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SA a leader in ICT, says minister

Cape Town - South Africa is using information and communication technologies (ICT) to pull itself out of obscurity, Communications Minister Dina Pule said on Monday.

“South Africa's information technology sector is a leader in the fields of electronic banking services, pre-payment, revenue management and fraud prevention systems, and in the manufacture of set-top boxes (STBs).

The Minister of Communications Ms Dina Pule. Photo: Leon Nicholas. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

“All of these technologies are successfully exported to Africa and the rest of the world.”

Pule was speaking at the inaugural ICT Indaba in Cape Town.

She said the local manufacturing of set-top boxes would enhance the country's leadership position in technology and create many jobs across the continent as “factories go up to manufacture the boxes”.

The STBs would be needed to receive a digital signal on old-style analogue broadcast television sets. Digital migration was expected to be completed by June 2015.

The Democratic Alliance had previously criticised the department for insisting on the local creation of STBs as it was apparently cheaper to import them.

DA MP Marian Shinn said in March that it was highly unlikely that the deadline for a digital switchover would be met if government remained committed to local manufacturing.

“Within a few years most South Africans will likely have bought digital televisions, and sales of analogue sets for which STBs are necessary will cease,” Shinn said.

Pule also made mention of the pay TV market, saying that she would monitor its progress to ensure diverse broadcasting services were accessible to all citizens. - Sapa

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