Thursday 2018-08-16

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TV LICENCES: SDUMO MDLADLA HAILS MPS FOR BEING ADVOCATES

By Sabelo Majola | 2018-03-14

Lead consultant of the TV licences consortium top lawyer Sdumo Mdladla feels MPs are within their rights to ask questions about the whole exercise.

He said from what he knows, MPs are advocates for their constituencies thus they were within their space to throw questions. He also stated that he was an advocate of dialogue himself and would one day appreciate to sit around a table with anyone to talk about issues that affected the country.

Mdladla said MPs operated from a much higher level than the consortium thus they cannot even attempt to be seen exchanging words with them.

The softspoken lawyer said he was extremely thrilled to note that MPs were following the national project of TV licence fees collection. He was commenting towards sentiments expressed by MPs in parliament on Monday during the debate of the ICT ministry performance report in a requested interview. MPs questioned the involvement of police in the exercise.

During the debate, MPs expressed certain concerns about the whole exercise and Mdladla insisted that it was their job to do that.

Mdladla insisted that he did not want to appear to be in an exchange with MPs but expressed his desire to one day be able to unpack the modalities of the whole exercise because he believes MPs love the country like everybody else.

 “The MPs are in a much higher level than us and they have every right to raise issues that have a question mark hanging and we can’t criticise them for doing that. But the positives I picked from this is that the MPs are rightly advocating for the paying of TV licences because the more awareness there is to the assignment, the better. I must emphasise that there is no good or bad comment in my world,” he said.  Mdladla said the police were there to enforce the law because at the end of the day, the agents from the TV licence payments would report them to the police.

The issue of owed fees on TV licences is not just a thorn on the country alone as South Africa is reportedly owed E25 billion which has landed the SABC in deep financial trouble.  The neighbouring country has no collection mechanism in place to collect what is owed to them and they have resolved to visit broadcasters from other countries to explore other revenue-collection methods.

This effectively means that Swaziland is ahead of South Africa in the drive and could pick one or two ideas.

Quizzed on what consultation measures they employed, Mdladla said they did research and the situation was worse in other countries.

“The only country that has this issue tackled right is Zambia as they pay their TV licence through an electricity company but we are not yet at that stage as a country,” he said.

Collection of TV licence payments is currently on hold as the Swazi Television Licence Collection Consortium gave TV owners a 30-day extension to settle their debts.

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