South African broadcasting corporation (SABC) indicates that it would want South Africans to get a TV licence for their computers, cellphones and tablets.
This is according to a report submitted to parliament’s portfolio committee on communications by the SABC CEO James Aguma who requested for a change in the licensing act.
The broadcaster’s CEO shocked members of the parliament on Wednesday when he indicated the broadcaster’s revised corporate plan which will look at changing the Broadcasting Act so as to enable them to push forward the licensing.
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The parliament’s portfolio committee on communications was informed of the new plan when Aguma, SABC executives and the SABC’s new interim board appeared to brief members of parliament about the latest situation at the crisis-riddled public broadcaster and its revised corporate plan.
Explaining why this is necessary, Aguma said the SABC was budgeting for lower revenue from SABC TV licence this year, but that by amending the Broadcasting Act to make it mandatory for people to pay a TV licence for more devices they view content on, it would be able to make up for the decreased revenue.
The current TV Licence fee is R265 per year and is a requirement for all devices sold in South Africa which can receive a television signal, excluding devices like as PC monitors.
The SABC is currently facing a financial crisis, with the broadcaster’s interim board Khanyisile Kweyama coming to say that there were doubts about whether salaries would be paid at the end of the month.
“The only light at the end of the tunnel is the fact that we were able to pay salaries and some creditors at the end of this month,” she said.
Earlier this week the SABC and Department of Communications indicated that they would soon be approaching the treasury for funding of close to R1 billion, to help pay outstanding bills.
Financial crisis the broadcaster now finds itself has been blamed on the high cost of local content quotas imposed by its former COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng which is currently being reviewed.
While the interim board is expected to finalise issues around its disciplinary hearing the board chairperson also said they wanted suspended controversial SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng to be afforded a fair disciplinary hearing when his proceedings get under way.