South Africa is the only country in the African continent distributing subsidised Set Top Boxes (STBs) in preparation for the shifting of analogue television to digital television broadcasting, says Communications Minister Faith Muthambi.
“We are the only Government throughout the continent that is providing these migration devices for free to poor households.
“This is because our Government is no stranger to the sufferings of the masses and is committed to ensuring that much needed Spectrum enabling provision of more broadband services to benefit our communities is cleared within a short space of time,” Muthambi said.
The Minister was speaking at Kwaggafontein where she officially unveiled a R1.4 million state-of-the-art youth centre, which will be built through Eskom’s corporate social investment programme in January next year.
The Minister also donated office furniture to Ndzundza Fene Tribal Council worth more than R400 000.
The STBs will allow those still using analogue sets to access the digital signal and government is providing free STBs to five million poor TV-owning households across the country. Digital migration will see TV viewers enjoying good picture quality and sound.
“Those who are knowledgeable about these procedures are requested to help the needy to better understand the processes so that we expedite the migration process as we have to completely switch off from analogue in 2018.
“There are positive spin-offs from this project as some youth might be trained as Set-Top-Box installers thereby creating employment opportunities.
“It cannot be business as usual when the youth of this country continue to constitute high volumes of the unemployed statistics. As the Department we are saying that local youth must benefit from this Project,” she said.
Muthambi said the training rollout will follow the STB rollout pattern in order to maintain the momentum. It is anticipated that on completion, an approximate 2 800 new installers would have been equipped with the skills nationwide.
“Residents of Kwaggafontein, South Africa, has entered the digital era. Very soon, the whole of South Africa will burst into praises joining communities in the Northern Cape Square Kilometre Array (SKA) where we have moved from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial broadcasting. Soon communities will be singing from the same hymn page like those in the Northern Cape bursting into praises for the roll out of Digital Migration.
“I am appealing to the indigent locals to visit their nearest South African Post Office to register in order to receive Government subsidised Set Top Boxes,” she said.
The following documents are needed from qualifying households — South African Identity Document; Proof of Residence; Proof of possessing a TV set and Proof of household income below R3 200 per month.
Muthambi said state own entities have the responsibility to ensure that the Nine Point Plan becomes a pillar of communities.
“We will continue to urge all our State Owned Entities (SOEs) to play their part to ensure that the Nine Point Plan becomes a supporting pillar of our communities in the next coming months,” she said.
While the Nine Point Plan chief focus is on resolving the energy challenge, it also seeks to revitalise agriculture and the agro-processing value chain.
The plan also focuses on ICT infrastructure and broadband roll-out, water, sanitation and transport infrastructure, as well as Operation Phakisa aimed at growing the ocean economy.
It also seeks to advance beneficiation in the country’s mineral wealth and ensure a more effective implementation of the Industrial Policy Action Plan.
It further encourages private sector investment, moderating workplace conflict, unlocking the potential of SMMEs, cooperatives, township and rural enterprises and boosting the role of state owned companies.
“Eskom, being one of Government SOCs, has proven beyond the call of duty that it has meaningful contributions to make to society. It has gone beyond just the provision of power to the empowerment of communities through its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme. You should not serve in any community and not give something back,” she said.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK