SABC to consult dept on draft Bill

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pretoria - The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) management is to consult with the Department of Communications on its new draft Bill seeking to abolish TV licences.

The SABC said it noted the contents of the draft Public Service Broadcasting (PSB) Bill as published in the government gazette on 28 October 2009.

However, the SABC said: "The Bill was currently a discussion document which still had to go through a public consultation process and various legislative processes before it becomes law.

"Payment of TV license fees remains in force, and any person or entity in possession of or using a television set will still be liable for payment of license fees in terms of current legislation," said the broadcaster's spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

The SABC said that all outstanding license fees monies will remain due and payable until accounts are fully paid up. "The SABC will continue to engage the department in the formulation and finalisation of the envisaged new PSB legislation," said Kganyago.

According to the gazette, the aim of the Bill is to repeal the Broadcasting Act, 199, so as to align the broadcasting system to the developmental goals of the country and to establish a Public Service Broadcasting Fund to fund public broadcasting in the country.

Among other aspects of the proposed Bill is to establish within the SABC the International Broadcasting Services and to Transfer Channel Africa to the International Broadcasting Services. The Bill also aims to revise the composition of the board of the SABC as well as to introduce a performance management system for the board.

In August, the corporation announced that viewers would be paying more for their television licenses. The fee increased from R225 to R250 following Minister Sphiwe Nyanda's approval of an 11 percent increment in the annual tariff for business, dealers and domestic users. However, concessionary TV licenses granted to people over the age of 70 as well as those receiving grants from the state will see them paying R75 per annum.

Members of the public have until 7 December to submit comments to the department's Dr Mashilo Boloka, the director for broadcasting policy at the department at Private Bag X860, Pretoria 0001 or deliver to First Floor Block A3, iParoli Office Park 399 Duncan street in Hatfield. People can also fax their comments to (012) 427-8059 or email miyelani@doc.gov.za

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