R1.2-billion digital TV decoder deal – Minister must answer

The DA shadow minister of communications Marian Shinn is concerned over the Communication Minister’s lack of clarity regarding the first 1.5 million digital terrestrial television decoders ordered.

These decoder-like set-top boxes (STBs) cost R1.5 billion and are earmarked for the poorest households in South Africa.

“[Faith Muthambi’s] decision to withhold information concerning the price government is paying per STB exacerbates suspicions of corruption around the entire manufacturing and assembly process,” said Shinn.

Shinn said she received only two replies to her many questions about the deal, and both answers failed to give the specific details asked for.

“It is untenable that the Minister is so secretive about contracting to spend an assumed R1.2 billion among only three of the 26 approved STB providers.

In 2014, the STBs and antennas were estimated to cost about R800 per household, she said.

Muthambi has failed to answer how many STBs and antennas were ordered from each of the suppliers; what the costs of each of the items ordered were; and when the delivery dates of the orders are, among many other questions, said Shinn.

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R1.2-billion digital TV decoder deal – Minister must answer