Digital Dzonga dissolved

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Communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda this afternoon dissolved the Digital Dzonga, leaving a void in the industry as SA prepares to migrate to digital television.

The Dzonga, made up of industry representatives, was overseeing SA's move from analogue television to digital broadcast.

Nyanda says the advisory body was dissolved because there was a conflict of interest as it was made up of industry representatives. The country is in the middle of the process of moving over to digital broadcast, in time for the international cut-off in 2015.

However, the process has stalled several times, and the date has been pushed out, with digital television only expected to come into operation in 2014.

The minister held a meeting with the council on Thursday, and decided to dissolve the unit. The council was appointed by the minister to advise on and oversee the process of migrating SA's television services to the next generation of digital broadcasting.

Nyanda told the 12-member council he had received a report of a possible conflict of interest by some members of the council. The conflict of interest arose because most members of the Dzonga either have direct or indirect interest in the industry.

The minister feels the department should not be compromised as a result of the conflict of interest. As a result, the council was dissolved “with a view to reconstitute it urgently”.

Invitations for nominations of suitable candidates will be issued shortly. Dzonga outgoing chair Lara Kanto thanked the minister for the opportunity to be part of the process.

Steven Ambrose, MD of World Wide Worx Strategy, says the Dzonga was more a great idea than an effective advisory grouping. “They have been incredibly ineffective.”

Ambrose suggests the responsibility for overseeing the move to digital should become part of Sentech's portfolio, where it belonged in the first place. The Dzonga was running the risk of duplicating functions of existing operational departments such as Sentech.

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