SABC TV licences and debt collection: OUTA’s answers to frequently asked questions
We have been inundated with questions regarding the payment of SABC TV licences. Here is what you need to know about this very contentious issue.
In light of the corruption and maladministration at the SABC, more and more South Africans are contacting us with the same question: should I pay my TV licence, or not?
While we share your concern over the abuse of taxpayers’ hard earned money, paying your SABC TV licence is prescribed by the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999. However, we are aware that many South Africans are receiving threatening SMS’s with misleading information about what can (and will) be done to them if they don’t pay. Often these SMS’s contain incorrect information and incorrect amounts. Here’s what you need to know about paying your TV licence.
Here’s what you need to know about paying your TV licence (Please click on the questions to show the answers).
General Terms and Conditions / Service Policies
What must I do if I receive threatening messages from the SABC or a debt collector regarding my TV licence?
It must be noted that you are obligated by law to pay your tv License. However, if you have questions regarding the account (for instance, how the final outstanding amount was calculated), we would suggest that you contact the SABC directly.
If you are contacted by a debt collector, we would urge you to ask for the name of the debt collector’s agency and confirm that they possess a mandate from the SABC.
If the agency does not possess a mandate to collect debt on behalf of the SABC, we would advise you not to pay them any sum of money and to contact the SABC directly.
We would further urge you to take note of any threats issued against you and compare them to those penalties prescribed by the Act and the Debt Collector’s Code of Conduct.
Are there any questions that I should ask someone who contacts me about outstanding SABC TV licence debt?
• Make sure you get the caller’s name and contact details;
• Can they give you a breakdown for the amount they allege you owe?
Why should I ask for the Debt Collection Agency’s name?
Only the debt collection agencies listed below currently possess a mandate to collect debt on behalf of the SABC, as confirmed by the SABC:
Where and how do I complain about a debt collector’s conduct?
You can contact that Council for Debt Collectors at:
74 Watermeyer Street, Val-De-Grace, Pretoria, 0184
PHONE : 012 804 9808
FAX : 012 804 9056
EMAIL : email@example.com
What happens if I fail to pay my license on time?
Overdue accounts are handed over to the SABC’s lawyers and the aforementioned debt collectors for debt collection. An overdue account incurs a penalty of 10% per month and 100% per anum.
What are the legal consequences of failing to pay my TV License?
There are two methods of enforcement, criminal and civil enforcement.
Civil enforcement is pursued by the debt collecting process in order to recover outstanding debt. Criminal is applied by the SABC in order to hold you accountable for contravening the Broadcasting Act.
Any person who fails pay their TV License is committing an offence and is liable, upon conviction in a criminal court, to a fine not exceeding R500 in relation to each offence and/or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.
Must I pay my SABC TV licence?
In terms of section 27 of the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999, no person may use a television set unless such a person is in possession of a television licence issued by the SABC and the prescribed fee of R265.00 per annum or R28.00 per month is paid.
Is there a law that says I must pay my SABC TV licence?
Yes. Section 27 of the Broadcasting Act 4 of 1999 clearly stipulates that no person may use a television set unless such a person is in possession of a television licence issued by the SABC and the prescribed fee of R265.00 per annum or R28.00 per month is paid.
Should a payment be late, an account incurs a penalty of 10% per month to a maximum of 100% per annum.
Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with section 27 is guilty of an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding R500 in relation to each offence and/or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.
If no payment is forthcoming, the SABC may hand your account over to a legal representative, or threaten to do so. In terms of the Debt Collectors Act 144 of 1998, from 11 August 2003, only an attorney or an employee of an attorney shall act as a debt collector unless
• he or she is registered as a debt collector in terms of this Act;
• and, in the case of a company or close corporation carrying on business as a debt collector, unless, in addition to the company or close corporation itself, every director of the company and supporter of the close corporation and every officer of such company or close corporation, not being himself or herself a director or supporter but who is concerned with debt collecting, as the case may be, is registered as a debt collector. In other words: Any person or company other than an attorney, but register with the Council for Debt Collectors if they engage in the business of debt collecting.
• Should a person be contacted by such an agency it is advisable to ask for their debt collector’s registration number and their mandate in order to determine if they are authorised to collect such debt.
Do I need a different licence for each television set I own?
A single domestic licence is required per household, provided that the TV sets are used only at the licence holder’s residence and are used only by supporters of the licence holder’s family.
A family supporter is defined as any person who is living permanently with the holder, dependent on the holder or owed a legal duty of support by the holder.
This will cover direct family supporters, spouses and unmarried life partners.
Must I pay for a TV License even if I do not watch TV?
Yes, if a person possesses “television receiving equipment” they are required by law to pay a TV licence.
What must I do if I have sold or otherwise disposed of my TV?
The SABC must be notified on a prescribed form (affidavit) of the changed circumstances. However, no licence will be cancelled while moneys are still outstanding on an account.
Find the form to cancel your TV licence here: https://businesstech.co.za/news/media/106521/cancel-your-tv-licence-with-this-form/
Do I still need a TV licence if I receive a television set as a gift?
Yes. You will require your own TV licence. A single domestic licence is required per household, provided that the TV sets are used only at the licence holder’s residence and are used only by supporters of the licence holder’s family.
What must I do if I move to a new address?
The SABC must be informed in writing within 30 days of a change of address. The notification must be in writing and addressed to:
The Manager, Television Licences, SABC, Private Bag X60, Auckland Park 2006; or by freepost to: JHZ153K, SABC, Auckland Park; or By fax/e-mail to the numbers/addresses on the SABC’s TV licence correspondence.
What must I do if my question is not covered by this FAQ?
We would recommend that you contact the SABC directly. Their details are as follows:
Call Centre: 011 330 9555
Operating Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00am to 18:00pm
Saturday 9:00am to 17:00pm
Sunday and Public holidays 9:00am to 13:00pm
Website address: www.tvlic.co.za
Link to website: http://www.tvlic.co.za/tvlic/index.php?lang=en