Currently, TV license law states that a TV licence fee must be paid when viewing “broadcasting services”, such as DSTV, or SABC content, for example, on a purchased TV. In this sense, “broadcasting services” are limited to content viewed on a TV set.
The government states in its white paper, that advances and changes in technology used for broadcasting will require “policy interventions to ensure that the disruptions and changes will not reinforce current disparities of access in South Africa to ICT technologies and services”.
In other words, the plan to charge people extended license fees for viewing streaming services on any device including their phones, is being punted as a promotion of socio-economic development and investment. The proposal published by the Department of Communications & Digital Technologies can be viewed in the link in the below statement.
DA Shadow Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies, Zakhele Mbhele MP, made the following statement
“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.
We will now submit these objections to the Acting Director-General of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, Nomvuyiso Batyi, on behalf of the thousands of South Africans ahead of the Monday, 15 February deadline.
The DA stands with the thousands of South Africans who reject the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies’ plan to extend TV licence fees to these online platforms in its Draft White Paper on Audio and Audio-visual Content Services Policy Framework.
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. The ANC is solely responsible for the demise of the public broadcaster through their political capturing and interference with its operations.
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.
The DA is delighted that South Africans have made their voices heard. Members of the public who have not yet done so have until tomorrow to submit their comments and objections on the Draft White Paper by emailing the Acting Director-General at firstname.lastname@example.org.”