TV own­ers see red as SABC gets heavy-handed

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - NONI MOKATI

THE NA­TIONAL broad­caster is still not mak­ing friends as frus­trated cus­tomers on its data­base con­tinue to see red, claim­ing to be “hounded” by the SABC’s lawyers and debt col­lec­tors try­ing to re­claim al­leged out­stand­ing penal­ties.

Pen­sioner Bar­bara Figueiredo is among those who claims she is con­stantly ha­rassed for what the SABC says is an out­stand­ing amount of R981. Figueiredo moved to England two years ago to find work and says she’s had no joy can­celling her li­cence.

“I keep get­ting mes­sages to pay via e-mail. I’ve told them I don’t have a TV and that I don’t live in South Africa, but no one will lis­ten. They (col­lec­tion com­pa­nies) are like bull­dogs, they never let go.”

The last straw was when the ten­ant who lives in her South African prop­erty in­formed her SABC in­spec­tors had been knock­ing on her door.

Ac­cord­ing to the SABC, a tele­vi­sion li­cence is not re­quired when a per­son is no longer in pos­ses­sion of a TV set. If a licenced TV set has been sold or do­nated, par­tic­u­lars of the new owner must be logged with the SABC. If a TV is stolen, a po­lice case num­ber and de­tails must also be given to the SABC.

The cor­po­ra­tion says no li­cences are can­celled while fees are still out­stand­ing on an ac­count. A monthly 10 per­cent penalty fee is charged on out­stand­ing amounts.

Trevor Hat­tingh, Na­tional Con­sumer Com­mis­sion spokesman, said that be­tween April last year and Septem­ber this year it reg­is­tered 13 com­plaints against the SABC re­lat­ing to TV li­cence debt col­lec­tion.

Com­plaints are either about a dis­pute over TV li­cence fees, or ha­rass­ment from at­tor­neys act­ing on be­half of the SABC.

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