A new proposal to ditch the SABC’s TV licences for a ring-fenced tax collected by SARS is on the cards as less than a fifth of viewers are paying, notes a Cape Argus report.

The Department of Communications & Digital Technologies’ draft White Paper on audio and audio-visual media services and online content safety, dated July, said the government was considering these proposals to help the public broadcaster better fulfil its mandate.

In addition, the draft White Paper also has on the cards a comprehensive overhaul of the SABC’s funding model based on international best practices to ensure the public broadcaster has adequate funds to meet its public mandate.

Satellite television provider MultiChoice is proposing an overhaul of the SABC’s funding model to phase out TV licences and introduce a ring-fenced public broadcasting service levy to be collected by SARS.

The department has indicated that this proposed funding model is being considered in the SABC Bill.

Communications & Digital Technologies Minister Mondli Gungubele said his department proposed the television licence model be replaced with the household fee model in terms of the SABC Bill, approved by the Cabinet in November for submission to Parliament for processing.

‘Pending the legislative changes, the department will continuously engage with the SABC and National Treasury to examine the options for reform required of the current TV licence system to properly provide for the funding requirements of the SABC and the most appropriate collection, enforcement systems and a time frame for implementation,’ he said.

Full Cape Argus report