By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
We saw this coming a long time ago, its sad some people are saying this was too sudden although it was largely advertised, but the honest truth is that Zimbabweans have been left too emotional as the switch finally came down on SABC.
The SABC channels were disconnected on Monday July 1 as a follow-up to last year’s ruling by the Johannesburg High Court that South African television signal carrier Sentech had to encrypt its signal in three months.
Other South African based channels did not take time to implement the ruling seeing channels like e-TV quickly disappearing from the Free To Air spectrum, with only SABC channels left broadcasting, somehow most people thought that the channel will not completely close.
Already they are people conning desperate subscribers claiming that they can provide them with codes to unlock the encrypted signal but this may only seem to be a futile exercise s there is more to the encrypted code, even the signal type has changed.
Zimbabwe Broacasting Cooperation (ZBC) has been on cloud nine describing the ruling to force SABC to encrypt its signal as a major milestone for the enterprise.
The CEO for the broadcaster Mr Happison Muchechetere said ZBC-TV was as alternative as it was affordable.
“it is illegal for any country to have an overflow of signals, and SABC has been doing that in our territory. Botswana took Sentech to court and they won the case. At no point should overspill be allowed. In South Africa, they actually destroy these free-to-air decoders. Instead of buying a free-to-air decoder people should just pay up their radio and television licences so that they enjoy quality programming on ZBC-TV” said the CEO
The blackout of the SABC channels came about after the State-owned South African broadcasting giant, Sentech dropped its appeal after losing the battle for distribution of its signal on free-to-air decoders to e-Botswana signals
Speaking to Ndodana Tshuma of GameZone, a local Audio-Visual dealer with an authorised SABC licence on his DSTV subscription licence said its simply time people move on to the DStv platform and they will still access their beloved programmes on their decoders.
Ndodana Tshuma is one of the very few dealers who are offering SABC channels on his DSTV dealership still broadcasting and these will not be cut off.
Residents who rushed to DStv offices Joina City and Avondale were disappointed to learn that SABC was not available on any of the subscription bouquets DStv .
In Bulawayo, posters inscribed “$40 for SABC,” are already flying around with completion tagging the charges to fluctuating figures of $25.
We failed to confirm whether the reconnection was successful or not, and also for how long was it guaranteed
A Press release from SABC states that the broadcaster has introduced a new decoder ‘Vivid’ which only viewers in South Africa will use to access SABC channels beginning on Monday.
Neigbouring countries which were also receiving the over spilling signal include Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, and Angola where free-to-air decoders were prevalent, were also affected.
Statistics indicate that there are about three million viewers on Wiztech regionally.