In 2007 the South African government announced its commitment to a digital broadcasting platform in South Africa by 2011. Not only will this place the country at the forefront of digital broadcasting worldwide, it will have the power to transform and uplift the everyday lives of all South Africans. To manage the smooth migration from an analogue broadcasting platform to a digital one, the Digital Dzonga Advisory Council, South Africa’s Digital Migration Office, was appointed by the Department of Communications in 2008.

I am confident that the Advisory Council’s combination of specialist skills, experience and enthusiasm will be effective in garnering support for the Digital Migration Programme at every level in our society. It is our goal to use broadcasting to accelerate economic development and contribute to social cohesion. Thus, on behalf of Government, the Department of Communication wishes the Digital Dzonga every success and pledges our full support to the programme. 

The formation of the Digital Dzonga demonstrates a noteworthy commitment by the South African government to an inclusive and transparent decision making process. This can be seen in the composition of the council, which includes senior representatives from all parts of the Digital Terrestrial Transmission (DTT) value chain, including government, regulators, broadcasters, signal distributors, manufacturers and consumer representatives.

The process of migrating to digital television has been exciting, challenging and rewarding. In the first year of our existence we have focused on better understanding the nature of DTT, closely studying how these processes have been managed abroad and the particular challenges of rolling out DTT in the context of a developing country. It is important to understand levels of readiness if our migration is to be successful. This approach was validated at the Digital Switchover Strategies event held in London this February. In the category “Best Digital Switchover Plan,” South Africa’s Digital Migration Plan achieved 2nd place. This is remarkable considering that South Africa was the only developing country shortlisted among countries that have already completed their switchover to digital television.

In the year ahead we aim to build on the solid foundation we have established
as we prepare for the launch to market during 2010 - by increasing the delivery capacity of the Digital Dzonga (in terms of regulation and support) and implementing a broad based social marketing communications strategy to ensure consumers have the information and support they require to switch over in the planned timeframes.

Television opens up the future through watching educational, entertainment, sport, information and cultural programmes.  Digital TV will bring so much to South Africans through more choice of channels and content. It’s exciting that South Africa will be counted among the most advanced countries in the world – going digital in a way that will meet our country’s own unique challenges…

The world is going digital.  The future is digital – as encapsulated in our slogan,
“Go digital!” Soon, we’ll all see the difference in our lives.