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Message from the Minister

Ministry of Communications

on the move

O

ctober 28 will go down as an historic day for the country. It was the day the analogue transmitter in Carnarvon, serving several small Karoo

towns around the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), project was switched off. About 25 000 households in Carnarvon, Van Wyksvlei,

Brandvlei, Williston and Vosburg are now able to enjoy high-definition TV. We prioritised this area because the analogue signal can potentially cause harmful interference with the radio telescope operation at the SKA site. The event marked the first major milestone towards the complete analogue switch-off in the country, which we plan to do when more than 80 percent of the country has

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.

migrated to digital transmission. In Xigalo, a Limpopo village near the Kruger National Park, those like 81-year old Masingita Majoko will never again be

It’s fitting that October’s milestone comes 40 years after South

subjected to the frustrations of rotating rooftop antenna

Africa first began receiving television broadcasts in 1976. Since

searching for better television reception.

then, the local television industry has grown to include a number

Digital migration will also help improve internet access

of flourishing community stations.

in the country. Once analogue transmissions are switched

Digital terrestrial television will build on this, by introducing

off, it will free a large amount of radio frequency spectrum

many more channels for users. This will require a lot fresher

which can then be used for new broadcasting and other

content. For Africans to fully enjoy digital television, foreign media

communications services such as broadband.

houses should prioritise the employment of newsgatherers from

On the road to digital migration

the continent itself, who are keenly aware of the various social, political and economic intricacies.

The rollout to digital transmission will take place in phases

The switch off of the analogue transmitter in Carnarvon is just

across all provinces and we are aiming to complete the

but one of the many highlights we can look back on in 2016. There

process of migrating to the broadcasting digital system by

have been many positive developments within the department

the end of 2018.

and the entities I oversee.

Border-lying areas have been prioritised in digital migration to prevent signal interference from neighbouring countries.

Media transformation

Government will also be rolling-out five million subsidised

In 2016, the departments of Communications and Government

set-top boxes to poor households in a phased approach.

Communication and Information System (GCIS) also held a

This has already started in the Northern Cape and Limpopo.

successful colloquium on print media transformation. The two-

A set-top box converts signals from a digital television

day event was attended by government officials, civil society,

broadcast into a form which can be viewed on a traditional

business, academics and media owners.

television set.

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For us, transformation in the print media is non-negotiable,

Public Sector Manager • December 2016 / January 2017


PSM December/January Edition 2016/2017