STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS PERTAINING TO A TELEVISION LICENCE
(SUMMARY OF BROADCASTING ACT NO 4 OF 1999, AS AMENDED AND TV LICENCE REGULATIONS)
"domestic licence" means the category of television licence which confers upon the user of a television set or the owner or occupier of the residential premises in which the television set is being used, the right to use such a television set at those premises only;
“family members of the holder of a domestic licence” means allnatural persons who are:-
(a) permanently resident with such holder; and
(b) in fact dependent on such holder; and
(c) owed a legal dutyof support by such holder
“licence holder” means a person to whom a television licence has been issued by the SABC and “holder” has the same meaning;
“licensing year” means the one year period commencing on the date when the television licence fee becomes due and payable according to the SABC’s records.
“residential premises” means any house, flat, room, caravan, vessel, vehicle, building or structure which is occupied by a person as his residence, whether permanently or temporarily
“television set”: means any apparatus designed or adapted to be capable of receiving transmissions broadcast in the course of a television broadcasting service; and includes computers fitted with electronic broadcast cards (television tuner cards) and the electronic broadcast cards themselves;
“television licence” means a current and valid written licence issued in terms of this Act for the use of a television set;
2. GENERAL LICENCE HOLDER OBLIGATIONS
In terms of the Broadcasting Act and Television Licence Regulations licence holders are required to take note of and/or comply with the following:
• All TV licence fees are payable in advance, at the beginning of each licence year.
• A television licence is valid only at the permanent address reflected on the licence.
• A TV licence is valid for one year and the licensing period is stated on the licence.
• Renewal dates are spread over 12 months, with a TV licence holder’s renewal month determined by the first letter of his/her surname or, alternatively, by the month of acquisition of his/her television set.
• The SABC sends out renewal notices ±2 months in advance. However, the Broadcasting Act states explicitly that non-receipt of such notice is not a legally acceptable reason for late or non-renewal – the onus rests on a licence holder to renew by the due date without any prompting from the SABC.
• When taking out a domestic/household television licence for the first time, a person is required to provide his/her personal particulars: surname, initials, ID number, fixed address and contact details.
• When first applying for a television licence the full annual fee is payable. Thereafter, a domestic licence may be paid in monthly instalments. A concessionary licence is payable in full annually and may not be paid in instalments. (Refer to tariff schedule under point 5).
• When renewing a television licence, a person is required to present an existing licence, a copy thereof, or a renewal notice.
• A licence holder must notify the SABC, in writing, of a change of address within 30 days.
• A television licence is not required when a person is no longer in possession of a TV set. The SABC must be notified on a prescribed form of the changed circumstances making possession of a TV licence unnecessary, as a result of the licensed television set having been sold/given away; stolen, repossessed or having broken down permanently. Such notice must be given by way of an affidavit/solemn statement by no later than 30 days after the end of a licence holder’s current licence year.
• A television licence does not “lapse” and isn’t “cancelled automatically” if payment is discontinued – prescribed obligations have to be complied with and documentation completed to have a television licence cancelled. Should a licensed TV set have been sold or donated as a gift, the SABC requires the new owner’s particulars; should it have been stolen, the date of the theft, the name of the Police Station to which and the case number under which the theft was reported is needed; should it have been repossessed, documentary proof in the form of a repossession letter from a dealer must be provided; and should a TV set have broken down confirmation that the set is permanently out of order is required – also by way of an affidavit.
• No licence is cancelled while moneys are still outstanding on an account. All arrears, applicable penalties and a fine become payable if one is found in possession of a television set after cancellation of one’s licence.
• A television licence is not transferable from one licence holder to another except between spouses or between unmarried “life partners” in a permanent relationship, on the death of a husband/wife or partner.
• A person purchasing a television set must be in possession of a valid (paid-up) TV licence. A television set may not be purchased using someone else’s TV licence.
• A single domestic television licence is required per household regardless of the number of TV sets, provided that all sets so licensed are used at a licence holder’s residential premises only by members of his/her family.
• “Family members of a television licence holder” – defined as all persons who are permanently resident with the licence holder; and are dependent on him, and are owed a legal duty of support by the licence holder – are covered by a single TV licence in his/her name. A person has to meet all three of these conditions to be covered by a household’s TV licence. In practice, such domestic licence covers a licence holder and his/her immediate, dependent family members – in the case of a married couple, a husband/wife and his/her dependent, minor children. Adult (non-dependent) children or more distant relatives – such as adult children, parents/ grandparents, brothers/sisters, uncles/aunts – or boarders or lodgers sharing a family’s home, are not defined as family members. They are separately liable for television sets in their possession and/or used by them.
• A separate domestic television licence at the full annual tariff is required for a second or additional residential property (e.g., a holiday home) since a different physical address is involved.
• Television licence accounts that are more than 60 days overdue 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.
