Wayne Duvenage. Picture: BUSINESS DAY
Wayne Duvenage. Picture: BUSINESS DAY

Anyone who has received threatening SMSes or e-mails for unpaid SABC TV licences should forward them to the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa).

The SABC’s preferred debt collector, Pritchard & Associates, was not registered with the Council for Debt Collectors of SA until December 23, and therefore faced fines of up to R100,000 for every payment demand it sent until then, Outa said on Wednesday morning.

"Debt should be collected by a lawfully registered debt collector or by an attorney. As Pritchard & Associates was not registered with the proper authorities, Outa contends that the company misrepresented themselves, rendering all collections conducted by them in the past unlawful," the Outa chair Wayne Duvenage said.

"Whilst Outa has evidence of Pritchard & Associates conduct, we call on members of the public who have received threatening SMSes or e-mails from Pritchard & Associates prior to December 23 to electronically submit the proof of these threats to Outa via a dedicated ‘TV license threats’ portal at www.outa.co.za/tvlic.

"This supporting evidence will be added to our charges with the debt council and will increase the penalties regarding the unlawful conduct, if indeed the council finds them guilty of misconduct."

Outa said its research into the SABC appointing debt collectors had uncovered a number of related issues, companies and people who were receiving its attention for possible legal action.

“No one has complained to us about being harassed by debt collectors‚ they probably would not because they owe the entity. The SABC has given out a tender for the debt collection of TV licences and it does not get involved in who is sub-contracted for the mandate under their main debt collecting client. Our directive is to collect the money owed by customers. When people do not pay their TV licences they affect the corporation’s revenue negatively‚” said SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago.

Kganyago criticised OUTA‚ saying that it is misleading in its reports about the SABC. “Unfortunately we refuse to take OUTA serious. They have misled the public about the SABC before‚” he charged.

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