The Department of Communications would like to correct an article published in various publications and electronic media, which erroneously states that R10 billion was spent on the procurement of subsidized decoders. The procurement of government subsidised decoders are contracted by state-owned-entity Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA), and to date the procurement of antennae and decoders totals R 900 million.
The Broadcasting Digital Migration is a multi-stakeholder project, with the South African Post office also playing a role as the distributing agency for government decoders, and other funds allocated for installation of decoders and public awareness for the project, including infrastructure build by signal distributor Sentech.
Furthermore, it is incorrect to suggest that everything that has been procured will go to waste. The Broadcasting Digital Migration Project Management Office is working tirelessly in the Free State province to drive public awareness around the project and ensure that every household that qualifies for government subsidized decoders gets their devices. The stock of decoders that is currently in the Post Office warehouse will be depleted in the coming months.
The new delivery model that was announced by Cabinet yesterday will be phased in from March next year, but it does not make the already procured decoders absolute or non-usable. The new model of broadcasting digital migration will continue to subsidize indigent television viewing households.
The new model merely means that government will not procure devices any longer. It will leave this function to retailers. Retailers will now place orders with manufacturers as is their main role in the economy. Government will then rightfully do its role of providing policy certainty and oversight to create an enabling environment.
The registration and installation of government decoders will continue unhindered in provinces, and the rollout of the project will continue until the new delivery model is phased in next year. More details on the new delivery model for broadcasting digital migration will be announced in the press conference next week. The Department remains committed to ensuring that all South Africans, subsidized and non-subsidized, migrate to digital services.
Source: Government of South Africa