Digital migration: Government to subsidise poor communities

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Communications Minister Faith Muthambi interacts with National Youth Development Agency beneficiaries in Nelspruit as part of the Ministerial Imbizo Outreach Programme on 5 September 2014.

RUSTENBURG – Government said it was committed to digital migration and will give 100 percent subsidies to poor communities, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said on Saturday.

As part of this move, government would provide five million set-top boxes (STBs) to poor households who had an income of less than R3200.

Muthambi was in Rustenburg on Saturday, accompanied by North West premier Supra Mahumapelo, to promote a broadcasting digital migration awareness campaign, Mahumapelo’s office said in a statement.

“One of our responsibilities is communication, to make contact with our people, to see how they live and get feedback so that they can tell us what they want. This is what was exciting about our imbizo today [Saturday]. We urge our indigents to visit their nearest post offices to register for free set-top boxes,” Muthambi said in the statement.

Mahumapelo said he was excited that for the first time in South Africa poor people would be able to receive quality broadcasts.

“We have been doing door-to-door visits to speak to communities and try to resolve their problems in the spirit of saamwerk saamtrek. This imbizo dovetails North West province’s VTSD (villages, townships, and small dorpies) initiative, which is aimed at addressing the unequal distribution of resources and services and ultimately ensuring that our people who live in villages, townships, and small towns are prioritised in terms of economic development and service delivery,” Mahumapelo said.

Stakeholders present during the awareness campaign included the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), the post office, Mahumapelo’s office, the communications department, and SABC broadcast facilities.

SABC broadcast facilities regional manager Victor Thabeng said digital migration would make television viewing more pleasurable, as the signal was clearer compared to analogue.

“What we are doing here today [Saturday] is to demonstrate the migration from analogue to digital, showing our communities the difference between analogue and digital with all its added advantages,” said Thabeng

Communications department official Lawrence Monyai said South Africa was finally starting the digital migration, which would start in the Northern Cape before moving to other provinces.

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