The DA (Democratic Alliance) has opened up a petition against the government’s controversial proposal to introduce new legislation that will force streaming viewers to pay for SABC TV License for smartphones and tablets, Channel24 reports.
The new legislation would allow TV-operators such as MultiChoice to collect SABC TV License fees from subscribers by adding the fees to their video streaming bills.
On the online petition forum the DA argues that the public already had to suffer the consequences of the billions of bailout the SABC has received from the public.
Instead the DA suggests that the SABC should find creative ways of sustaining itself without forking out the money from the public.
According to current legislation, the public pays a TV licence fee for viewing “broadcasting services”, which includes subscription services like DSTV. When you purchase a television, whether you watch SABC content on it or not, you must pay a licence fee for any “broadcasting services.”
The petition suggests that the emergence of streaming services such as Netflix, Apple +, Showmax, Amazon Prime and the like has resulted that the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies proposed broadening the definition of a “broadcasting service” to include online broadcasting services.”
This would mean that the public would have to pay a license fee for watching any broadcasting services which includes streaming services regardless whether it is on a TV, computer or phone.
We are calling on all citizens to reject the ANC's threat to extend the payment of TV licence fees to streaming services such as Netflix.
We have already had to suffer the consequences for SABC failures.
Make your voice heard now & sign this petition.https://t.co/qTwNttcu1a
— Democratic Alliance (@Our_DA) December 13, 2020
The DA in union with the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) questions: “Why should Netflix and DStv be obliged to collect revenue on behalf of another entity and how will this initiative be facilitated? Furthermore how will the money be collected and then handed over to the SABC?”
More importantly, “How will subscribers practically be managed because Netflix and DStv subscribers may sign up and cancel at any time?”
Channel24 reports that after facing financial difficulty, the SABC had to suspend its retrenchment process until 2021 as a result of political and trade union pressure, experiencing a loss of R511 million for the 2019/2020 financial year.
The next financial year doesn’t seem all to hopeful as well with an expected loss of R1.2 Billion.
In addition, apart from making private companies responsible for collecting SABC TV License fees (because SABC is unable to do so themselves), the draft proposal wants to enforce that local and international streaming services like Netflix, Showmax and the like broadcast 30% local content in South Africa.
The public can visit the SA’s site to sign the petition.