“It will protect the government investment in set-top boxes so that the box cannot be used outside the boundaries of South Africa,” Muthambi told reporters following Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting on Wednesday.
She said the boxes would be provided free to more than five million households, who would be identified using the national means test.
This decision would again delay the deadline for analogue switch-off, although migration to digital would start as planned on June 17.
“The mere fact that we are now subsidising all the five million poor TV households, it is towards that realisation to say that you need everybody to make arrangements.
“So as government Cabinet has given us the policy to say we need to start with the switch-on and then having assembled the team, if it is all systems go, we will be able to go to Cabinet and announce the switch-off date.”
The announcement spells the end of a long wrangle over whether to include a control system. Muthambi initially argued against control, but the ANC earlier this year made it clear that it disagreed.