South Africa’s Communications Minister Dina Pule will not appeal the High Court decision in favour of e.tv with respect to the control of set-top boxes, in a bid to facilitate the country’s digital migration.
Pule announced today that she has withdrawn her application for leave to appeal the decision, which found that the Communications Minister had overstepped her remit in unilaterally revoking e.tv’s control of set-top boxes in the forthcoming digital migration in favour of state-owned Sentech.
Her intention to oppose the ruling provoked widespread condemnation due to the delaying effect it would have on the migration.
“We are committed to finding a solution that will ensure that we fast-track the process of rolling out digital terrestrial television… In this regard, I have instructed the department of communications to withdraw our appeal against the South Gauteng high court decision,” Pule announced at the Digital Broadcasting Switchover Forum today.
The move comes following months of tension between Pule and free-to-air broadcasters.
Despite claims by Pule that the migration from analogue to digital TV signal in South Africa would be hindered unless the High Court overturned its finding in favour of e.tv, and e.tv’s vehement refutation of these claims, over the past weeks the Department of Communications has repeatedly met with free-to-air broadcasters amidst efforts to engage with stakeholders, with the aim of “fast-tracking the implementation of digital terrestrial television”.
The Communications Minister has come under fire recently for her handling of a range of issues, with reports yesterday suggesting that President Jacob Zuma intends to remove Pule from her official position in an upcoming cabinet reshuffle.