Ntshavheni says SA will meet March deadline for digital TV transmission

Communications and digital technologies minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says the government is confident that it will get digital migration right this time around.

Ntshavheni was addressing the media on Wednesday afternoon about the government’s plans to ensure that it migrates television viewers from analogue to digital technology by March next year.

This was a new deadline set by President Cyril Ramaphosa after a decade of delays from the initial deadline of 2011.

“So far we are doing well. Free State, done; Northern Cape, done, North West is going to be done. We are on track, we are on a roll. So the dates are coming through,” said Ntshavheni.

She said the department had given itself enough room to reach the target.

“We are wrapping up and we are fully confident that this time around we are getting it right,” Ntshavheni told journalists.

Ntshavheni’s department is now in court with broadcaster e.tv over the deadline to make the final switch from analogue to digital.

But she told the briefing that she was not worried about the case because e.tv was working with her department as it rushes to meet its deadline.

“E.tv continues to participate in the process because they know digital migration must take place. It is not in denial that digital migration must not take place, the difference between them and us is the period that we are taking and I think we will find each other at some point and get a plan that will get everybody to come through,” said Ntshavheni.

Ntshavheni further warned that going further with analogue was not practical as there were no longer parts manufacturers in the market.

“I must just indicate also that e.tv has considered that there are no more analogue technology components that are manufactured around the world. So it would be very difficult for Sentech to be able to acquire components to maintain the analogue frequency for analogue transmission,” said Ntshavheni.

She said it was not possible to perpetuate analogue as manufacturers of analogue components are saying their last stock was cleared in 2015.

“If lightning decides to strike all the analogue transmitters of the country,  we will have a blackout because Sentech can do whatever but without the components they cannot fix it. So that’s the reality we are faced with,” said Ntshavheni.


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