The South African government owes the struggling public broadcaster over R57.1 million in outstanding SABC TV licence fees and adverts.
Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, South Africa’s minister of communications and digital technologies, in a written response to MP Phumzile van Damme of the Democratic Alliance (DA), revealed that the South African government owes the struggling and financially cash-strapped SABC over R57.1 million in outstanding SABC TV licence fees payments and for advertising.
“A total of 20 national departments have outstanding SABC TV licence fees balances,” said Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. According to Ndabeni-Abrahams, 126 provincial departments have outstanding licence fees.
Furthermore, a whopping “249 municipality accounts owe SABC TV licence fees. A total of 57 SOEs have outstanding SABC TV licence fees on their accounts,” said Ndabeni-Abrahams.
In addition, South Africa’s government owes the SABC R29.2 million in advertising: three national departments owe R13.1 million, 24 provincial departments owe R9.2 million, six municipalities owe R2.3 million, and eight SOEs owe the SABC R4.5 million in payment for on-air advertising.
The Government Communications and Information Services (GCIS) owes the SABC almost a third of the debt in debt in advertising sales, with the Compensation Fund that owes the SABC R3.7 million in advertising payments and the eThekwini Metro that must still pay the SABC R1.1 million for advertising.
Previously only a third, but now less than a quarter of South African TV households still bother to pay their annual SABC TV licence with the percentage that keeps decreasing. In the SABC’s latest 2019/2020 financial report for the struggling public broadcaster’s revenue from SABC TV, licence fees declined 18% year-on-year to R791 million.
“This resulted in only 24% of the total licence fees billed being realised as revenue, compared to 31% for the year ended 31 March 2019.”