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SABC apologises to Ntshavheni for chiming in on analogue switch-off case

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni

6th April 2022

By: News24Wire

  

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The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) board has apologised to Communications and Digital Technologies Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni for jumping the gun in airing its concerns about the broadcaster's state of readiness for the planned analogue television signal switch-off.

"The SABC apologises to the minister for this oversight. The SABC will, in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, continue to adopt an approach that balances the needs and expectations of the shareholder in a way that the SABC board independently believes best serves the interests of the SABC in meeting its public mandate," the statement said.

The SABC said its initial statement calling for a delay in the analogue switch-off was "inappropriately" used by the nongovernmental organisations SOS Coalition and Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) in their campaign against the deadline.

Broadcaster e.tv had initially applied to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for a delay in the switch, As that court case continued, the SABC issued a statement in which it said that it also wanted the analogue switch-off delayed, citing low distribution of set-top boxes. 

In response, Ntshavheni sent a letter to the SABC board, slamming it as an "outdated business" that has "disregarded the benefits it will enjoy on digital television". The minister also threatened to withhold sorely needed funding for its turnaround strategy.

In late March, the North Gauteng High Court dismissed e.tv's challenge against the switch, determining that Ntshavheni did not err in judgement by setting the end of March as a deadline. The court did, however, extend the deadline by three months to the end of June.

The SABC said its initial statement "may not have exhausted the agreed procedures" between the public service broadcaster and the minister. 

"The board has informed e.tv and SOS [and] MMA that its media statement was not intended for the purposes of the ongoing court case. The appropriation of the media statement by them in their court application is inappropriate and ... no probative value should be placed on the media statement," the SABC's statement said.

Edited by News24Wire

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