Broadcasting Services

South Africa's Digital Migration Hampered By Set-Top Boxes Procurement Irregularities

The already troubled digital migration programme in South Africa is set to be further marred by controversy with the recent situation surrounding the alleged state-sponsored set-top boxes procurement irregularities.

According to reports from South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper, it is alleged that Mxolisi Zuma (son of South Africa's President - Jacob Zuma) tried to influence the tendering process for the 1.5m set-top boxes unduly. Though the company favoured by Mxolisi Zuma was not awarded the contract, the entire issue is symptomatic of the malaise besetting South Africa digital migration.

In South Africa, the government policy is to provide "free or near-free" set-top boxes to identified "poor households" to aid universal access to broadcast signal post digital switchover. The state institution charged with procuring and distributing these state sponsored set-top boxes is Universal Service & Access Agency of South Africa (Usaasa).


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