It is a good week in which to recall the origin of the phrase, “daylight robbery”. It goes back to 1696, when King William III of England declared a “window tax”, imposing a levy on any house with more than six windows. Naturally, the typical homeowner bricked up their windows, blocking the sunlight. For the next century-and-a-half, the government literally robbed the citizenry of its daylight.

This absurd tax came to mind on Tuesday, when deputy minister of communications Pinky Kekana included this choice line in her presentation to parliament’s portfolio committee on communications: “Regulation is needed on pay service providers like MultiChoice and subscription video-on-demand provider like Netflix to collect TV licence on behalf of SABC similar to municipalities collecting traffic fine….” ..

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now