Government plans to give free TVs to more than 100,000 matrics

The South African government plans to supply thousands of high-definition (HD) TVs to the households of indigent matric learners.

The Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) has published a fast-track tender seeking suppliers of more than 100,000 locally-manufactured 32-inch TVs for Grade 12 learners who receive social grants.

The aim of the initiative is to assist learners who may have been left behind in their studies due to the closure of schools during the COVID-19 lockdown, USAASA said.

The entity said that while the government has made laudable efforts by providing learners with virtual classrooms, zero-rating of local educational content, and the prioritising of educational content through the SABC, those without set-top boxes or TVs will be unable to access these resources.

“It is in this context that USAASA is proposing to intervene through the rollout of IDTVs [integrated digital televisions] to the approved indigent households with Grade 12 learners first,” it stated.

“The purpose of this bid document is to invite South African registered manufacturers and suppliers to submit proposals for inclusion on a panel of service providers who will be appointed to supply or supply and install the IDTVs to the qualifying 2020 registered Grade 12 indigent households who applied to the South African Post Office (SAPO).”

“The IDTVs, including the necessary accessories, will be sourced, distributed and installed in the households of the qualifying learners who through the South African Post Office (SAPO) have applied and met the criteria set in the application form,” USAASA said.


The project is set to include the procurement, distribution, and installation of digital TV sets which can be used to broadcast educational material.

USAASA has stipulated the TVs will need to meet the following minimum specifications:

  • 32-inch panel size
  • HD LED panel
  • Built-in digital tuner – DVBT-2
  • Built-in speakers
  • A remote control unit including sealed batteries

A total of 111,004 learners in seven provinces are in line to receive free TVs. Gauteng is not included in the list of qualifying provinces.

The table below shows the breakdown of the estimated numbers of active Grade 12 learners in each province who would qualify for a free TV.

Qualifying Grade 12 Learners – Provincial Breakdown
Eastern Cape 25,881
Free State 4,421
Kwa-Zulu Natal 32,009
Limpopo 7,317
Mpumalanga 24,880
Northern Cape 4,799
North West 11,697
Total 111,004

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Government plans to give free TVs to more than 100,000 matrics