SABC channels ‘restored’

ZIMBABWEANS seem to have a solution for every challenge and their enduring entrepreneurship spirit appears to never diminish.

Khulani Nkabinde

After the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) encrypted its channels that were available on free-to-air decoders, leaving over three million viewers in the cold, some technicians have already found a solution.

In Bulawayo, there is a company that claims to have technicians that are able to reconnect those viewers who use Wiztech, Philibao, Fortec and Vivid decoders back on. But that comes at a price with the company charging as much as $80, capitalising on high demand.

Asked if they were able to reconnect subscribers as they claimed , a woman who answered the phone listed by the company in the adverts posted all over Bulawayo, confirmed that they were able to.

“Yes, we can reconnect you. You have to pay $80 and then you can watch SABC 1,2, 3 and Etv. The subscription lasts for one year,” she said.

There was a public outcry last week when SABC disconnected viewers in Zimbabwe and the rest of Southern Africa to comply with a court order by the South African High Court. A Wiztech owner, James Ndlovu, however, said he could not fork out that much to watch SABC again.
“That’s too much. I bought that decoder for far less that amount. That company is not serious,” fumed Ndlovu.

In 2012, Sentech, a South African television signal carrier, was ordered by the Gauteng High Court to encrypt its signal within three months. The development has seen Zimbabwe losing access to the neighbouring country’s free-to-air TV channels. Sentech distributes free-to-air channels such as SABC 1, 2 and 3 among others, which are popular among Zimbabweans who use Wiztech, Philibao, Fortec Star and Vivid decoders to gain free access to the channels.

The encryption of the channels has seen many Zimbabweans flocking to MultiChoice offices to buy decoders as they continue to shun the State broadcaster, ZBC. However, in a country where 85% of the population is estimated to be unemployed, the DStv subscriptions might prove too high for ordinary people.

The cheapest DStv bouquet is $10, with the most expensive being $72. Some of the popular programmes that Zimbabweans are likely to miss out on are Generations, Muvhango, Isidingo, Intesexions and South Africa’s Absa Premier Soccer League.

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