Fourth province in South Africa switching off analogue TV

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies has announced it will switch off the last analogue SABC TV transmitter in Mpumalanga next week.

Communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni will attend the switch-off at an event in Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) on Tuesday, 1 February 2022.

The province will become the fourth in the country to complete its SABC analogue switch-off, following in the steps of the Free State, Northern Cape, and North West.

All residents in these provinces will now require a digital decoder and antenna, digital TV, or satellite TV to receive the SABC’s broadcasts.

MultiChoice has already switched off all of its analogue transmitters, but E-tv is yet to start, as it has launched a legal challenge to the digital migration process.

E-tv believes the timeframe for the analogue switch-off is too aggressive and contends that many households will be left behind during the changeover.

That is despite the digital migration being more than a decade late and the department launching an extensive public awareness campaign around the process.

Analogue TV antenna
An analogue TV antenna

While Ntshavheni said that the analogue switch-off was “still firmly on course”, it is notable that the switch-off in Mpumalanga comes a month after its initial planned completion date at the end of December 2021 or the first week of January 2022.

So far, the department has only managed to complete one of the four provinces — Northern Cape — by the deadlines it had set itself.

It is also set to miss the deadlines for Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Gauteng, which were all set to be completed by the end of January 2022.

However, the department could still complete the process by the end of March 2022, the target set by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The latest revised switch-off dates for each province are as follows:

  • Free State – End of October or first week of November 2021 (Completed: 24 November 2021)
  • Northern Cape – Between mid-November and the end of November (Completed: 26 November 2021)
  • North WestFirst week or second week of December (Completed: 22 December 202)
  • MpumalangaEnd of December or first week of January 2022 (Completion expected: 1 February 2022)
  • LimpopoEnd of December or first week of January (Delayed)
  • KwaZulu-NatalEnd of January (Delayed)
  • Eastern CapeEnd of January (Delayed)
  • Western CapeEnd of January (Delayed)
  • GautengEnd of January (Delayed)

Minister Ntshavheni repeated her call to citizens to migrate to digital TV. Importantly, disadvantaged households with a combined monthly income of R3,500 or less qualify for a free digital set-top box.

To register for this offer, they can visit their nearest Post Office, WhatsApp 060-062-5458, or call 0860-736-823 for more information.

They also have the option to apply online via www.stbregistration.gov.za.


Now read: Digital TV signal disruptions announced

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Fourth province in South Africa switching off analogue TV