Makuleke residents sign up for set-top boxes

Registration for government subsidised set-top boxes (STBs) in Makuleke village, which borders Mozambique, is on the rise.

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi on Friday said this was largely due to delinking TV licences as a requirement for the STBs registration process.

Minister Muthambi on Friday visited the community, where she explained to residents the benefits of digital migration. STBs are required so viewers can keep watching TV as South Africa makes the switch from analogue to digital broadcasting.

Officials from the local Saselemani Post Office processed over 100 poor TV-owning households so they can get their government subsidised STBs. Government has committed to giving free STBs to five million indigent households across the country.

In her Budget Vote last week, Minister Muthambi announced that a TV licence would no longer be a requirement for STB registration. She said she has also instructed the SABC to clean up the TV licence database in order to have accurate and reliable information on who owns a TV set in South Africa to enable proper infrastructure planning.

When she arrived at the village on Friday, Minister Muthambi visited Asnat Chauke, accompanied by the local Post Office officials, who assisted the unemployed mother of two with the registration process for a STB.

Chauke said she was unable to watch her old TV set because of the poor signal. Minister Muthambi explained the benefits of digital terrestrial television (DTT) to the Chauke.

“Digital migration will see TV viewers enjoying good picture quality and sound. Digital migration involves shifting broadcasters from analogue to digital signals, and the process is key for opening up more frequencies and faster mobile broadband services.

“Once you receive the STB, you will enjoy crystal clear pictures and quality sound,” she said.

Chauke said she could not wait to get the STB installed in her house. “I can’t wait for government to install the STB so that I can also enjoy watching clear pictures like other South Africans”

She thanked government for ensuring that no South African will get left behind in the digital migration.

Minister Muthambi also visited Evelina Hlungwani, who is also unable to watch her TV because of the poor signal, despite having an outdoor TV aerial.

The Minister then went to the local sport ground, where she educated thousands of local residents about the campaign to roll out DTT.

“We indicated as government that we are going to prioritise the border-lying areas in order to protect the array and the country from radio signal interference, hence we are here with our public awareness campaign to inform residents that DTT is a reality and is around the corner.

“The world is going through a television revolution of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting. Digital broadcasting technology is superior to analogue broadcasting technology with the latter slowly being phased out worldwide.

“One of the benefits that comes with DTT is that we will now have more television channels. Oe way of tackling unemployment in the area is to get more women and young people to generate more local content for those new channels,” she said.

Source: Government Communication and information System