South Africa’s Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo has met with broadcasters following the June 8 court ruling on digital migration which paved the way for the Minister to make a decision regarding the encrypt or non-encryption of set-top-boxes required to convert digital broadcasting signals on analogue TV sets.
The meeting held with broadcasters SABC, Etv, StarSat and other stakeholders in the digital terrestrial television (DTT) programme, is a step closer to ensuring that the Broadcasting Digital Migration (BDM) process is implemented without further delay.
The former Communications Minister Faith Muthambi’s appeal against her amendment of the BDM policy in March 2015, was denied and declared illegal.
Distribution of the subsidised set-top boxes that government earmarked for five million poor households, can now go ahead.
Legal challenges to the policy halted production of the first batch of 1.5 million decoders in late 2015.
Over 500 000 decoders had been produced and kept in South African Post Office warehouses waiting for distribution.
However, a number of set-top boxes have been distributed to residents in the SKA area of the Northern Cape and some border-lying areas.
SA has been planning for digital migration since 2008 but missed the June 2015 International Telecommunication Union deadline to switch from analogue to digital television.
ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu, spoke out about the delayed process at the ANC National Policy Conference in Johannesburg this week.
Mthembu was speaking as commission chairperson for communications at the conference, saying digital migration is something that should have happened already.
“We have lost an opportunity from 2015; we should have migrated. We are now in 2017 and still losing the benefits of the digital environment. We are saying to government, if you have to migrate to digital today then do so,” Mthembu is quoted as saying.