Minister Faith Muthambi: Installation of set-top-boxes in the Northern Cape

17 Dec 2015

Address by the Minister of Communications, Ms Faith Muthambi, MP, at the installation of set-top-boxes in the Northern Cape

Programme Director;
Members of the Northern Cape Provincial Legislature;
The Premier of the Northern Cape;
Representatives from various government departments;
Electronic Manufactures;
South African Post Office;
South African Broadcasting Corporation;
SENTECH;
Independent Communications Authority of South Africa;   
Brand South Africa;
Film and Publication Board; and
Members of the public.

Thank you for joining us here today. Let me take the opportunity to welcome you all to this important historic event in the digital journey of our country. We are here today as a result of an international obligation that has an immense impact on our country in a number of ways.

Broadcasting Digital Migration is popularly known for the change it will have on our television services such as more channels, more content and more choice for consumers.

Importantly, there are also positive economic spin-offs from its implementation for the country that will help support our job creation plans, develop new growth industries and help advance the economy.

These economic opportunities include the revival and development of our electronic manufacturing industry. Government has made it a criteria that set-top-boxes for Broadcasting Digital Migration be locally manufactured. It will create jobs in manufacturing, installation and maintenance; and in call centres which would support the STBs.

There will also be broadcasting content development opportunities for the country and the global community. The increased television offerings that we expect to accompany Digital Terrestrial Television will open up new business and job creation opportunities in the area of content development and television production which local businesses can pursue.

As a result of the implementation of Digital Migration, Africa will rise to take its rightful place in the television content production and begin to tell the South African and African story.

Ladies and Gentleman,

We stand on the cusp of a momentous occasion. Spectrum re-farming, which involves the abolition of existing band allocations in the radio spectrum, marks the biggest evolution of broadcasting services since television was introduced in 1925 globally. It is very encouraging to be part of this historic global agenda in our lifetime.

By implementing digital migration, it is our duty as government to ensure that our people continue to enjoy quality broadcasting services without any interruption. South Africa will have a good story to tell out of this initiative, “that we are united, we are committed to the future and we share the same values”.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the team at the Department of Communications, key role players in the communications industry, entities, government departments and ministries that have supported us in this process and making our journey into broadcasting digital migration a success.

This is not a race where there is just one winner. We are all winners as through our work in digital migration we are improving the socio-economic conditions of our people, in order to achieve a better life for all and help move South Africa forward.  

We have reached a significant milestone in the realisation of the implementation programme. It is where ordinary South Africans start to enjoy the benefit of the evolution of the television system in the country. These are among the many benefits that the South African Government is committed to providing for every person.

I must re-emphasise that this is indeed a critical milestone for digital migration. Last week the Cabinet approved the start of dual-illumination in the digital migration process, it has been a long process, and the hard work has finally paid-off.

Today’s campaign places emphasis on connection.  The South Africa Go Digital encourages everyone to embrace digital migration to move South Africa forward. The Broadcasting Digital Migration platform's biggest selling point is that it offers more choice of programming, greater access and better quality while using less bandwidth.

Our milestone signals that we are firmly on our path to achieving our digital migration goals. I encourage all those who qualify for free DTT devices to visit their nearest South African Post Offices to register so that they too can enjoy the benefits of this programme.

The South African Post Office (SAPO) had begun the registration process for qualifying households in the Northern Cape in October 2015. The registration process has also started in the Free State province on 1 December 2015.  In keeping with my promise to you during my visit here in October, I am here to deliver the Set-Top-Boxes to the community of Keimoes where this registration process had started.

Friends,

It is encouraging that we are delivering these devices guided by a clear policy that emphasises Universal Access to Broadcasting Services to our society.

We developed standards in South Africa for the certification of devices so that they are of a high quality and meet our needs. These standards further ensure that the production of these devices are carried by South African companies and generate jobs and skills for South Africans. It demonstrates that South Africa is capable and ready to deliver the best broadcasting services to our people.

I am encouraged to see public institutions, entities and stakeholders working together to take South Africa forward in this important area. I have been informed on several occasions that Sentech Network is ready to transmit Digital Signal to our television systems. The people of the Northern Cape will be the first to receive this signal and will begin to enjoy it today.

Digital Migration, IS HAPPENING in South Africa and we are all here to witness this ground breaking event that opens the exciting world and possibilities of communication to millions of people.

Our public broadcaster the SABC has committed to provide the channels that South Africa needs to feel the difference.

Ladies and Gentleman,

I have concluded bilateral engagements with our neighbouring counterparts for spectrum harmonisation and I can assure the public that we do not expect any interference during the rollout period of the project in South Africa.

What is required now is for South Africans to do their part by registering for a set-top-box so that they can receive the benefits of this programme. I am confident that the developments here today will inspire South Africans to move with speed to take up these devices in order to realise the benefits of our Digital Migration journey. 

In conclusion,

Let us thank the Kai Garib municipality for their continued and unconditional support to this programme.

Let us share this positive South African story that is taking place here today and continue to spread the word. I call on all South Africans and institutions to Play Your Part and support this programme as it enters its next stage.

Digital Migration is happening in South Africa.  Together let us take the digital journey forward!

I thank you.

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