TV Licence Netflix

Photo: Unsplash

Public responds angrily to ‘stealth bailout’ TV licence proposal

Plans to levy fees on people using computers, smartphones, and tablets in order to assist the struggling SABC have been lambasted.

TV Licence Netflix

Photo: Unsplash

As government continues its plan to broaden the definition and collection system for television licences – levying fees on people using computers, smartphones, and tablets – the DA have collected nearly 16 000 signatures in support of their petition to prevent what they deem a “stealth bailout”. 

DA collect 16 364 signatures for petition against TV licence amendments

Zakhele Mbhele, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies said in a statement on that they will now submit the petiition acting Director-General of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Nomvuyiso Batyi ahead of the Monday 15 February deadline.

He said that the justification of the proposed fees by Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams prove beyond doubt that the scheme is merely a ploy to implement further state-funded bailouts of the struggling South Africa Broadcasting Commission (SABC). Ndabeni-Abrahams said amendments to the TV licence fee section, to, are necessary because of the SABC’s financial challenges.

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) has received 16 364 signatures for a petition we launched in December 2020 to oppose the government’s plans to extend license fees to streaming services such as Netflix, Showmax, and others,” said Mbhele. 

“It is outrageous that South Africans need to cough up money for watching ‘broadcast services’ regardless of whether they watch it on a television, a computer, or a tablet. The only reason the ANC wants to amend the law to include other devices other than a television set, is to implement a ‘stealth bail-out’ for the SABC. This cannot be condoned.”

DA blame ANC for broadcaster’s collapse  

The DA maintain that the ANC is solely responsible for the demise of the public broadcaster accusing the ruling party of allowing their “political capturing and interference with its operations” to bring the SABC to its knees.

“The SABC does indeed play an important role as a public broadcaster. However, it must find creative ways to self-sustain and break even without making South Africans fork out any more money,” insisted Mbhele. 

“The DA is delighted that South Africans have made their voices heard,” added, saying that members of the public who have not yet added their signature to the petition are able to do so until Monday 15 February to submit their comments and objections on the Draft White Paper.