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TV Licences > Question and Answers




We’ve compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions to provide you with the answers you need. Scroll down to solve your query, otherwise call our Customer Service Centre on (011)330-9555.


Q: What are the various types of television licence?

A: There are six types: 1] A domestic licence, previously known as a private licence, for households and/or individuals, authorising the use of the licensed set(s) at the user's registered residential premises only; 2] A concessionary domestic licence; 3] A business licence, for entities (including government departments) using TV sets in their business/commercial activities or on premises occupied for business purposes; 4] A dealer licence, for businesses selling TV sets; 5] A lessor licence, for businesses renting out television sets; and 6] A mobile licence, for a TV set in any vehicle, caravan, mobile home, vessel or aircraft used for private purposes.

Q: Who needs a television licence?

A: In terms of the Broadcasting Act, No 4 of 1999, as amended, any person or entity that has in its possession and/or uses a TV set. A licence remains payable, irrespective of whether a television set in one's possession is used or not.

Q: When is a television licence payable, and for how long is a licence valid?

A: A television licence is payable in advance, before the beginning of a licence holder's licence year. A licence is valid for one year and the licence period is indicated on the licence.

Q: What is a television set, as defined in the Broadcasting Act?

A: Any device designed or adapted to be capable of receiving a broadcast television signal. That includes a PC fitted with a TV tuner card, or a videocassette recorder (VCR) connected to a monitor or TV screen.

Q: What are the annual licence fees?

A: R265.00 per annum for a domestic, business, dealer, lessor or mobile television licence, and R74.00 per annum for a concessionary TV licence.

Q: How shall I know when to renew my TV licence?

A: The SABC sends out renewal notices ±2 months in advance. However, non-receipt of such notice is not an excuse for failure to renew nor for late renewal.

Q: What do I need when renewing my licence?

A: On renewal, one needs to present one's existing TV licence, a copy thereof, or a renewal notice.

Q: May one pay the licence fee in instalments?

A: Yes - but when first applying for a television licence, the full R265.00 annual fee is payable. Thereafter, a domestic licence may be paid in monthly instalments of R28.00 per month. However, a R74.00 concessionary licence is payable only in a lump sum – not in monthly or quarterly instalments.

Q: What happens if I fail to pay my television licence fees?

A: Overdue accounts are handed over to the SABC's lawyers for debt collection. If payments are late, an account incurs a penalty of 10% per month to a maximum of 100% per annum.

Q: What are the legal consequences of contravening the TV licence legislation?

A: Anyone found guilty in court of failing to comply with the law may be sentenced to a fine of not more than R500.00 or to imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

Q: Our family has more than one television set. How many TV licences do we need?

A: A single domestic licence is required per household, provided that: all sets so licensed are used only at the licence holder's residential premises; all sets so licensed are used only by members of the licence holder's family.

Q: Who are regarded as "members of the family"?

A: All persons who are permanently resident with the licence holder and are dependent on him/her and are owed a legal duty of support by the licence holder are covered by the single domestic licence in his/her name. In other words, persons such as adult (non-dependent) children earning their own keep but residing with their parents, elderly parents receiving a pension or own income and living with their adult children, and boarders/lodgers living with a family are separately liable for payment of TV licence fees in respect of television sets in their possession or used by them.

Q: Is a television licence transferable from one licence holder to another?

A: No, EXCEPT between spouses or between “life partners” in a permanent relationship sharing the same residence, on the death of a husband/wife or partner.

Q: May one use someone else's TV licence to purchase a television set?

A: NO – one needs one's own licence, unless one is a family member of a licence holder.

Q: Do unmarried “life partners” living together need separate licences if they have more than one TV set?

A: No – a single domestic licence is required, provided that the partners furnish the SABC with a standard affidavit confirming their status as unmarried parties to a life partnership.

Q: Who qualifies for a concessionary domestic television licence?

A: One must apply to the SABC for such licence and submit the prescribed documentation with one’s application. Those who qualify are: a receiver of a Social Grant from the State, on the basis of being an aged or disabled person or a war veteran, as defined in the Social Assistance Act of 1992; a person of 70 years or older, as from the beginning of the first licence year after turning 70, subject to certain provisions.

Q: What documentation must be furnished with my application for such concession?

A: The following documents are required: In the case of receiving a State old-age, disability or war veteran’s grant, confirmation thereof in the form of a letter from the Department of Social Development, indicating the date from which the grant is being received. In the case of a person of 70 years or older, a duly completed and certified affidavit (sworn/solemn statement) confirming the applicant’s living conditions. If the applicant (and his/her spouse) shares a home with another family, a concession is granted only if such family has its own, valid (paid-up) television licence.

Q: Does my domestic television licence cover the TV set(s) in my holiday home?

