Zimbabwean TV viewers are about to lose some of their most popular TV channels. The signals come from neighbouring South Africa, and are broadcast onto satellite by Sentech, South Africa’s state-owned signal carrier. Zimbabwe is claimed to have Africa’s highest broadcast piracy rate.
A 3 month transmission ‘grace period’ ended in May following a Johannesburg court ruling which ordered that Sentech encrypt South African Broadcasting’s Channel 1, 2 and 3.
SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago on June 15th confirmed that the encryption would cut off SABC transmission to free-to-air satellite decoders in countries such as Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique. “We broadcast in South Africa and Sentech is in charge of ensuring the signal is protected and stays in SA,” he said. “Anybody who is not in SA and is watching SABC content terrestrially is doing so illegally.”
MultiChoice Zimbabwe, which offers pay-TV on its DStv platform, would benefit from the looming blackout. An official said: “We are aware that Sentech was ordered to cut its signal to Zimbabwe. But we can’t discuss MultiChoice plans with regard to the disconnections.”