Masstores hit with R7.5m TV licence fine

2012-11-11 16:12

Johannesburg - EduSolutions, the company at the centre of Limpopo’s textbooks scandal, has landed one of the country’s biggest retailers in a spot of bother.

The company’s failure to buy TV licences has seen retail giant Masstores slapped with a R7.5m fine, the biggest yet by the SABC.

The company bought 2 500 TV sets from Masstores, the owners of Game, last March without obtaining TV licences.

This breach led to the fine, which was issued by the SABC under the Broadcasting Act.

The R7.5m fine is made up of R3 000 penalties issued for each of the 2 500 unlicenced TV sets. The SABC said the biggest fine issued prior to this was for R982 000.

EduSolutions’ costly mistake emerged in the South Gauteng High Court last month. Masstores had approached the court to have the fine set aside. However, Judge Lucy Mailula dismissed Masstores’ bid on September 4.

Now EduSolutions may face a separate court process for allegedly failing to comply with the law.

If this goes ahead and it is found guilty, EduSolutions and its bosses could be slapped with additional R500 fines, or face imprisonment of up to six months.

EduSolutions has a multimillion-rand contract to deliver a variety of goods to Limpopo’s 4 000 schools.

Masstores told City Press that Game and DionWired sold about 328 000 television sets between July 2010 and June last year with only one unresolved TV licence query.

Brian Leroni, corporate affairs executive at Massmart Holdings [JSE:MSM] – which owns Masstores – insisted the company complied fully with the SABC TV licence requirements.

“We’re awaiting the court’s written judgment, which will provide further clarity in this matter,” said Leroni.

EduSolutions bought the 2 500 TV sets on behalf of the schools and they were also expected to deliver 2 500 DVD home theatre systems as part of the deal.

The TV deal was worth R7.5m and the DVD players were worth another R2.5m, according to papers filed at the South Gauteng High Court in the original matter.

“Game has failed to comply with the prescribed procedures for the sale of televisions,” the SABC’s acting audience service head, Juanita van Rensburg, said in court papers.

In court, Masstores financial director Ann Hansen said when the company sold the goods to EduSolutions, it was under the impression EduSolutions had already spoken to the SABC about the licensing of the sets.

The Samsung TV sets and DVD players were to be delivered to the schools from the Game branch in Polokwane.

The SABC demanded to see EduSolutions’ TV licences and said that, upon delivery each school’s governing body would also be required to apply for its TV licence, on top of those EduSolutions was already supposed to have.

Schools are required to have TV licences, although they do not pay for them.

In court, the SABC’s acting legal affairs executive, Thabang Mathibe, denied that he spoke to EduSolutions about licensing before the deal went through.

Mathibe confirmed Masstores was liable to pay penalties.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the Masstores matter was still ongoing as the retailer might file an appeal against the judgment.

EduSolutions said it was aware of the matter, but was not at liberty to comment on court proceedings.

- City Press

  • ray.priestley.79 - 2012-11-11 16:23

    So if the schools could get free licences,what is the problem? The SABC hasn't lost anything.

      charlesbronson.bronson - 2012-11-11 16:47

      Some cANCer politic fat useless pig will now be very cross because of the small corrupted bonus this Christmas!!!

      larry.piggott1 - 2012-11-11 16:49

      Its a matter of "you assist me with my problem and I will assist you with the Fines". A normal ANC business practice.

      ianmichaelcalder - 2012-11-11 17:56

      Some American was asking me if I'd ever been the victim of crime here, and I couldn't resist to mention how its nothing short of theft that I have to pay the SABC, the most parasitical waste of oxygen on the planet, constantly in the news amid rumours of terrible management, corruption and all our other national sports. Every year, I get mugged for R250 under the threat of legal action, for a channel I couldn't even tell you its number on DSTV. A non-optional payment if you own a TV, even if you NEVER EVER want to watch it. Ridiculous.

      steve.dupreez - 2012-11-11 17:57

      hehehe well then I should go pay my fine and licence due. Received notice from Munnik Basson Dagama INC that they will sue me, with a clause "it remains in effect for 30 years....". Well I know for a fact that it pops off after 5 years...............

      heathway.master - 2012-11-11 21:46

      The SABC is nothing but one disastrous circus. No wonder its top directors are replaced on such a regular basis.

      konstabel.koekemoer - 2012-11-12 08:39

      This is ridiculous, Masstores should fight this all the way. If that useless and corrupt EduSolutions mess does not bother to do the paperwork go after them.

  • Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-11 16:25

    And the Limpopo authorities want the state out so they can quickly get back to the feeding frenzy of looting the coffers before Xmas break. No licence required? New face of Limpopo =

  • nicky.saaiman.1 - 2012-11-11 16:27

    Dit is tyd dat iemand die SAUK hof toe vat oor die gemors wat hulle uitsaai. Hulle moet dekodeerders he sodat daar beheer kan wees.

      gieljam.gomtor - 2012-11-11 16:40


      mikel.kiparski - 2012-11-11 17:38

      ek wens hulle vat my ma hof toe,sy is al 12jaar dood en nog steeds dryg hulle om haar hof toe te vat vir haar onbetaalde tv lesensie.

