Fact check: South African government to tax drivers who listen to the radio
For most of Monday, 8 May 2023, South Africa was awash with news that the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), intended to tax motorists who listen to the radio while driving.
In a statement making the rounds on social media, the SABC said it had introduced car radio licences in a bid to generate new revenue streams in the face of a dramatic decline in TV licence revenues.
“Under the new Section 69 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, all South Africans who use motor vehicles with radios will be required to carry a car radio licence at all times. These licences will cost R401 (Sh2,985) per year and will need to be renewed in order to be valid,” the viral statement read in part.
The statement also said the licences could be purchased on the SABC website, at local post offices and at car dealerships when buying new or used vehicles.
The statement also said that the South African Police Service had been tasked with enforcing the new licence, and that motorists found not to have obtained a car radio licence would be fined R750 (Sh5,610) or jailed for three months.
On the evening of 8 May 2023, the SABC and the South African government addressed this news of a car radio licence. In its public announcement, the South African government described the new licence as fake news in an effort to help the SABC deny the claims.
“Fake news The SABC would like to draw the public’s attention to a fake media statement circulating on various social media platforms entitled ‘Introduction of radio licences as past of SABC’s drive to generate revenue’,” the government said in its statement.
According to News24, SABC spokesperson Mmoni Seapolelo, whose name appeared in the fake statement, said no licence had been or would be introduced.
“The SABC would like to draw the public’s attention to a fake media statement circulating on various social media platforms entitled ‘Introduction of radio licences as part of SABC’s drive to generate revenue’. The SABC has not issued any media statement making such public pronouncements regarding car radio licences,” Seapolelo told News24.