ConCourt rules Ntshaveni's analogue switch-off deadline was unlawful

The apex court ruled that the process followed by Ntshavheni to determine the deadline for South Africa’s switch from analogue to digital was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni at an inter-ministerial briefing on 24 March 2020 detailing how government will respond ahead of and during the 21-day lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN.

Communications Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni has been dealt a legal blow after the Constitutional Court ruled against her planned analogue switch-off to digital.

The apex court ruled that the process followed by Ntshavheni to determine the deadline for South Africa’s switch from analogue to digital was unlawful and unconstitutional on Tuesday.

The planned switch-off was planned for Thursday.

A confident minister KHumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Friday that only e.tv’s appeal stood in the way of the switch from analogue to digital.

"In fact, by the 30th of June we are dependent on what the constitutional court decides, to switch off everybody," she said.

But Ntshavheni’s hopes were dashed when justice Nonkosi Mhlantla said the latter's decision to determine the deadline for the registration of set-top boxes to be 31 October 2021 was irrational.

The court said she did so without considering the number of people who would be affected by the analogue switch-off.

E.tv had argued that the switch would leave millions of poor households in the cold because they don’t have access to set-top boxes to access digital television.