SA telecoms departments at loggerheads over digital migration

15 Oct 2014

South African shadow telecoms minister Marian Shinn has reportedly hinted at a ‘turf war’ between the telecoms regulatory departments, which risks undermining the analogue switch-off process, TechCentral reports. Following the July 2014 split of the Department of Communications (DoC) into two separate entities – a communications department and a telecoms and postal services department – both authorities claim to be in charge of the process. Whilst telecoms minister Siyabongwa Cwele has been updating the government on the project’s progress in recent months, Bongiwe Gambu, a spokesperson for communications minister Faith Muthambi, disclosed this week: ‘The presidential proclamation gazetted in July 2014 transferred the Broadcasting Act… to the newly established department of communications… [This] logically transfers the policy formulation responsibilities and any project relating to broadcasting.’ Further, Mr Gambu added: ‘We are finalising details on how to get the migration project on track and we will share those details with the industry and the public during the month of October 2014.’ Meanwhile, Mrs Shinn commented: ‘The folly of splitting the communications department is apparent in this digital terrestrial television (DTT) migration strategy. There was always going to be a turf war between the ministers about who owns what from the previous department.’