Sono eyes R2.5bn TV deal

2012-06-03 11:36

Johannesburg - One of football icon and businessman Jomo Sono’s companies is among the frontrunners to land the multi-billion rand contract to provide poor households with set-top boxes for the country’s digital migration.

Government is spending almost R2.5bn on the project and Jomo Sono Investments is among the 36 companies that meet the department of communications’ minimum criteria, according to spokesperson Siya Qoza.

Sono’s Jomo Cosmos was recently relegated from the Premier Soccer League, but the 56-year-old may score with government’s subsidising of digital terrestrial television to five million households.

Besides being a club owner, Sono, arguably the country’s best-ever footballer, has interests in petroleum, hospitality, mining, property and vehicle tracking.

Other businesspeople and companies that are also lined up for the tender include DiViTech, which is chaired by Chancellor House trustee Salukazi Dakile-Hlongwane.

Last year DiViTech started shipping its locally designed set-top boxes to East Africa.

Qoza said the contract would be awarded by the end of July.

The department insisted it would meet the global switch-off date of June 17 2015, proposed by the International Telecommunications Union.

Communications Minister Dina Pule recently reassured Parliament that the country’s target date of December 31 2013 would be met.

Qoza said the department chose to publish the list of companies for openness and transparency.

“It’s not an indication of people we prefer. At this stage we can’t say whether it’ll be one or more companies,” said Qoza.

The next step now would be to call them individually, assess their capacity and conduct factory inspections, said Qoza.

The migration to digital terrestrial television (DTT) will see countries switching off their analogue systems.

But the troubled SABC has warned it might incur a cash flow shortfall of R836 million if it invests in the DTT roll-out.

It projects that it will not deliver the performance committed to under the guarantee if it invests in DTT.

It has emerged that the public broadcaster is expected to spend about R6 billion on the digital technology in the period up to March 2015.

The introduction of DTT will allow the broadcaster to unveil new channels, improve viewing quality and diversify content.

Digital broadcasting will allow the SABC to produce a fully fledged parliamentary channel and two other channels reflective of the country’s provinces.

Spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the public broadcaster was raising the flag on DTT by informing government that if it invested in DTT it would have a shortfall. “DTT is not an SABC project; it’s a country project.”

The Independent Communications Authority of SA has commenced with the process to finalise the DTT regulations, which will be gazetted next month.

The SA Bureau of Standards is expected to finalise specifications to which locally manufactured set-top boxes will be built by the end of the month.

According to the department, the manufacturing process is expected to create an estimated 23 500 jobs.

Pule said the DTT network roll-out stands at about 60% with a network roll-out of more than 74% expected to be achieved by September.

The remaining 26% will be rolled out 15 months later.

Only extremely poor households will be subsidised by government.

The department will also subsidise nearly 3 000 Northern Cape households whose signal will be affected by the Square Kilometre Array, which was awarded jointly to South Africa and Australia with New Zealand. 

  • dominique.buchanan.7 - 2012-06-03 12:00

    R2.5B for tv???? WTF, why not 2.5b for fresh water or electricity or housing!!! hmmm i dont have food on my plte but atleast i can watch tv, go figure.....

      Victor Singaram - 2014-12-09 14:49

      That is is how we think in the new SA. To hell with the basic necessities...TV is more important.

  • frans.vanderpoll - 2012-06-03 12:05

    Ooooh!! I'm not gonna say much. Just this: 'Watch this space South Africa'. Hier kom 'n ding!!- 'n mowiese ding!!

  • WitWolf - 2012-06-03 12:18

    Instead of giving free t.v why not create jobs first. You want to give them free t.v to sit at home with no job for food. Clearly shows what type of education the poorly run anc has....

      Mavhungu Vincent - 2012-06-03 13:24

      23500 jobs to be created. Read before you comment. Dont base your comment on title.

      sbusiso.mncwabe.3 - 2012-08-16 17:47

      Mavhungu, today I have spent the day reading stories from News24 and the comments. I have never seen so many arguments (according to my observation) that are on the boundary of being racial arguments. A lot of comments from the English speaking using words such as "these idiots, these ppl are stupid, these clowns" You know I use to say why would Julius say such things like we must take this wealth and power from white ppl... but after today's comments I'm really starting to think (I'll reserve the rest of the sentence)...! I'm disgusted by these comments and the people who are commenting turn this blind eye to sooo many other countries (white, black, indian run countries) who are either just as corrupt or event worse! America sends soldiers on a suicide mission to fight for power to rule over oil... And that's not corruption which is far worse than the value of 2.5bil? The ppl that comment are the same ones that complain about the technology speed in SA, "It's too slow, why is SABC so behind..." But for SABC to up their game, its also an issue... Money is getting spent on houses, healthcare etc. Maybe ppl should be more in tune with the budget speech to understand a bit better about yearly budgets. But then again, anybody can give their 2cents worth, which doesn’t make any significance anyways! Now that my 2 cents worth!

  • Mavhungu Vincent - 2012-06-03 13:17


  • Tax - 2012-06-03 13:21

    2.5 billion tender? I never knew Sono was also a cadre.

  • Anakin - 2012-06-03 13:43

    " Only extremely poor households will be subsidised by government " > will they also be subsidised towards having a TV LICENSE as per SABC requirements, or will the SABC just give up when DTT comes around? I can't wait to see the outcome of this, the only way out would be to scrap tv licenses for everyone before there is mass protests in the streets because viewers that don't have a valid tv license will be cut off when the analogue signal is finally cut off.

      Mavhungu Vincent - 2012-06-03 14:21

      Its obvious.

  • kosmonooit - 2012-06-03 13:53

    What a bad joke this 'digital migration' is .. who actually really needs it? Does the current analogue system not work? The answer really is about grafting off public money in the form of 'contracts', largely to pals and the smoozers. And what a waste of public money. As if SABC TV adds any value to the quality of life for South Africans! Only upside is that hopefully I will not be robbed of R250 pa for a TV licence that I am forced to pay for at the moment, since I will not be installing their gizmo and therefore will not be able to receive SABC TV.

  • KCorsar - 2012-06-03 14:27

    And the real wealth in SA is held with who and where................ This is not an insignificant contract to snag, lets hope it creates employment and is efficiently delivered.

  • Francois - 2012-06-03 14:42

    it just keeps getting better...2.5 Billion for TV's...let's forget education, healthcare and basic needs like water & electricity hey! The Black diamonds get richer and richer...what a shame.

  • Ian - 2012-06-03 18:39

    Why do all the same BEE millionaires keep winning all the contracts.There is no sharing of wealth.

  • Faizie - 2012-06-04 07:43

    You can buy the boxes online from the UK. GBP15

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