March 2022! The New Deadline For SA Broadcast Digital Switchover - Minister Confirms
Stella-Ndabeni Abrahams, the minister for the South African department of communications and digital technologies, has confirmed that come what may, the migration to digital broadcasting in South Africa shall be finalised before or by the end of March 2022. The previous deadline for the switchover was March 2021 (next month).
The minister's updated statement said that the digital rollout has commenced in the Free State with more than 7000 boxes distributed and installed to subsidised and non-subsidised households. Ndabeni also affirms that set-top boxes distribution will start in the South African Northern Cape and North West regions from March 2021. According to sources, the province of Gauteng, which includes the city of Johannesburg, will be the last to be switched off.
Pinky Kekana, the deputy minister in the department of communications and digital technologies, admitting that several deadlines have been set and missed, declared that it is different this time. She said: The March 2022 timeline has to be met; the onus is upon us to make sure this happens.
However, some observers and industry watchers are deeply sceptical of the new deadline set by the department. A committee member in the South Africa Parliament, Phumzile van Damme, is not convinced the department's new target would be realised. In her opinion, "the department has, over the years, failed and had struggles with this digital migration."