SA Government to reconsider SABC TV license fees

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane says the review of the public broadcasting policy will start with the review of the SABC.This includes, among others, the logic of maintaining a 3-tier broadcasting system given the regulatory incapacity to enforce it; ownership and control rules; the capacity of the regulator to regulate the sector and the need to strengthen the Free-to-Air platform, particularly the SABC as a public broadcaster.

The review process will begin with the review of the public broadcaster and the frameworks that govern it. We have already issued a notice inviting stakeholders to submit issues for consideration on matters pertaining to its mandate, funding model, including TV license fees, governance and accountability measures.

Mokonyane further declared, “The issue of an appropriate funding model of the public broadcaster, for instance, has been deferred for too long and we hope [these] focused discussions on the public broadcaster will finally resolve it. The due date for public submissions on the notice is mid-July 2018.In this regard, we wish to invite the active participation of the sector in helping create a new vision for the broadcasting sector in our country for future generations. As government, we cannot succeed in doing the above alone without sector participation and partnerships.”

SABC is progressively recovering with the recent appointment of group chief executive officer Madoda Mxakwe and Chief Financial Officer Yolande van Biljob, the SABC, which is not in a stable state, is on a gradual path of recovery.

Mokonyane confirmed the department has in this regard appointed a joint turnaround team that also comprises of the National Treasury and the SABC, led by a turnaround strategist in a bid to improve the public broadcaster’s performance and sustainability.

On the other hand, Mokonyane appointed Aldred Dreyer to lead a dedicated project management office of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) project outside the structure of the department.

The Minister also said that while South Africa missed its digital migration deadline of June 2015, she has been informed by signal distributor SENTECH that M-Net has successfully migrated to digital and that they have switched off all their analogue transmitter sites.