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For what you need a license? You need a license for usage of gun, you need license for driving a vehicle, you need a license for using big and dangerous items, you need a license for selling items; you need a license for many things.

But, if I tell you that you need license for getting a TV, what will be your reaction? This post is about strange law of South Africa. By law, it is mandatory to have a license if at all you need to buy a TV.

The history

The law was setup in 20th century. As per law, if you own any device which receives a terrestrial signal, you need a license for that. OOPS! That includes Radio as well.

Till 1994, you needed a license for Radio purchases too. Poor people who wanted to access Public broadcasting without problem demanded government to change the rule. Now, Radio owning and listening was made license free.

License was kept for TV in such a way that one license per TV was mandated. In year 2000, on public demand, the law was modified to have 1 license per household, but in that case, you need to prove to the government that you really need those many TVs in a single household. Licenses were modified so that businesses have a different rule to work upon.


Now, even the TV tuner needs a license. If you want to use a TV without license, you probably need to remove the TV tuner and use the TV for DVD watching purpose only.

The law received many criticisms, right from the day of inception. Why not? Business, who need TV to monitor employee works, OR CCTV kind of too needed to pay for a license. That seemed ridiculous. Pleas are filed to close this rule. Hopefully, this rule is changed soon. But, that cannot be guaranteed at this stage.

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