Parliament discusses new SABC TV licence for Netflix, streaming services

Parliament discusses new SABC TV licence for Netflix, streaming services

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Phumzile van Damme has pleaded with Parliament to rethink the proposed policy to extend the payment of TV licence fees to include streaming services such as Netflix.

Netflix on TV
Source: Pixabay

On Wednesday morning the Department of Communications presented its draft proposal to the portfolio committee.

The proposal - which is open for public comment – points out that the current definition of broadcasting does not capture the range of new services available to the public.  

The proposed amendment will replace the current licence category to include all broadcasting platforms.

It also says the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) will decide how much licences will be.

The department's Collins Mashile said the amendment is meant to ensure a level playing field.

"In the interest of fair competition, this threshold will apply to international AAVCS who are actively targeting South African audiences and are extracting revenues in terms of advertising subscription services and other services.

"We still dealing with that regulation parity, so that at least the people that operate here contribute in a way like others who are competing with them," he said.


SABC halts retrenchment process until end of December

This comes after they initially halted the process last week for 7 days. Some 400 jobs are expected to be shed by the ailing broadcaster. But the board is under immense pressure from unions to retract the section 189 notices. SABC acting spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo says the decision comes after talks with unions and other stakeholders.

Van Damme first questioned the implementation of such policies for streaming services that do not have offices in South Africa, saying that it could lead to court cases and unnecessary expenditure.

She also felt the department cannot burden South Africans with more expenses.

"Let us not once again turn to the public and say 'you have to pay more'.

"A lot of them have already had to suffer the consequences of the billions of bailouts that the SABC has received over the years. I plead that we do not support anything that will require the public to fork out any more money.

"Let's rather focus on solutions that will better the SABC's ability to self-sustain," Van Damme added.

LISTEN TO more news Jacaranda
Jacaranda FM

Show's Stories