Analogue switch-off: DA welcomes ConCourt judgment

Issued by Tsholofelo Bodlani MP – DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Services
28 Jun 2022 in News

The DA welcomes the Constitutional Court’s judgment that the Minister for Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni’s decision to switch off analogue television broadcasts in South Africa was unconstitutional.

Justice Nonkosi Mhlanta found that the Minister’s decisions regarding both the initial switch-off date of 31 March 2022, as well as the revised date of 30 June 2022, lacked rationality. The imposed deadline of 31 October 2021 for indigent household to register for government-subsidised set-top boxes were also unconstitutional and invalid, as her Department did not take the necessary steps to ensure that the South African public were adequately informed.

Justice Mhlanta further found that the Minister failed to consult with interested stakeholders, and that her decisions would have left millions of South Africans without access to television.

This judgment underscores the concern that the Minister’s initial switch-off date was ill considered given the failures to the ensure that there was sufficient time to register beneficiaries, ensure that the Department had the capacity to roll out the set-top boxes to households and not prejudice anyone.

The DA urges the Minister to consult widely before setting the new switch-off date, and to truly take into account the needs and struggles of South Africa’s most vulnerable communities.