AfriForum calls for scrapping of TV licences

The SABC building in Auckland Park. File Picture: Karen Sandison / Independent Newspapers

The SABC building in Auckland Park. File Picture: Karen Sandison / Independent Newspapers

Published Jan 15, 2024


AfriForum is calling for television licences to be scrapped. The group said TV licences have proved to be "a woefully ineffective“ source of funding for the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

"In 2022/2023 the evasion rate for paying TV licence fees stood at a staggering 87%. TV licences should therefore be scrapped and replaced with an alternative funding model that actually works," said AfriForum's head of public relations, Ernst van Zyl.

The civil rights organisation is further calling for the privatisation of the SABC.

Van Zyl said the group has written to the Portfolio Committee on Communications and Digital Technologies with their solutions for the SABC's prolonged and continued struggles with funding, corruption, mismanagement, and wasteful expenditure. AfriForum’s main solution proposes the privatisation of the State-owned enterprise.

He said if government rejects this decentralisation of state power, the alternative is for TV licences to be scrapped. Either way, the current dysfunctional status quo cannot continue," he added.

AfriForum's request to privatise the SABC is based on the group's belief that this will lead to better efficiency, higher-quality programmes, and financial stability.

Van Zyl said privatisation would also help fight corruption and mismanagement.

"In regard to the arguments for scrapping TV licences, AfriForum cites the sky-high rates of evasion and non-compliance, as well as the unjustifiable extra financial burden it places on poor households. AfriForum also suggests possible alternative sources of funding, such as funding through partnerships, sponsorships, and collaboration with private entities," he said.

He said government has had more than enough time to turn the dire and deteriorating situation at the broadcaster around.