We all know the cliché “Pay your TV licence, it is the right thing to do” So yes, if you own a Television set, it is a statutory requirement that you will need a TV Licence in order to use it legitimately, same as a car and car licence.
But now we all know that many people at some point, got rid of their TV’s or was the owner of one at some point, and not anymore. The SABC is persistent to still try to collect the fee from such people too, even if they are dead, and charge them penalties and interest if not paid. They hand you over to shady debt collectors who try to intimidate you in many shady and sometimes illegal ways to pay up.
At this point, there are two main things you need to know. The one is, that the National Credit Regulator (NCR) way back in 2008 (date under correction) already prohibited the SABC to list default payments on any credit bureau because of their bookkeeping that is (and still are) in shambles. The other thing is YES, indeed, TV licence debt indeed does prescribe.
The shady debt collectors will how ever try to tell you:
That TV Licence debt cannot prescribe because it is a statutory requirement, and/or that it is not a debt because one pays for it in advance and it does not fall under the NCA. (National credit act)
Now both of these arguments is flaunted and must be treated with the disdain it deserves. No where in the prescription act, or in the broadcasting act does it state that TV Licence fees does not prescribe. The fact is, that once a fee or payment becomes due, prescription starts to run. The other fact is, that the NCA define this debt, where you pay in advance but did not pay now you are in arrears, as “coincidental debt” and that brings it right into the cross hairs of the NCA. Prescription is thus applicable and will start to run from the first day after it was due to be paid. In other words, a pre-paid thing becomes a debt if not paid on due date. Then the argument of statutory requirement left the bus completely because many other debts are statutory requirements, such as school fees etc, they all prescribe, if there was no summons issued or no judgement taken against the debtor, and that is it.
Now take this article and go rub it under the noses of those shady debt collectors from the SABC, after all, it is the right thing to do!