DA presses for set-top box answers - TechCentral

DA presses for set-top box answers

Marian Shinn

Marian Shinn

The Democratic Alliance has called on communications minister Faith Muthambi to “come clean” on R1,2bn worth of digital television set-top box contracts placed by government as part of its plan to provide free boxes to qualifying households.

“The DA is concerned about Muthambi’s lack of clarity on the details of the R1,2bn order of the first 1,5m set-top boxes earmarked for poor households,” said DA MP Marian Shinn.

Government has said it will provide free set-top boxes to as many as 5m poorer South African households.

“[Muthambi’s] decision to withhold information concerning the price government is paying per set-top box exacerbates suspicions of corruption around the entire manufacturing and assembly process,” Shinn said in a statement on Thursday.

“I call on her to openly — and without delay — give details on how much public money is being spent on these decoders and how the orders have been shared.”

Shinn said questions she sent to Muthambi have not been fully answered, if at all.

“It is untenable that the minister is so secretive about contracting to spend an assumed R1,2bn among only three of the 26 approved set-top box providers. This is about half of the national treasury approved funding for the set-top boxes.”

According to Shinn, Muthambi has confirmed the names of the three manufacturers to receive the first order are BUA Africa, CS Electronics and Leratadima.

“There has been no official media release on this since the orders were placed in August, which is surprising as this programme is the bedrock of the set-top box manufacturing sector development strategy of 2012 to enable emerging electronics firms to gain entry to the sector.”  — © 2015 NewsCentral Media

10 Comments

  1. Have some sympathy DA. Faith is still on the ‘The cat sat on the mat’ level of communications.
    Being the minister of communications in a Zuma cabinet does not imply you have to have the common skills to actually read and reply to a simple email you know.

  2. The fact that the ANC government has appointed 26 approved STB providers in SA is mind-boggling when there are actually maybe three in the country that can manufacture STBs. Where are the other 23 getting their STBs from – China? Goodbye local manufacturing.

  3. Government should learn from the Guptas. The Guptas made a presentation to ICASA for a new Free to Air Licence. The Guptas are coming with a plan. They will immediately grab the opportunity to use conditional access and a return path (Internet). The Guptas will then come up with blockbuster movie channels and premium content.

  4. I personally have had dealings with two of the three companies that was given POs. This whole deal says corruption all over it. The real fact is that not even the three said manufacturers has the staff nor the size of facilities to manufacture that amount of decoders. Why pay R800 for a item from them when they are importing them for $16? All you have to do is to find out who are the members of these companies. Lets just look at CZ Electronics. CZ Electronics belong to a company called Mint Mobile. If you go on to their website you will see that the group CEO is none other than Oupa Magashula the ex SARS Boss.

  5. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>The Democratic Alliance has called on communications minister Faith Muthambi to “come clean” on R1,2bn worth of digital television set-top box contracts placed by government as part of its plan to provide free boxes to qualifying households.

    I hope she ends up exactly like the late scoundrel and convicted, good for nothing criminal fraudster Jackie Selebi –

    …it seems like the greed around this gravy train scheme for stealing taxpayer money has got some people in the position where they lack all the faculties of sound reasoning;

    …along with all the other scoundrels, in this blatant corruption scheme of absolute ludicrousy, she is going to be most deserving of the consequences which are inevitably going to unravel.

  6. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>The Guptas will then come up with blockbuster movie channels and premium content.

    All of which requires you to pay to secure the rights thereof; you are always proving to be completely clueless about this industry –

    …what business case do you have for blockbuster movie channels and premium content on an FTA platform when advertising revenues are in decline in favor of more targeted online options;

    …CA has its value proposition in a subscription model and the license application is for FTA where ad revenue would not be able to sustain such premium or blockbuster content;

    …you really are a clueless LOSER clown – how about first finding the funds to pay for CA, rather than trying to steal the money from taxpayers.

  7. SACP Solly Mapaila said: It`s important that the government`s stance on set-top box encryption is not misconstrued, writes Solly Mapaila.

    Are we heading for a new apartheid-style content divide for the poor? There appears to be mass confusion over the issue of set-top box (STB) control systems and technical standards, which are to be included in the forthcoming Broadcasting Digital Migration Amendment Policy.

    In December 2013, the cabinet approved amendments to the Digital Migration Policy, draft amendments of which stipulated that all STBs would have a robust STB control system that is not mandatory for use by broadcasters in the transmission and management of their broadcasting services but enables access to a secure mechanism to ensure access to the STB control system on the digital terrestrial television platform by broadcasters which choose to make use of the control system.

    Underneath this technical language, is the simple promise that all broadcasters (not just subscription ones) will be able to ensure controlled access to this advancement over analogue programming.

    On the surface, this appears to fly in the face of the universal access principles of free-to-air broadcasting.

    But this is not the case. With the migration to digital worldwide, content producers are increasingly concerned at the need to protect their programming from piracy and ensure broadcasters that have legitimate access to programming (through contracts) are not unwittingly enabling criminals to access and copy the content.

    Over the years, the ANC-led government and cabinet have made it clear that the digital divide is to be overcome through the introduction of digital television, not further entrenched by preventing free-to-air broadcasters from securing and protecting world-class content for all the people in the country and not just the wealthy.

    The SACP is against the monopoly entrenched in the digital satellite pay television landscape and the glaring misinterpretation of the cabinet decision to, knowingly or unknowingly, weaken free-to-air TV and grow the pay-TV monopoly”.

  8. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    >>With the migration to digital worldwide, content producers are increasingly concerned at the need to protect their programming from piracy and ensure broadcasters that have legitimate access to programming (through contracts) are not unwittingly enabling criminals to access and copy the content.

    What have you or Solly produced to be able to speak on behalf of content producers…???

    I am a content producer and I meet and interact with many producers on a regular basis and the platforms that are available for content distribution provide for the necessary protection moving from theater, to VoD, to DVD, to PayTV and then finally FTA;

    …why is it that all the producers that you claim to speak on behalf of, can see through your crap and there is just a self serving idiot like yourself and your eTV friends carrying on about CA on FTA signals –

    …which you are not even prepared to pay for when the amended policy does allow for you to include it…???

  9. The SACP is against the monopoly entrenched in the digital satellite pay television landscape and the glaring misinterpretation of the cabinet decision to, knowingly or unknowingly, weaken free-to-air TV and grow the pay-TV monopoly”.

  10. Vusumuzi Sibiya on

    Well, you can chat all you want with the SACP; they are not government and as much as they would want all their communist philosophies that would be within their agenda to become policy just as all other parties would want to push their own agendas…

    …government acts in the best interests of the country and the amended policy is in the best interest of South Africa; you are most welcome to pay for and include CA on FTA signals if you so wish – but don’t be thinking that you are going to get taxpayer money to fund your commercial aspirations.