• An authorised Television Licence Inspector may enter any property in order to verify whether there is a TV set at such premises. He/she may request the owner or occupier of such premises to produce a television licence or ID document and/or to provide an ID or TV licence account number. He/she may ask that a television set 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. A business, dealer or lessor of TV sets may be requested to furnish information about any transaction involving television sets, such as sales, rental agreements, etc. An authorised inspector may be identified by his/her TV Licence Inspector Card and/or by contacting the SABC on 011-3309555.
· Television Licence Regulation No 17 states explicitly: “All television licence fees are payable in advance.” The SABC has not provided any goods/services on credit or extended any loan facility to a licence holder. Since unpaid licence fees are not “credit” extended to a defaulter, said fees are not subject to legislation regulating consumer credit [such as the National Credit Act, No 34 of 2005, or the Prescription Act, No 68 of 1969– both of which aim to protect consumers entering into credit transactions]. Said acts relate to payment made afterwards for services/goods already received, whereas television licence fees are payable in advance. Prescription therefore does not apply.
3. OBLIGATIONS RELATING TO SPECIFIC LICENCE HOLDER CATEGORIES
1) Domestic Television Licence
• All of the above general obligations apply to the holder of a domestic/household television licence.
2) Concessionary Domestic Television Licence
• A person must apply to the SABC for a concessionary licence. Those who qualify are:
- A person of 70 years or older, as from the beginning of the first licence year after turning 70, provided that such person does not share residential premises with any-one (other than a spouse or partner) who is younger than 70 and who is not a family member of the holder of a domestic licence. Such concessionary licence is valid only for the residential premises of the licence holder.
- A receiver of a social grant from the State, on the basis of being an aged or disabled person as defined in the Social Assistance Act of 1992.
• A person of 70 years or older applying to the SABC for a concessionary TV licence must complete a standard pro forma affidavit/solemn declaration confirming his/her living arrangements. Should an applicant share a residence with another family/household, the concession will apply only if such household has a separate, valid (paid-up) television licence for a TV set or sets used by them. The concession will apply as from the first licence year after the licence holder has turned 70.
• A receiver of a social grant (old-age, disability, war veteran) from the State in terms of the Social Assistance Act of 1992 must submit documentary proof thereof in the form of a letter from the Department of Social Development (or similar documentation) confirming the date from which he/she is in receipt of such grant. The concession will apply as from the first licence year after receipt of such grant.
3) Business Television Licence
• A business television licence is required by businesses (including government departments) using TV sets in their business/commercial activities or on premises occupied for business purposes. Businesses pay per TV set in their possession.
• Once a year, the SABC has to be provided with an audited statement indicating the number of television sets and the period for which such sets were in their possession. Should an inspection reveal any irregularities in this regard, a business is liable for the additional TV licence fees and fines. A penalty of R300.00 per set shall also be imposed.
4) Dealer Television Licence
• A dealer (retailer) selling television sets requires a single dealer (demonstration) licence, covering the TV sets on display for sale. Separate business licences are required for other sets on the premises. Retailers found to be operating without a dealer television licence will be fined R10 000 per outlet.
• A retailer selling TV sets has the following reporting obligations to the SABC:
- Ensuring that a prospective purchaser is in possession of a valid (paid-up) television licence prior to releasing a TV set;
- Capturing a purchaser’s personal particulars (ID number, address, contact details and television licence account number) in a Dealers’ Register;
- Forwarding such register to the SABC on a monthly basis;
- Providing the SABC with an Annual Audited Statement reflecting the number of sets sold during the dealers licence year.
• A retailer selling a television set to an unlicensed purchaser will be liable for a penalty of R3 000 to R10 000 for each set so sold. A dealer’s failure to comply with his monthly reporting obligations to the SABC would result in a penalty of R300.00 per set for each set not reported on.
5) Lessor Television Licence
• A lessor (a business renting out television sets to viewers) requires a lessor TV licence and said business – not the persons renting sets from it – is liable for payment of licence fees to the SABC. The Corporation must be provided with a monthly report on the number of television sets rented out, reflecting the details of lessees. After each licensing year, the number of TV sets so used must be confirmed by way of an Annual Audited Statement. Penalties apply for failure to comply with the reporting obligations.
6) Mobile Television Licence
• A mobile television licence is required for a television set built as a fixture into any vehicle, caravan, mobile home, vessel or aircraft used for private purposes. This applies, for instance, to television sets fitted to luxury motor vehicles.
Public schools are exempted from the legal requirement to pay a television licence fees. Other educational institutions, hospitals, charitable organisations, or homes for the aged, the infirm or the disabled are not exempted. A public school would still require a television licence in order to purchase a television set but would subsequently be exempted from payment of licence fees.
5. TELEVISION LICENCE FEES
The TV licence fees / charges are the current rates and may change without prior notice:
ANNUAL LICENCE FEES
Dealer, Business & all other licence categories
R28.00 per month (12 x R28.00) = R336.00
Dealer’s penalty for unlicensed stores / outlets
Bank charge on dishonoured cheque
6. COMMUNICATION TO THE SABC
Any communication to the Corporation shall be in writing and shall be forwarded to the SABC:
i. Post to
Private Bag X60
ii. Freepost to:
iii. Customer Care Contact Centre:
iv: Website and email address: