DA voices concern over TV box tenders - TechCentral

DA voices concern over TV box tenders

Marian Shinn

Marian Shinn

The Democratic Alliance has called on communications minister Faith Muthambi to ensure there is transparency in the awarding of tenders to manufacture set-top boxes for South Africa’s digital terrestrial television migration project.

In a statement on Sunday, DA MP Marian Shinn said that a “veil of secrecy” had been placed over the order of 1,5m set-top boxes to three suppliers in the first phase of government’s plan to produce 5m subsidised free boxes for poorer households.

Shinn said her call last week to Muthambi to clarify the status of the orders had gone unheeded.

“My request to Zami Nkosi, CEO of the Universal Service & Access Agency of South Africa (Usaasa), which is managing the set-top box project, to confirm three names industry sources have provided me has gone unanswered,” Shinn said further.

Nkosi reportedly said last week that 1,5m boxes had been ordered and that production began at the end of August but he would not name who was producing them, Shinn said.

“One of the assumed winning bidders, BUA Africa, declined to confirm receipt of an order from Usaasa. A director of the company, Thulani Ngesi, replied: ‘Unfortunately I can’t comment or confirm any speculation as you understand I have an effective NDA (nondisclosure agreement) signed… I can’t be in breach of the terms and reference of such agreement. I suggest you request such information directly from Usaasa.’ When I asked for clarity on who imposed the NDA on him he became defensive, without providing clarification.

“I have submitted parliamentary questions to the minister asking her to provide details of any orders placed for set-top boxes and antennae and to clarify whether there is an NDA with the winning suppliers and, if one exists, the reasons for this.

“It is outrageous that there is not full disclosure on the awarding of these orders and the process by which the three suppliers were chosen from among 26 companies who were appointed to a panel of suppliers who were in line to share the R4,3bn so far earmarked for the project.

“This is taxpayers’ money, so there must be full transparency on how it is being spent and who is securing the orders for each component of the free set-top box project.”  — © 2015 NewsCentral Media


  1. “This is taxpayers’ money, so there must be full transparency on how it is being spent and who is securing the orders for each component of the free set-top box project.” Gov should look after Tax payers money and interests. It is better to launch the commercial switch over to Digital TV in the private sector space. They are ready with SABS approved DVB-T2 boxes for R100 to R200. Most people can afford R100 to R200. Gov might find that they don’t need to manufacture more than 5 million set top boxes at R700 excluding installation costs.

  2. Eric Martinsich on

    DA you did not put out the tender so you cannot question the companies. obtain your information from government

  3. This is not a communist state or dictatorship yet. Anybody can ask anything they like. Are you not at all concerned about how this idiot government is wasting and stealing taxpayer money (your money)?

  4. Eric Martinsich on

    Freedom of speech. correct. the company does not have to answer but to refer them to those that put out the tender. prove the money is being stolen and I do support the present government

  5. Eric Martinsich on

    Yep. I am guided by intelligent faceless people who are so clever they cannot even see that grass is green

  6. No point in arguing with a fool, but cretinous statements like yours are best not even read, and should be totally ignored.

  7. Eric Martinsich on

    I know. so rather delete your backward comments. if you know the government well then make your comments. if you have never ever been involved with the ANC then your comments are useless

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