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‘WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE PAYING TV LICENCE FOR’?

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Sir,


Reference is made to the aforementioned subject matter which appeared on the Times SUNDAY dated September 30, 2018. In terms of Section 22 of the Swaziland Television Authority Act 1983 (the ‘Act’), any person who is in possession of a gadget capable of receiving, communicating and/or transmitting television signal must be in possession of a licence issued in terms of the Act. The aforementioned section creates an obligation for every person who is in possession of a gadget capable of receiving, transmitting and/or communicating television signal to ensure that such gadgets are licensed.


Section 23 of the Act states that, it is an offence for one to be in possession of a gadget capable of transmitting television signal without a licence and on conviction would be fined E500 or face imprisonment of up to a period of six months or both.


Paying for a television licence fee is not a service contract with the Eswatini Television Authority, where the payee says she/he will pay for the licence in return for better content. With or without better content, every person in possession of the above mentioned gadgets has to comply with Section 22 of the Act or risk facing criminal prosecution and jail time. It does not matter, further, that one is watching the gadget or not. In a word, content is not a barometer with which the licencees are to gauge whether or not to pay for their television licence fees.


We, therefore, urge those owning gadgets such as television sets, monitors, DStv decoders, mobile televisions, video cassette recorders, DVDs, VCDs and any gadget that transmits video and voice to pay for their licences before our inspectors pounce on them. A television licence costs E180 per year or E15 for renewal of an expired TV licence payable per month. Other gadgets such as DStv decoders, VCRs, VCDs and DVDs cost E50 per year. The validity of a TV licence is 12 months and it expires on December 31 of that year of issue. Failure to pay for a television licence on time attracts a 50 per cent penalty.


Modicai Donga
TV Licence Project Manager

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