Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Cape Town: Communications and Digital Technologies Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, has committed to speed up the digital migration project, which will lead to a complete analogue switch-off in March 2022.

This is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement during the State of the Nation Address that the long-awaited national switch-off process of analogue television transmitters, which will see the country move away from analogue to digital broadcasting, will get underway next month.

The President announced that it is anticipated that this process, which will be done province-by-province, will be completed by the end of March 2022.

During a briefing on Wednesday, Ndabeni-Abrahams informed the Portfolio Committee on Communications that the analogue switch-off will be implemented incrementally in provincial phases as milestones, starting with the Free State in March 2021.

Committee chairperson, Boyce Maneli, said the committee noted the Minister’s commitment. However, the committee wants to be provided with a clear project timeline so that it can monitor progress and hold the department accountable.

Maneli said in light of the briefing, the committee will need to revise its programme in order to give priority to the digital migration project.

“Although we take note of the fact that the department is still awaiting finalisation by Cabinet of the project rapid response team and the governance structure, the committee will continue monitoring the project,” Maneli said.

The committee has also encouraged the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa to use the meeting with National Treasury to secure the retention of funds approved to roll out integrated digital television sets so that learners from disadvantaged backgrounds can have access to online learning.