A: An additional licence fee at the full annual tariff of R265.00 is payable on a licence holder’s existing domestic TV licence account in respect of a TV set or sets in a holiday home or at additional residential premises. The licence holder’s domestic TV licence is endorsed accordingly, to reflect the physical address of such additional residential premises.

Q: Does my concessionary domestic licence cover the TV set(s) in my holiday home?

A: No. The concession applies only to the concession holder’s permanent residence. An additional licence fee at the full annual tariff of R265.00 is payable on a licence holder’s existing concessionary TV licence account in respect of a TV set or sets in a holiday home or at additional residential premises. The licence holder’s concessionary TV licence is endorsed accordingly, to reflect the physical address of such additional residential premises.

Q: What may a TV licence inspector require of me when visiting my premises?

A: The Broadcasting Act stipulates that the SABC may require a person who uses a TV set, or a person who is the owner or occupier of any premises on which a television set is used, to furnish such information as may be prescribed or necessary in order to determine whether the Act is being complied with. You may be required to furnish your TV licence, ID document and/or TV licence account number. If requested, a TV set must be produced for inspection. Information such as receipt numbers, number of television sets, addresses, etc, may also be requested in order to determine the validity of a television licence. Authorised TV Licence Inspectors may enter any premises to carry out an inspection.

Q: What happens if I'm caught without a licence by a TV Licence Inspector?

A: Anyone found in possession of a television set without having a valid TV licence would be liable for payment of the annual licence fee, plus a penalty of double the licence fee.

Q: Are some persons or entities exempted from payment of licence fees?

A: Yes. Public schools are the ONLY educational institutions exempted from the legal requirement of having a television licence. Private schools, universities and other tertiary educational institutions, hospitals, old age or frail-care homes, charities and churches or religious organisations are NOT exempted. If one's television equipment (TV set and VCR) has been “denatured” by having the receiving capability (signal receiver or "tuner") removed, a television licence is not required.

Q: How is a TV set “denatured” so that a TV licence is not required?

A: Removal of a television set’s "tuner" renders it incapable of receiving any TV signal and, consequently, exempt from the need to be licensed. Written notice to the SABC of such denaturing must be supported by documentary proof in the form of a letter/invoice/receipt from a reputable TV repairer or installer. A R300.00 payment must accompany such application to the SABC, after which an authorised agent will be despatched to inspect the applicant’s TV equipment. On receipt of confirmation from the agent that the applicant has NO television receiving equipment [TV set(s), VCR(s) or PC(s) fitted with a tuner card] in his/her possession, he/she will be exempted from payment of licence fees for the rest of the current licensing period. Should a licence holder thereafter require such exemption to be extended, written application by way of an affidavit confirming that the applicant still has no TV receiving equipment must be made on an annual basis three months before the end of each licence year. Should an authorised inspector visit an exempted licence holder’s premises and find that the receiving capability of his/her TV equipment has been restored, he/she becomes liable for payment of all applicable licence fees and penalties, plus a R300.00 inspection fee.

Q: Do I need a TV licence if my set is used only to view videos? What must I do if I don't want to pay a TV licence?

A: What a television set is used for is irrelevant in terms of the legal liability for payment of TV licence fees. As long as one has television receiving equipment in one's possession a licence remains payable. If one doesn't want to pay a licence, the SABC must be satisfied that one has no television receiving equipment in one's possession because such equipment has either been disposed of or denatured.

Q: When is a TV licence no longer required? What must one do to cancel a licence?

A: When one has sold or otherwise disposed of one's television set(s) a TV licence is no longer required. The SABC must be notified on a prescribed form (affidavit) of the changed circumstances. No licence is cancelled while moneys are still outstanding on an account.

Q: On what basis does a business entity pay licence fees for television sets?

A: Unlike private households, businesses pay per TV set used by them.

Q: On what basis do TV dealers pay licence fees?

A: A dealer requires a single dealer (demonstration) licence, covering the television sets on display for sale. A separate business licence is required for other TV sets used on the premises. A dealer selling a television set to an unlicensed purchaser is liable for a penalty of R3 000 to R10 000 for each set so sold.

Q: What are a licence holder's obligations when moving to a new address?

A: The SABC must be informed in writing within 30 days of a change of address.

Q: How are address changes and other TV licence information conveyed to the SABC?

A: All notices to the SABC must be in writing and addressed to: The Manager, Television Licences, SABC, Private Bag X60, Auckland Park 2006; or By freepost to: JHZ153K, SABC, Auckland Park; or By fax/e-mail to the numbers/addresses on the SABC's TV licence correspondence.

Q: What happens if a bank dishonours a cheque for payment of one's TV licence?

A: An amount of R100.00 excluding VAT is payable by the licence holder per dishonoured cheque returned to the SABC by its bankers or paypoints.

Q: How and where can a TV licence be paid?

A: Details of payment options and paypoints are printed on the reverse side of your TV licence account statement.


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