The South African Government and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) are up in arms concerning the government’s plans to turn off analogue television broadcasting on 31 March.
The SABC has labelled this move as untimely and an unmanageable threat to the right of millions of households.
The broadcaster has been mum on the topic until recently. However, it broke the silence on Friday by stating that turning off analogue TV broadcasting on the presented date – as mentioned by the Minister – will risk their turnaround strategy. Nonetheless, the SABC has turned off analogue broadcasts in five provinces.
The public broadcaster indicated that the outstanding four provinces – Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape- comprised 68 per cent of the country’s total population.
It also indicated that 165 000 government-subsidised set-top boxes from 2.9 million households had been installed in these four outstanding provinces, which embody 5.7 per cent of the total.
“These figures are insufficiently low for the SABC’s analogue TV service to be turned off in the rest of the provinces, at the moment,” stated the corporation.
The government earlier approved the digital migration project to supply free set-up boxes to disadvantaged homes, a contribution that ceased to happen even with over a decade on the project.
The Minister is, yet again, pressured to push back the analogue switch-off.
Furthermore, Ntshavheni has since been appearing in a court battle initiated by eMedia Holdings – the group offering free-to-air channel e.tv. She has also been under fire from civil society groups concerning the digital migration project. However, the high court will soon deliver a verdict on the matter.