inspectors are not allowed to take cash, but could refer defaulters to pinpoints throughout SA. They will use high-tech devices to locate households with TV sets.

Currently, licence fees cost R225 per year and viewers caught watching TV without a paid-up licence will be liable for payment of the prescribed annual fee, plus a penalty of double the licence.

Furthermore, Mpofu said that the SABC will soon enter in talks with the Government in the view of increasing the TV licence fee, amid the public's outrage that the public broadcaster must first improve the quality of its TV contents before even thinking of going that ‘unfair' route.

The SABC's sources of funding come from Government subsidy, advertising and TV licences – the latter accounts for 20% of revenue.

“Our inspectors are friendly and ready to update the licensee's personal information on our database instantly, check the payment's status of the account through his ID number and TV licence number, and if required, issue a Payment Advance Form (provisional licence) to facilitate the payment of licence fee at any of the SABC's designated pay-points,” Heunis concluded.

  • Viewers are advised to call +27 (0)11 330 9708 to check the inspector's identity. For more information, call the TV licence customer care centre on +27 (0)11 330 9555, go to www.tvlic.co.za, or email .

  • About Issa Sikiti da Silva

    Issa Sikiti da Silva is a winner of the 2010 SADC Media Awards (print category). He freelances for various media outlets, local and foreign, and has travelled extensively across Africa. His work has been published both in French and English. He used to contribute to Bizcommunity.com as a senior news writer.

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