Foreigners fuming over loss of SABC

2013-07-04 11:00
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – Fuming Africans demanding "their" SABC back are clamouring at backstreet illegal technicians to "fix" their Chinese decoders and are paying up to $40 (about R400) to have their viewing pleasure restored.

Meanwhile DStv decoder sales are skyrocketing following the encryption of the SABC and's signals outside of South Africa's borders.

On Monday the South African parastatal signal distributor, Sentech, following protracted legal wrangling, finally encrypted the broadcasting signals of SABC1, SABC2, SABC3 and

That left millions of viewers from Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar, Angola and Zimbabwe with blue boxes on their TV screens and messages saying the channels are encrypted on their cheap Chinese decoders such as Philibao, Wiztech and Fortec Star.

Millions of viewers outside South Africa have for years illegally watched South African broadcasters’ programming and soaked up the aspirational faux glam entertainment, news and the foreign yet extremely popular soaps such as Generations, 7de Laan, Isidingo, Muvhango and Rhythm City.

DStv sales have skyrocketed

DStv decoder sales have skyrocketed as African viewers simply refuse to watch their local state and public broadcasters whose programming and production values, according to viewers, pale in comparison to what they get to see from South Africa.

MultiChoice has been inundated by enquiries from viewers who are left disappointed to hear that the SABC's channels are not available on DStv in these countries although the pay-TV operator does provide better TV fare than what's available on free-to-air.

Meanwhile shops are left with worthless imported decoders after signals were scrambled on Monday.

Backroom technicians taking advantage

Over the past two days street corner posters have been popping up with backroom technicians promising they can "fix" decoders and bring the SABC and back – but for a price.

People are told to bring their decoders and anything from $25 to $40 as technicians claim that they will "reconnect the SABC".

African viewers, suffering severe withdrawal symptoms from not being able to watch their favourite South African soaps, are now flocking to those who illegally attempt to circumvent the new signal encryption protocols Sentech implemented.

Zimbabwe welcomes encryption

In Zimbabwe, for instance, there's an estimated three million satellite TV dishes - but roughly 2.4 million of those households used it to receive free-to-air transmissions such as the channels from the SABC and Here the local state broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) welcomed the encryption.

The ZBC said Sentech is finally complying with international laws not to beam pirated programming into other countries. The ZBC said that Zimbabweans are quick to look down on their own programmes, while indulging in South African soaps like Muvhango.


  • Tuco Angeleyes - 2013-07-04 11:07

    I'm still not paying for a tv license. won't be surprised if sabc had a hand in this article.

      Sreggin Mad - 2013-07-04 12:00

      Fuming Africans demanding ...Don't worry you not missing much..There is just anc propaganda everywhere. It should be called ancbc

      Herman Delport - 2013-07-04 12:57

      @Tuco I agree but first please tell me where I can "soak up" all this "aspirational faux glam entertainment, news and the foreign yet extremely popular soaps" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA who do they think they kidding.

  • JMaree - 2013-07-04 11:15

    If anyone outside our borders want to watch our shows, they can pay...

      Phillip Hoffman - 2013-07-04 13:10

      JMaree. I agree with you completely. The local stations outside of SA are so pathetic that many Zimbos would gladly pay the SA licence fee. The complaint is that that option has not been provided for. If 2.4 million Zimbos each paid R100 (I think that is the current fee) SABC would earn R240M. This would cushion SA subscribers as well. In Zim even if you pay the full DSTV price SABC is not available in Zim. The only way around it is to have your DSTV decoder registered in SA. During the last election the MDC was airing political advertising on SABC because they knew that more Zimbos watched SABC than ZBC. Think of the addition advertising revenue that could be generated because of the Zim viewership. This would further cushion the SA viewers.

  • Thabo Molea Sebudubudu - 2013-07-04 11:23

    im glad sentech cut them off, we pay tv licence to make sure we get quality programs on sabc while they watch our channels for free.gud job sentech

      Aislyn Gezer - 2013-07-04 11:51

      "Quality programs"

      Menzi Msane - 2013-07-04 11:54

      Quality programs? Hahahahahahahaha! You must be a soapie fan

      Peejay MacLane - 2013-07-04 12:00

      Yes Thabo, its quality indeed. If others can appreciate our SABC programing then SABC is doing a great job. DStv is still showing FRIENDS and MARTIN. Big ups SABC

      GayAtheistEffUN24 - 2013-07-04 12:07

      The problem comes in when they SABC buys shows, and then never airs them. They might have well just used the money to wipe their a$$es with.

