SA: Electronic manufacturing billed to boost economy

Communications Minister Faith Muthambi
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi

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Port Louis – Communications Minister Faith Muthambi says the revival of the electronic manufacturing sector will help South Africa achieve the growth targets set out in the Nine-Point Plan.

The Minister was speaking at an interactive session of the 1st Summit of the NexTV CEO Africa 2016 in Port Louis, Mauritius, on Thursday.

“As government, we are overwhelmed by the manner in which South Africans are embracing digital migration… South Africans… including those in the most remote areas, have shown us that they are aware that everyone on the African continent and the entire world is going through a television revolution of migrating from analogue to digital broadcasting.

“While South Africans are indicating to us that they want to move away from the outdated analogue system, as government, we believe that one way of making our Nine-Point Plan a reality is to revive the manufacturing of television sets.

“… [The interest shown by our people] in digital migration gives us hope that by reviving the manufacturing of TVs in small and medium enterprises, this will help us to bring down the price of flat screen TVs and ensure that we create employment opportunities for our people,” she said.

South Africa has already begun the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television broadcasting in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) area in the Northern Cape and other border-lying provinces.

On Monday, the Minister was at Xigalo village in Limpopo where she was invited by a local church to educate congregants about digital migration. She also used her visit to the rural village to distribute free set-top boxes (STBs), which were connected to analogue TV sets in poor households.

TV owners need to either acquire a STB to connect their analogue TV or purchase a digital television set, which has an inbuilt digital tuner. A set-top box is a device which converts the signals from a digital television broadcast into a form which can be viewed on a traditional television set.

Government’s programme of distributing free STBs to five million households is underway in earnest.

Bua-Microtronix Manufacturing CEO, Thulani Ngesi, is also attending NexTV CEO Africa. The company specialises in PC board assembly for the mining, military, automotive and various commercial industries.

“… We are here to expand our footprint. The message that I want to send back home is that everybody in the continent has now realised that digital migration is a reality…” said Ngesi.

Bessie Tugwana from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), said: “… Through this engagement, as the public broadcaster, we are far ahead of most African countries in terms of using the modern technologies in the broadcasting space.”

The two-day summit provides a unique opportunity for networking amongst CEOs and top executives in the technology, media, and content and cable TV industries.