CAPE TOWN, July 17– South Africa will meet deadline for the digital migration by the country’s broadcasters, says Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele.
Speakign when he tabled his department’s budget vote in Parliament here Wednesday, he said that despite all the challenges, South Africa’s move towards digital broadcasting was on track. With the June 2015 deadline looming, Cwele told Parliament that by the end of this month he would gazette the Broadcast Digital Migration policy.
“Within three months, we will designate the date of the start of the Digital Switch On. This designation will allow the industry, manufacturers and television owning households to prepare accordingly in order to purchase and install Set-Top Boxes that will make the digital switchover possible.”
However, opposition parties remained unconvinced. Democratic Alliance (DA) legislator Cameron Mackenzie, noting the minister’s intention to finalise policy within a month, said: “The road is paved with good intentions and frankly we’ve heard plenty of intentions before about digital terrestrial television. Should we fail to do this, the consequences are very serious indeed.”
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi from the Economic Freedom Fighters party said South Africa faced a danger of being held backward when other nations advanced into a competent future. “The world is, as Marx and Engels put it, in constant flux and we’ve got to keep up with real speed.”
The Minister also told Parliament that in order to realise the department’s plans, it had ring-fenced 2.9 billion Rand (about 271 million US dollars) to roll out the digital migration.