TV Licence Netflix

Photo: Unsplash

You may soon have to pay a TV licence to watch Netflix in South Africa

New regulations, proposed by the Communications Department, want to charge South Africans a TV licence for using streaming services like Netflix.

TV Licence Netflix

Photo: Unsplash

Deputy Communications Minister Pinky Kekana may have just come up with the most unpopular policy in living memory. She has told Parliament that SABC is looking to expand its scope for TV license collection, with a blueprint that includes charging people for watching Netflix and consuming media through laptops and other gadgets.

Will South Africans need a TV license to watch Netflix?

Kekana has argued that the world has evolved dramatically since the turn of the century, and SABC needs to find alternative revenue streams. The new proposals would ensure that everyone who watches any form of televisual media in South Africa would have to pay for the privilege:

“Including engaging with those who have been carrying the SABC programmes on their pay-TV, how do we – through ICASA – make sure that they too are able to assist us to collect TV licences?” 

“We are not only limiting collection to TV. We also have other platforms where people consume content, and in all of those areas, that is where we should look at how we’re able to get SABC licence fees from those gadgets.”

Pinky Kekana

Netflix and bill? Here’s what the new regulation proposes:

  • The presentation argues that the current definition of a TV licence is ‘outdated’, and needs to be expanded to other media.
  • Kekana is suggesting that DStv and MultiChoice must help SABC collect TV licences from non-compliant citizens.
  • However, the deputy minister has gone even further than that, suggesting that non-TV users must fork out, too
  • Under this new proposal, those who consume media on tablets, laptops and phones will also be charged by SABC.
  • According to Kekana’s plans, people who only watch streaming services (Netflix, Prime etc) should also pay TV licences.

How much does a TV licence cost in South Africa?

First-time applicants for a television licence must pay a full annual fee of R265. All renewals must be made annually before the licence expires after 12 months, and these payments can be spread throughout the year at R28 per month. However, monthly payments are subject to a small premium for the convenience, bring the total cost for the year to R336.

Pensioners and war veterans could soon be exempt from these payments, however.