Cape Town - Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Mondli Gungubele on Wednesday said his department was engaging extensively with stakeholders and role-players regarding the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.
Delivering his 2023-24 budget speech, Gungubele said they were in the meantime continuing to install set top boxes for outstanding households.
“Once this consultation process is completed, we will announce the final date for analogue switch-off, which will free up much-needed spectrum in accordance with the President’s directive,” he said.
However, Gungubele said they have decided to switch off the remaining 151 transmitters in Eastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal, and Gauteng during this year.
“The department aims to conclude the distribution of available set-top boxes to registered indigent households as soon as possible.”
The minister also said he would be issuing the final spectrum policy by September and Icasa will be responsible for the licensing.
“The policy aims to allocate as much of the spectrum as possible to support the modernisation of the economy. The new set aside provisions for allocation of spectrum for women, youth, and SMMEs are a game changer for this policy.”
In response to concerns about expensive mobile data, Gungubele said Icasa will be publishing the outcomes of the Call Termination Rate and Data Market study this financial year.
“This will give more transparency and help to respond to the public outcry regarding the high cost of data in South Africa. We are committed to the struggle for #DataMustFall.”
He also said through SA Connect, his department was dedicated to bridging the digital divide by providing Wi-Fi access to communities and ensuring universal access to the Internet.
“This year, we plan to deploy 9900 hotspots in 16 districts across the country,” he said.
SITA will launch a national broadband project, worth at least R6 billion, to ensure that the government reduces the cost and duplication of connectivity infrastructure from municipalities up to national government level.
Gungubele also said the government was working with the South African Post Office (SAPO) to explore various options to save the entity from liquidation.
“Our aim is to save the entity and ensure business continuity,” Gungubele said.
He added they have engaged with the Cabinet to find an optimal approach to ensure business continuity.
“It is important to note that the SAPO remains fully operational and committed to delivering essential services to the people of South Africa.
“Despite the current challenges, the public can still expect to receive their letter posts, courier packages, renew their vehicle licenses, withdraw their social grants, and receive their chronic medication through SAPO.”
The Post Office of Tomorrow strategy will aim to improve the customer experience by simplifying and streamlining processes as well as increasing accessibility and convenience.
The minister said they were at an advanced stage with the corporatisation of Postbank.
The SA Postbank Amendment Bill was approved by the National Assembly in March and once signed into law, it will enable the registration of the Bank Controlling Company,” he said.
“This is the last step in the banking licence application process which is intended to see Postbank awarded the fully fledged banking licence by the South African Reserve Bank.
“This will enable the Postbank to fulfil its function as a fully licensed commercial bank owned by the State to render financial and banking services to the public,” he said.