The Department of Communications on 12 October said that articles published in various publications and electronic media, which stated that R10 billion was spent on the procurement of subsidized decoders, were devoid of the truth.
The department released a statement indicating that the procurement of government subsidised decoders are contracted by state-owned-entity Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) and a total of R900m has been spent on procurement of antennae and decoders.
The department explained that the Broadcasting Digital Migration is a multi-stakeholder project, with money spent on infrastructure built by Sentech, purchasing of decoders and antennae, to the Post Office as the distributing agency for government decoders, and other funds allocated for installation of decoders and public awareness for the project.
According to the statement no decoders will be going to waste as the Broadcasting Digital Migration Project Management Office is working tirelessly in the Free State province to drive public awareness around the project and ensure that every household that qualifies for government subsidized decoders gets their devices. The stock of decoders that is currently in the Post Office warehouse will be depleted in the coming months.
“The new delivery model that was announced by Cabinet yesterday will be phased in from March next year, but it does not make the already procured decoders absolute or non-usable. The new model of broadcasting digital migration will continue to subsidize indigent television viewing households. The new model merely means that government will not procure devices any longer. It will leave this function to retailers. Retailers will now place orders with manufacturers as is their main role in the economy. Government will then rightfully do its role of providing policy certainty and oversight to create an enabling environment” the statement indicated.
The department promised that the registration and installation of government decoders will continue unimpeded in provinces, and the rollout of the project will continue until the new delivery model is phased in next year.
The new model for broadcasting digital migration will be announced in a press conference this week where more information will be shared.