Analogue switch off: It is now time for clear answers

Issued by Tsholofelo Bodlani MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Communications and Technologies
02 Jun 2023 in News

In a written reply to the DA, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Mondli Gungubele, revealed that to date, his department has spent R1.69 billion on the finalisation of the Broad Digital Migration (BDM). According to the Minister, the department incurred these runaway costs since 2015, more than R200 million every single year, with nothing to show.

The DA notes with great concern that the delays in finalising the analogue switch off has held the country at ransom, while delaying other development projects, such as the sale of spectrum.

The deadline for the analogue switch-off was Wednesday 31 May 2023, yet the Minister and department are clearly nowhere near ready.

Minister Gungubele made a commitment in the portfolio committee to provide an update to Parliament in the next committee meeting, which is scheduled to sit next Tuesday. The Minister advised that he is meeting with officials on Thursday and has requested the indulgence of the committee.

This is yet another ANC failure of sticking to court deadlines and just shows what their attitude is to the judiciary in this country. The DA is conscious of the fact that this will become yet another instance where the government is in contempt of court when the deadline is missed.

While the DA notes that the cost was for the procurement of set-top-boxes and related accessories, indigent registrations, distribution and the installation of the decoders, there is very little to show for the cost attached.

The project rollout was not well thought, hence the runway costs. Indigent households in South Africa rate the quality of the decoders very low and they also lament on the poor quality of the content choices of the channels.

The DA calls on minister Gungubele to provide a decisive leadership on the matter, and come before Parliament and outline a clear, well thought out and transparent plan on the analogue switch off and guarantee that no more taxpayer funds will be wasted due to the department’s mismanagement.

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