Why You Need SABC TV Licence and How to Check Your Licence Number

TV and its regulations have continued to experience drastic changes over the years. What is now taking the airwaves is the newly introduced SABC TV Licence for various internet-enabled devices, which according to the corporation, is introduced to be able to serve users continuous interesting programs.

The new change is extending beyond TV to other “broadcasting devices” such as your laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. While it may be pretty new, the processes of getting your licence, checking your license number, and canceling it if you may wish, are pretty much simple and easy to follow.

An Overview of The TV Licence

The SABC TV licence is a legal authorization that covers your TV viewing all through a licensing year. The licence is expected to be renewed before it expires annually by paying for the renewal, which may vary depending on the type of licence one has.

It is mandatory for every household, business, and even government departments using TV to have a TV licence since it is the only way through which you can view your TV legally in the country. With that said, when one is caught with a TV without the licence, one might be made to pay a fine or face prosecution.

The only time a licence is not required for one is when the receiving capability of such a TV has been removed. This means that the receiver signal or Turner has been taken off.

Who Needs The SABC TV Licence?

The Broadcasting Act No 4 of 1999, as amended, states that any person or entity that owns a TV set, or uses one, needs to have the mandatory SABC TV Licence. One must pay for the licence irrespective of whether a television set in one’s possession is used or not.

Once you own a TV, a business in which you may be required to use a TV, sell it, or even lease it, you may be required to have a TV license. There are different licences available for use, ranging from domestic uses to businesses, including government departments.

Importantly, if you are in a household, you will need to have a single TV licence, even when there are multiple TV sets in the household. However, all the television sets must be used in the same household as the person who has the licence to his/her name.

Initially, people were only required to have a licence when using an actual TV set, but with the rise of streaming services and Pay-TV such as Netflix and Multichoice, respectively, SABC has extended the need to licence other internet-enabled devices that allow for broadcasting and streaming such as mobile phones and computers.

What is the Point of Getting a TV License?

There are many reasons why one needs to get a TV licence, but most importantly, because the law requires one to have one. Every household, government departments, charities, institutions, and religious bodies are expected to get this licence as the only body that has been exempted is public schools.

After getting a licence, it is important to know that it cannot be transferred from one person to the next, except between spouses or people that can be termed “life partners” who happen to be in a permanent relationship and share the same residence, on the death of a partner or either of the spouse.

There Are Six Different TV Licences, Each With Its Purpose

SABC TV Licence
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Depending on who you are; a private individual, a TV set dealer, a licensed dealer, or something else, there are different licenses available for every use. Here is a rundown of all the licenses available.

1. Domestic Licence

This license is also known as the private license, which as the name suggests, is designed for household use, as well as individuals. When you get this license, its authorization is only for sets that have been licensed for residential premises. If you intend to use the TV sets for any form of commercial use, you may need to get another license.

2. Concessionary Domestic Licence

This is also another type of SABC TV licence that is given for residential use only. The difference between this and the first is that this is open for people who receive grants from the South African Government.

Once you are entitled to get any social grant from the government either because you are aged or a war veteran or even disabled. More so, if you turn 70 before the licensing year, you will also fall in this group. Another thing before you can get this license is that you must only be in a home you share with your spouse or partner and not someone with a domestic license.

3. Business Licence

For anyone setting up a TV in business premises or connection to any form of business or commercial activities, including government departments, this is the license that is conferred for TV use.

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4. A Dealer Licence

As one can easily guess, this licence is provided for individuals and businesses who deal with TV sets. The license gives the right to a business owner to use a television set to demonstrate to prospective buyers.

5. Lessor Licence

This licence gives the right to someone who leases out TV sets or gives them out on rent. TV set cannot be given for a period that exceeds 6 months and you do not need to have a license for each of the TVs you have.

6. A mobile licence

This confers a license on someone for a TV set in any vehicle, caravan, mobile home, vessel, or aircraft. Importantly, the license is only to be used for private purposes.

The Prices Vary For Each License You Get

The prices of the license vary, depending on which you are having. For a Domestic licence, you are expected to pay R225 annually. However, if you are paying by installments, the charge is R23 per month. This is the only license that gives you the option of paying by installment.

Dealer License is also R225 annually, while you pay R225 for each TV set when it comes to Mobile TV, Lessor, and Business licenses. If you are on a Concessionary domestic license, you will be requested to pay R65 annually without the option of paying in installments. The cost of the licence also includes Value Added Tax.

Different penalties have been drawn for going against any of the licensing laws that include inspection fees and ancillary costs. For breaching regulations that have to do with getting licenses for each TV set, one will be charged R300 per TV set, and for R300 for breaching laws on a single license. For each returned cheque issued, there is a penalty of R50.

Can I Check my SABC TV Licence Online?

SABC TV Licence

Convenience has been brought into most things that have to do with payment and checking of your SABC TV licence. Thanks to this, one can check the licence online while also managing one’s account and making payments.

For checking of one’s licence, you will be required to log into your account with a TV Licence using either your TV Licence account number or ID Number. Once you click on the Submit button, you will check your balance and make a payment if necessary. Here’s the simple method:

  • Go to SABC television licence official website.
  • Input either your ID Number or TV authorization account number in the provided field
  • Hit the “Submit” button and you are through.

To make payment online, there are various options available to you, including through your bank app or website, using your credit card, or even go to the EasyPay website. For those who may prefer in-person payment, there are various physical PayPoint networks and other options of payment available include via cheque or postal order.

Can you buy a TV without a TV licence?

SABC TV Licence
Image Source

One can buy a TV without having a license. If you are living in a household that already has a license as a member of the family, you do not need to buy another license even when you buy another TV.

However, if you are living alone or you are getting the first TV of the household, you will be requested to get a TV licence, which is obtained in advance, and it is to be renewed by the end of your licensing year. The validity of the licence is noted on the licence itself after getting the first one.

It is not allowed for one to use someone else’s licence to purchase a TV set. Hence, to get a TV set, you may need to have your own licence except, as stated, you live in a home which has one already.

Some Important Things To Know About SABC TV Licence

  • If you are a first-time applicant for a television licence, you will be required to pay the full annual fee of R265.
  • Renewal payments may be spread throughout the year at R28 per month.
  • Once you have a TV set in your possession, you will be requested to get a licence whether it is in use or not.
  • A TV set can be used to define anything that has the capability of receiving broadcast signals, hence your mobile devices, laptops, and tablets could all fall in this category.
  • Two months before your licence expires, SABC is expected to send a notice in advance.
  • If found guilty of contravening the license regulations in a court of law, one may land behind bars for up to six months, be sentenced to a fine of not more than R500.00, or both.

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Tim van der Walt
Tim van der Walt
Tim is another of our talented writers, the one who plays music on replay, drinks more coffee than beer, plays video games, and reads poetry. In between, Tim reviews products, write about computers, games, and talk tech and arts. If there is a WIII, he thinks it could be caused by bad writing.


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