Speech delivered by Minister of Communications, Ms Faith Muthambi, on the occasion of the DTT Imbizo held at Umfolozi Local Municipality, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Inkosi Mthembu and your Traditional Council
Honourable N Mafu
MEC for Arts and Culture: Hon. B Sithole –Moloi
District Mayor of King Cetshwayo: Cllr. N Mkhulisi
Mayor of Umfolozi Local Municipality, Cllr. SW Mgenge
Officials from all spheres of government
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
We are hosting this digital terrestrial television (DTT) Imbizo just few days before we celebrate Christmas. A time that many of us will be spending with our families.
As we are headed towards this day with full steam, let me remind you that we have just commemorated sixteen (16) days of no Violence against Women and Children. The health of any Nation is measured by the way she treats her fragile and precious members of her society who constitute members of the family structures, that is women and children. As government we call upon all South Africans to turn each day into the 16 days of showing love and caring for our Women and Children so that we create and contribute towards a loving nation that live up to the ethos of UBUNTU.
We are indeed feeling highly privileged to be amongst you, the residents of the Umfolozi Municipality.
We are here because we would want to share with you the benefits of one of your government’s programme aimed at changing your lives of for the better. This programme brings about new and exciting television viewing experience to all our people. May be you have been hearing for all this time that we are in other parts of the country and asking yourselves when are we coming to your area. We are happy that at last we are here today with you!
Programme Director, we have had an opportunity to engage our communities in the recent past to ensure that they are made aware of the benefits of DTT. To this connection we have had remarkable response from our communities. I will share with you later in my speech some of the achievements we have recorded!
ADVANTAGES OF GOING DIGITAL
South Africa has embarked on the process of migrating broadcasting signals from analogue to digital and there is no turning back. This is done as a result of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) resolution that countries in region 1 (including Europe, Russia, Africa, the Middle East and the Islamic Republic of Iran) should migrate their broadcasting services from analogue to digital.
Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) offers better compression. This enables broadcasters to offer several channels of programming in spectrum that previously was only able to transmit a single analogue channel. Therefore, viewers are likely to be offered a wider range of channels subject only to the broadcasters finding a business model to make the channels financially viable.
Furthermore, digital broadcasting offers the possibility of more channels which can include those in vernacular languages. The digital transition provides the opportunity to extend the signal coverage area within a country so that more people can share the same television programmes.
It is also encouraging to acknowledge the support from all key role playing entities in the rollout of the programme. We are very certain that communities are being assisted by these entities on the basic aspects of the rollout processes. This is evidenced by a growing number of households registering with the South African Post Office.
These entities are fully committed to executing their responsibilities and they regularly report to the Department of Communications so that we are updated on what is happening and to be able to remove all glitches in the roll-out process where required . I have also taken a step further to ensure that demonstrations are conducted so that whatever has been delivered is working very well to the satisfaction of the family members.
When we were confronted by the situation that some of our people will not be able to afford to enjoy the benefits brought about by DTT in their lives, we had to respond in a manner that ensures that they are not left behind in enjoying DTT. In this regard, as your caring Government under the able leadership of His Excellency President Zuma, we took a decision to provide five million (5million) Set Top Boxes to deserving households in the country. The generosity and loving care of the ANC-led Government is to help the poorest of the poor in our midst to have greater access and better quality television viewing.
Digital Terrestrial Television project will help South Africans, whether in rural or urban areas to have access to quality TV pictures and sound. For this process to be a success, the Department of Communications, is working with the provincial and local spheres of Government to drive the registration of those deserving households to receive free set-top-boxes.
Programme Director, our teams have been on the ground in the Kwazulu - Natal Province in the recent past. What we have found is that this Province has a total projected qualifying households of 895 738 with functional TVs.
We are therefore appealing to the residents of the Umfolozi Municipality to go out and register so that you can qualify for the Government subsidized STBs.
We have brought with us all entities helping with the facilitation of the registration process.
