Councillors urged to assist in digital migration

Friday, July 13, 2018

Communications Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana has called on ward councillors in Thabazimbi to help identify poor households that qualify for government subsidised set-top boxes (STBs).

“Government is reaching out to the poor who cannot afford to buy decoders… [Councillors must] identify poor households and encourage them to register at their nearest post office,” Kekana said.

Addressing the community in Thabazimbi, Limpopo, during her National Imbizo Focus Week visit, Kekana asked locals to play their part by making government aware of their needs. 

“We are here to bring services to the people of Thabazimbi. Advise and strengthen us where we are lacking,” Kekana said. 

Households earning less than R3 200 qualify to get a government subsidised STB as the country migrates to digital broadcasting. The Department of Communications (DOC) is working together with the South African Post Office to reach out to communities and distribute subsidised decoders to qualifying households.

DOC is also in talks with TV technology manufacturers to mass produce decoders for the market that doesn’t qualify for subsidised STBs.

Kekana kick-started the imbizo by visiting the local municipal offices, and thereafter she visited households that qualify for government subsidised STBs. 

At the first household in Regorogile township, Kekana met 89-year-old Kamtunga Banda.

“We are very happy with the decoder because it’s going to enable us to see clear pictures. Apart from clear pictures, we will be able to view other channels that previously we were unable to view,” Banda said.

At the second household, Dikeledi Letta Machela said were it not for the subsidised STB, she would not be able to afford a decoder.

“I thank government for presenting me with the decoder. I will now be able to view clear pictures. I am a pensioner living on my own. I could not afford to buy one,” she said.

Kekana used the occasion to warn the public about pornographic material. “Our laws are very clear: the possession and distribution of child sexual abuse material is a crime punishable by law -- whether disseminated via [messages] or any other form. Such content is prohibited.” 

Migration progress 

Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane last month visited Thabong in the Free State as part of the digital migration project. She presented qualifying households with decoders.

She also handed out certificates to 50 youths who were trained to install STBs.

DOC is also enlisting the support of provincial government and municipalities to encourage qualifying residents to register for STBs.

The department says there are an estimated 350 000 qualifying television viewing households in the Free State. To date, over 150 000 decoders have been installed in that province. –