      KallieHBal - 2012-11-11 22:28

      Nicky, sover ek weet is dit ons toekoms. Ons gaan slegs deur dekodeerders tv opvangs he. Sluit dan sommer die SABC se R250 per jaar by die betaal tv se kostes in.

  • gieljam.gomtor - 2012-11-11 16:36

    Massmart should have done their homework more carefully before investing here .In any case that's now a new way of screwing businesses who sold Tv's to a Government Institution ,who most probably would have only had to pay a portion of any licenses if anything .

  • Suzanne Viljoen - 2012-11-11 16:37

    So! Did the schools get them or did they go to private homes! That's how you get so many people that don't pay tv licences! Find the tv's and fine them like you do us

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2012-11-11 16:38

    So if the leaners couldn't make use of textbooks they might just watch tv instead. nice.

      wesley.nel.5 - 2012-11-11 17:36

      Thet use the tv s to keep the children busy, because they don't have books to use

  • ian.flack2 - 2012-11-11 16:45

    Why must EduSolutions and the schools have licences for the same tv set?????

  • john.fourie1 - 2012-11-11 16:47

    Easy money for the SABC as the schools are getting free licenses anyway. Who will be milked next?

  • jacque.fransman - 2012-11-11 16:51

    What easy money for SABC to get out of debt

  • bernpm - 2012-11-11 16:52

    In short: SABC claims R10 million where -if proper procedure had been followed- they would have received nothing. Makes perfect sense as SABC seems to have been in financial difficulties for some time. And.....the judge falls for that!!

  • slick.hounder - 2012-11-11 16:59

    No matter what complaint, censure or penalty or fine is lodged against MassMart Holdings (a division of Walmart)or any of its subsidiaries it is NEVER their fault and or accountable. They are just another Mega Corporation in South Africa, that does as they please, when they please and how they please. Simple FACT! Good luck in your court battles SABC, be prepared for a longggggggg drawn out argument and counter challenge and for this. Only the customer will eventually foot the bill once again in South Africa. Another simple FACT!

  • jack.damon - 2012-11-11 17:08

    I am forced to take out a TV licence each year,but NEVER watch any SABC channels and must pay R600 p/m to watch DSTV.why must I pay for something that I don't use.SABC must start to make use of decoders,but if they do NO 1 will buy a decoder because there is never anything to watch!

  • george.pito - 2012-11-11 17:14

    What a joke free licensenses for schools. Sounds like a skelm prokureur he made himself 3000 cases stuff the R7 mil. Who reported this thats the root of the problem. Simple to me they showed the stores that it is for schools somebody in this to make a few bucks

  • neal.badenhorst - 2012-11-11 17:20

    Disgusting. I hate this government. Rips you off and gives you absolutely nothing in return.

      mikel.kiparski - 2012-11-11 17:47

      tell me about it etolling/medical aid/private schooling/armed response/trackers 4 the vehicles/inflated rates/inflated insurance/inflated electricity prices/potholes/we pay and get nothing in return.

  • malcolm.james.macleod - 2012-11-11 17:37

    So wait, let me get this straight. Government is suing massmart because Government did not obtain *free* licenses from Government to use the products they were buyying. The level of circular brokenness and inefficieny here is just staggering.

  • daniel.w.gie - 2012-11-11 18:48

    sum ting wong ........

  • Suzanne Viljoen - 2012-11-11 19:11

    Funny! NO Comments from SABC fans Scared they know most of you DON'T pay TV licences hahahaha

  • Michael - 2012-11-11 19:41

    Wow, this is amazing! As a non South African Citizen shown this article by a friend from SA, I was shocked at this article! As small as New Zealand is, television here is free and all digital! We have 4+ channels all HD with decent programming! It sounds to me like someone in your government is not happy unless running a dictatorship!

  • Adil Smit - 2012-11-11 23:04

    Can't help wondering where the tv's are right now ( the books did not reach the schools)

  • pieter.vanschalkwyk.3 - 2012-11-12 08:27

    TV licenses are stupid and communistic

      napolita.kio - 2012-11-12 10:39

      And as soon as you learn(hopefully) that TV licences are also paid in the UK then it'll no longer be "stupid and communistic".

  • sefako.mokgalaka - 2012-11-12 12:14

    Scrap tv license for good. We won't have any more of these cases.

  • leon.vanwyk.16 - 2012-11-12 17:07

    Oh well. If you are dumb and stupid enough to do business with a company that is constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons ... Pay up!

  • branden.hart - 2012-11-12 18:38

    Once again, the children suffer because if the greed of a few, and as for SABC, a dinosaur awaiting a meteor.

  • heinrich.spreeth - 2012-11-13 10:09

    "school’s governing body would also be required to apply for its TV licence, on top of those EduSolutions was already supposed to have" another form of double taxing like when we pay tax on petrol and vehicle registrations and E-tolls.

  • heinrich.spreeth - 2012-11-13 10:11

    Robbery in SA: 1)Telkom sells you a voiceline even though you only want adsl. 2)SABC makes you buy and renew tv licence yearly even if you NEVER whatch it. We should tells stores to sell tv's without tuners!!! 3) double taxing of roads via e-tolling there is more...

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