21/12/2017 00:33 SAST | Updated 21/12/2017 00:33 SAST

ANC Sets Deadlines For Digital Migration, Media Appeals Tribunal Inquiry

Government missed the international digital migration deadline of June 2015.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters
ANC members and delegates attend the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa December 16, 2017.

The ANC has set deadlines for the government to complete digital migration and for Parliament to set up an inquiry into the feasibility of a media appeals tribunal.

Furthermore, it resolved to keep a close eye on government ensuring that the Telecoms and pay television sectors are transformed.

These are some of the resolutions of the ANC's subcommittee on communications and the battle of ideas, which were presented by senior ANC member and chief whip in Parliament Jackson Mthembu at the 54th national conference on Wednesday.

Digital migration

Mthembu said this was an issue that "bedevilled us".

Government missed the international digital migration deadline of June 2015.

Mthembu said it caused reputational damage and had cost implications.

"Conference has directed government that the latest time they give government to migrate fully from analogue to digital is June 2019," Mthembu said.

Media appeals tribunal

Mthembu said the ANC recognised the press' efforts regarding self-regulation, "but notwithstanding that, we have ordered that, by the end of next year, our parliamentarians must have inquired whether a media appeals tribunal is feasible".

He said this has been "sitting on our laps for quite some time" and that there has also been some criticism about it.

"They said: 'Chief Whip, you should have made this happen.'"


Mthembu said there wasn't much black ownership in this sector.

"We will be watching our government very closely on the transformation of this sector."

Pay television

"This question of monopoly also arises in our media space," Mthembu said.

"Conference ordered our government to speed up transformation in pay television to ensure no barriers to entry for particularly black people."

"You know who are controlling all of the subscriptions in our houses," said Mthembu, probably referring to MultiChoice.

Media Diversity and Development Agency (MDDA)

Mthembu said concerns were raised about the MDDA's capacity to assist community media.

He said delegates said the legislation must be looked at critically. He said the MDDA had "all sorts of problems, including management".

"Conference instructed us to remove all obstacles."

-- News24