Advanced Television

South Africa: Court victory for

June 29, 2022

By Chris Forrester

South Africa’s Constitutional Court ruled in favour of independent broadcaster in its dispute with the country’s Communications Ministry. The court’s unanimous ruling means that South Africa’s switchover to all-digital TV broadcasting is again delayed.

The court said there must be more consultation before analogue transmissions are abandoned.’s analogue transmissions reach millions of South Africans many of whom do not have digital TVs or set-top boxes.

A previous ruling had backed the Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni and had set June 30th 2022 as the final date for analogue TV. The new decision states that the earlier decision was unconstitutional and thus invalid. The Minister’s earlier decision to impose a deadline of October 31 2021 for citizens to register for a free set-top box was also invalid.

The Communications Ministry must pay’s legal costs.

The court found that the Ministry failed to consult with all interested stakeholders prior to setting the analogue switch-off date. The Minister failed to provide an opportunity for affected parties to make representations on the switch-off date. This was “procedurally irrational” stated the court.

“The minister inferred that millions of indigent persons in South Africa were aware of the 31 October 2021 deadline. They were duly informed of the consequences of not registering by that date and accordingly made an informed and conscious decision not to register for state-sponsored set-top boxes. We do not agree with that submission. The process leading up to the deadline did not provide adequate opportunity for affected households to register and as a result the process is tainted with procedural irrationality,” the court added.

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