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Many Zimbabweans have been happily ‘subscribing’ to MultiChoice’s DStv satellite signals from neighbouring South Africa for years. Except their reception equipment and the whole ‘subscribing’ process has been illegal.
Harare-based The Standard newspaper (dated May 8th) was full of complaints from subscribers to DStv who were in uproar that local agents and resellers never informed them that their South African satellite services were in any way illegal.
A recent statement from MultiChoice Zimbabwe threatened to put a leash on bogus agents dotted all over the country’s major cities and towns, and makes clear that its South African signals are only for South African viewing. “In terms of international copyright laws, MultiChoice South Africa can only provide its services to people resident in South Africa due to channels being authorised for reception in South Africa only.
“All operators providing DStv connections and support services in Zimbabwe are bound by the law to ensure that DStv services in Zimbabwe are those that are legitimately provided for this country, and they may not connect Zimbabweans to DStv services in South Africa,” read the statement.
One complainant, perhaps naively, asked: “Paying in South Africa is cheaper than this side so I feel it is unfair to stop us from accessing South African channels which are cheaper,”, adding that some even bypass the agents and pay directly to MultiChoice South Africa.
Another complained: “If I enter into a contract with MultiChoice South Africa by buying my decoder and registering it there, then pay my subscriptions from here, tell me where MultiChoice Zimbabwe comes in,” he quizzed.
MultiChoice is not budging. “All operators providing DStv connections and support services in Zimbabwe are bound by the law to ensure that DStv services in Zimbabwe are those that are legitimately provided for this country, and they may not connect Zimbabweans to DStv services in South Africa,” saysMultiChoice.