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The SABC can take default judgement against you for outstanding TV licence fees

by | Apr 30, 2021 | Personal Finance

The SABC is not a credit provider, as credit required money to be borrowed and paid back over time. By contrast, TV licences were paid upfront – either on an annual or monthly basis.

This means the SABC is not able to list a consumer as defaulting on a credit commitment, which banks or retailers could do. This, is according to Stefanie Fick, executive director of the accountability division of of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA)

OUTA has said that since your TV licence is not credit provided by the SABC, but rather something which was paid upfront or on a monthly basis, the SABC could not be seen as a credit provider.

“Non-payment of your TV licence is not credit provided by the SABC, it is more like a tax,” Fick said. Therefore, the initial failure to pay your TV licence would have no bearing on your credit score.

They did however make it clear that if you continued to not make payment whilst in possession of a television, the SABC obtained a default judgement against you for outstanding payments payments, it could affect your credit record and your credit score. But for this to take place, For this, the SABC would have to institute formal legal proceedings, which included the issue of a court summons.

The Broadcasting Act says that if a person is found guilty of contravening or failing to comply with the TV licence requirement , they can be fined up to a maximum of R500 and/or to imprisonment for a period of up to six months.

Despite not being a credit provider, the SABC can charge a fee for every month for which the licence holder is behind on payments. This would be equal to 10% of the annual fee (R28.50) or up to 100% per annum (R285).

This is not the same as interest on credit, as the maximum amount would still be equal to the fee and not an additional cost. If you were one year behind on payments, you will only be liable for an annual fee, unless the SABC takes you to court and you are fined the additional R500

Having a clear credit record and access to credit is a huge advantage to have in this day and age, especially if you are saving towards a house or unexpectedly need to make an emergency loan.

Avoid having negative information such as defaults and judgements listed on your credit record, and rather make contact with a registered debt counsellor the moment you feel the proverbial pinch in your finances.

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