Households urged to apply for free set-top boxes ahead of digital migration deadline

Friday, October 22, 2021

As South Africa continues to prepare to migrate to digital broadcasting by 31 March 2022, the South African Post Office has called on qualifying households to apply for their free set-top boxes ahead of the deadline.

Homes that apply before 1 November, will receive a decoder before the analogue television signal is switched off. 

“Those who apply after 1 November 2021 will only receive a decoder later,” the SAPO said in a statement on Thursday.

Qualifying households are urged to visit their local Post Office as soon as possible to apply for a free government-subsidised decoder (set-top box).  The set-top box is free.

During the 2021 State of the Nation Address in February, President Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that South Africa should complete the migration to digital broadcast by 31 March 2022. 

“The analogue television signal will be switched off and only digital television transmissions will be broadcast. Analogue television sets will then only work if they are connected to a decoder. 

“Qualifying households that apply before 1 November 2021 will receive a decoder before the analogue television signal is switched off.  Those who apply after 1 November will only receive a decoder later.”

The SAPO said all South African households with an income of R3500 per month or less and a working television set, qualify for a government subsidised set-top box. 

Qualifying beneficiaries must visit their nearest Post Office branch as soon as possible with the following documentation:

  • A South African identity document
  • Proof of address
  • An affidavit to confirm that the family has a working television set
  • A bank statement or affidavit to confirm that the family income is R3 500 per month or less. If you receive a SASSA grant, you do not need to bring proof of income.  Proof that you receive a SASSA grant is enough.

Post Office branches have standard affidavits that applicants can use to declare their income, to confirm that they own a working television set, and to confirm their residential address. 

“You do not need to visit a police station to do an official affidavit before you go to the Post Office. Once an application has been approved, the information is given to Sentech to appoint a local installer to install your set-top box,” said the Post Office. 

The Post Office is aware that some families registered for a set-top box at the beginning of the campaign, but the installation is yet to be done.

 “Installations are done per province and appointment of local installers is done by Sentech via local municipalities.  There is no need to re-register to make sure you receive a set-top box. Even if your local Post Office is very busy with grant payments, rest assured, if you apply for a subsidised set-top box, you will go into a separate queue. If you are a SASSA beneficiary and you have a working television set, remember that you qualify for the subsidised set-top box,” said the SAPO.

The quality of digital television broadcasts is better than an analogue signal.  The subsidised set-top box also gives a much bigger selection of channels:

Television channels:




SABC Sport

SABC Education

SABC Encore



Africa Magic Epic

Mzanzi Bioskop

M Movies 4

Mzanzi Wethu

S Sport Blitz

SS Select sport

Discovery TLC

Disney JNR

Nick Toons

Mzanzi Music

Channel O


Mnet Go

790 CSN


Radio stations:

Radio 2000


Good Hope


04 Channel Africa


Lesedi Fm







Munghana Lonene




Tru FM