Another setback for South Africa DSO
March 30, 2022
By Chris Forrester
South Africa has again delayed its digital switchover, which was scheduled for March 31st.
This latest postponement has been ordered by South Africa’s High Court which ordered communications minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni not to complete the analogue television switch-off as she had planned.
The Court had sat in Pretoria on March 28th and ordered a delay until June 30th. “The March 31st decision is declared to be unlawful and invalid and is reviewed and set aside,” the judgment ruled.
The application for a delay had come before the court from free-to-air broadcaster e.tv.
“It remains to be seen how many households will be adversely affected by the switch-off. However, it would be unreasonable to allow for a situation where this unknown variable is allowed to hold up a process that will eventually be of benefit to all citizens and where government must meet its international obligations,” the court added.
e.tv was arguing that its 2.6 million TV-watching homes, representing some 8 million people, would be cut off from their TV if the analogue switch-off went ahead.
However, the minister welcomed the decision and the Court’s ruling. She must report back to the Court within one month and confirm that the half-million homes which have registered for digital equipment between October 31st last year and March 10th this year are connected.
e.tv is considering whether to mount an appeal and thus achieving further delays.