Speaking to HumanIPO, Paseka Maleka, Manager: Media and Stakeholder Liaison at ICASA, said the ongoing battle over who should deliver the vital set top boxes and how they should be managed meant the future was unpredictable.
He said: “It is possible, but there are other issues involved. We still do not have the set top boxes. There is the possibility (to hit the 2015 deadline), but there also isn’t the possibility.”
Dina Pule, Communications Minister, took the decision in May to appoint state-owned Sentech to manager the decoder controls, but her decision has been challenged in court by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and e.tv.
HumanIPO revealed last week ICASA was not committing itself to a new deadline after badly missing its original November 2011 target to completely turn off its analogue signal.
All of Africa is obliged to switch fully digital and turn off analogue signals by June 2015 by the Geneva 06 Agreement with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Europe and the Middle East are bound by the same agreement.
Buch Steyn, the Democratic Alliance's Shadow Deputy Minister of Communications, said on Thursday, November 29, the Government currently had "no coherent plan" for the digital migration.
He highlighted the lack of migration and spectrum regulations being finalised by ICASA, lack of co-operation by the different entities and no sign of signalling which people will be eligible for subsidised set top boxes.
Mauritius is the only African country to have completed the switch over so far.
ICASA is currently undergoing a lengthy consultation process with the aim of engaging with the public and stakeholders on digital migration.
A workshop open to the public will be hosted by ICASA at the Fire And Ice Hotel, New Church Street, Cape Town, from 9am on Friday.