Committee appointed to oversee South Africa’s lagging digital migration

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has appointed a project steering committee to expedite South Africa’s long-delayed migration from analogue to digital. 

Briefing journalists on the broadcast digital migration programme on Tuesday, Ntshavheni outlined how the process has dragged on for a decade.

“As a country, we initially aimed to complete the migration process in 2011, but the programme suffered serious setbacks during the technology negotiation processes,” she said.

As a member of the International Telecommunications Union, South Africa missed its second deadline to meet the global analogue switch-off date of 1 June 2015. This happened three years after former communications minister Dina Pule announced that the country would not switch on its digital television signals as planned in April 2012.

On Tuesday Ntshavheni said the newly appointed steering committee — chaired by herself and managed by Tebogo Leshope, chief operations officer at Sentech — would  oversee the roll-out of the digital migration and analogue switch-off process. 

It has never been that we don’t have the capacity to migrate; it has been other things that have slowed our migration in terms of the technical skills to see us through the migration,” said the minister, while also noting that, “We have the technical skills within the country to ensure the migration takes place.”

The steering committee will report to the cabinet on a monthly basis and will manage the revised managed integrated model recently adopted to support the switch from analogue to digital. 

Ntshavheni said slightly more than one million qualifying households earning less than R3 500 per month had registered to receive a set-top box necessary for the switch, of nearly four million estimated households that qualify for the devices.

Some 556 954 households have digitally migrated, while almost 10.5-million of 14-million households owning televisions had self-migrated through private satellite boxes. 

“To date, Sentech has been able to switch off all 84 sites [for] MultiChoice analogue transmissions, 105 of 288 (37%) SABC analogue transmissions and four of the 95 (4%) eTV analogue transmissions,” Ntshavheni said.

Make sense of your world

Subscribe to Mail & Guardian at R10/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

New year, same rules: The science behind masks, ventilation and...

Wearing a mask, washing your hands, good ventilation and keeping your distance all help to lower your chances of getting infected by the virus that causes Covid-19

Red Cross makes first medical delivery to Tigray since September

The ICRC said the urgently-needed supplies and essential drugs, which were flown in, would be distributed to facilities across Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray

PODCAST: ‘I had R40m debt at 26 – it felt...

Busi Selesho chats to the M&G business journalists and podcast editor about why she became a money coach and shares some tips to financial freedom

West Coast seismic battle heads to court

Fourteen applicants, including small-scale fishers, have filed an urgent application in the Western Cape high court to interdict the Australian-based Searcher Seismic, Searcher Geodata and its seismic vessel BGP Pioneer

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…