The South African Post Office has been given the responsibility of registering indigent South Africans in order to receive Government subsidised broadcast services. Applicants are required to bring the following documents in order to be assessed:
- South African Identity Document
- Proof of Residence
- Proof of possessing a TV set.
- Proof of household income below R3 200 per month.
Programme Director, the Department of Communications is grateful for the unwavering co-operation from its entities who continue to play a prominent role in making the Digital Migration a success. And these are:
The Government Communication and Information System (GCIS):
- provides professional services
- sets and influences adherence to standards for an effective government communication system
- drives coherent government messaging
- Proactively communicates with the public about government policies, plans programmes and achievements.
The SABC’s role in the digital migration process is to facilitate the establishment of new services, migrating existing services (SABC1, 2, 3 and eTV) onto the digital platform and conducting education and awareness campaigns.
The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services’ role included the facilitation of the STB installer training, coordinating, marketing and awareness programs, participating in the SA Bureau of Standards (SABS), standards-making process for the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) broadcasting environment, and revising the STB subsidy scheme.
SENTECH, who provides national terrestrial coverage for fixed installations and portable receptions.
ICASA’s role is focused on the regulatory framework, signal transmission, technical standards, licensing of new entrants, and local content regulations.
USAASA roles are:
- Appointing STB/antenna (subsidized) manufacturers, through an open tender process;
- Determining the qualifying criteria;
- Developing the process of subsidy applications and disbursements in line with the qualifying criteria and other policies;
- Together with SAPO, managing the full rollout of subsidy management systems;
- Appointing and training of installers (in partnership with FET colleges);
- Determining STB order requirements and distribution thereof, using statistical information and subsidy application patterns;
- Managing the ordering of STBs from approved manufacturers and distributing them to SAPO warehouses.
Programme Director, on 28 October 2016, together with these entities we have officially switched off the analogue television transmission where over 3 700 households in the towns of Carnavon, Vanwyksvlei, Brandvlei, Vosburg and Williston were successfully migrated to the much awaited digital platform. The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) area and other border lying areas are prioritised for the Set Top Box registration and installation to prevent signal interruption from neighbouring countries as the world migrates to digital broadcasting.
This is a very important milestone in the digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration project. This means that households with television sets in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) area are now fully switched-on to Digital Terrestrial Television.
As we have completed our mandate in the SKA areas, we have already started work in border lying Provinces before we take the Project to the interior lying areas of South Africa.
The successes we have attained are as a result of co-operation with all structures of society.
We have a responsibility to support pillars of Government as we engage in developmental strategies to lift our nation towards higher pedestals. This is the reason why we support the National Development Plan (NDP) in everything that aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. South Africa can realise these goals by growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.
As part of these endeavours, I uplift and respect the House of Traditional Leaders all over South Africa and I will continue to seek their support in encouraging their respective communities to register for the STBs. Traditional leaders continue to play a key role in our society. As custodians of society, they are instrumental in disseminating information critical to the uplifting of the lives of their communities. In all the Provinces where we have enlisted the support of traditional leaders to drive public awareness of digital migration, we have seen an increase in the uptake of registration to obtain STBs.
Programme Director, I know that the uMfolozi Municipality in partnership with the National Department of Arts and Culture held an uMfolozi Youth in Business Workshop in October 2016.
The Youth in Business Workshop was aimed at encouraging business entrepreneurship amongst the youth of uMfolozi to fight poverty and unemployment. The Youth in Business Workshop also empowered the youth with information on business skills and various avenues they can use to help start and maintain their businesses in uMfolozi. You should take advantage of the Mzanzi Golden Economy as it is the strategy for social cohesion, creation of sustainable jobs and ensuring social and economic development.
Our Learners are waiting for their Matric Final results. Those who might not make it in their matric final results, we say to you that you should not lose hope or despair but go back and enroll until your dreams have been actualized. There is nothing impossible in life and every one of you has been equipped with tremendous skills and knowledge to can make a difference in your communities.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
Please, do not drink and Drive, don’t send text messages while driving. Please stay sober behind the steering wheel to protect and save lives
I thank you.