      Sreggin Mad - 2013-07-04 12:07


      Karl Reed - 2013-07-04 18:56

      Lol, o bua sebudubudu monna

  • Muchasura Chando - 2013-07-04 11:23

    Point of correction Editor, these decoders aint cheap and aint coming from China.

      Karl Reed - 2013-07-04 18:58

      They are relatively cheap.

  • rory - 2013-07-04 11:28

    Shame poor bums. Pay your way and you will be able to watch. Why must others pay for your luxuries.

      Gaylord Guy - 2013-07-04 11:34

      That is basically the progressive tax system... The wealthy are punished, and made to pay the way for the poor. There will always be poor, when the rich are forced to pay for poor's welfare (i don't mean children, disabled etc.. only those capable of providing, but choose not to)

      Karl Reed - 2013-07-04 18:58

      If they had the option, they would.

  • Stanely Mabunda - 2013-07-04 11:33

    people are tired of always watching mugabe

      Colin Hayward - 2013-07-04 11:56

      then stop voting for him

      PhillipHoffman - 2013-07-04 14:07

      Colin. The majority of Zimbos did note vote for Mugabe. He stuffed the ballot boxes. In the last election one constituency got 110% voter turnout.

  • Funwithgoats - 2013-07-04 11:36

    They must be really hard up for TV channels to watch the crap SABC broadcasts.

  • Wendy Nezar Schmidt - 2013-07-04 11:43

    Millions have not paid but we suckers in South Africa are expected to pay annually .. charming

  • Colin Hayward - 2013-07-04 11:55

    now to cut off all the illegal electricity users !!!!!

      GayAtheistEffUN24 - 2013-07-04 12:09

      Also true! Foreign countries getting free TV from us, plus we sell our electricity to them at reduced prices, yet we gotta cough up for higher tariffs.

  • Priscilla Smith - 2013-07-04 11:56

    Well done, Sentech! We have enough foreigners in our country taking the jobs meant for our people, and then they want to watch SABC for free too!!! Make them pay!

      Simon Sinimoni - 2013-07-04 12:58

      I would like to pay for a chance to watch sabc but there is nowhere to pay for it as it does not have any payment offices outside of I have dstv(minus sabc) and I pay for it monthly even though dstv throws in a lot of repeats such that the only things really worth watching are the news channels

      Simon Sinimoni - 2013-07-04 14:03

      @mismizz- I dont live in south africa, i am not s.african, i do not have a s.african add ress or i.d therefore i can not pay for a s.african tv license simply because there is no provision set in place to do so if one wants to pay but they are not s.african.I can not access sabc on dstv Zimbabwe because sabc channels were removed sometime in 2005 and replaced with zbc.The only way now to get sabc outside of is to buy a dstv decoder then register it in s.a after lying that you stay in s.a and would be using the decoder in s.a.I think there would be a lot of south african registered dstv decoders being smuggled out of your country pretty soon-watch beitbridge

      PhillipHoffman - 2013-07-04 14:09

      Miss Multichoice do not offer SABC on their bouquet in Zim.

      Zanoxolo Duncan Lholhoza Mbekela - 2013-07-04 15:38

      To me its a gud thing though we were showcasing the South African talent and it wl kill Music artist as it was a gud markerting to them.

      Mbuso Ralph Moyo - 2013-07-11 14:07

      How does a foreigner take a job meant for a citizen? Does He or she come to a country And find The citizen working then decides to physically take the job or does he she find a job vancancy..Im confused..enlighten me

  • Anakin Sky-Vader - 2013-07-04 11:59

    Ha ha ha ha ha - eish everything must be free you see. And not ONE of these countries outside the borders of SA pay a TV license fee in the first place - "it's not the right thing to do". And so when the set-top boxes get installed here in SA you will need a TV licence to activate it. So either scrap the tv licence thing entirely or see more demand for backroom technicians skyrocket.

  • Singaka Mbele - 2013-07-04 12:08

    We feel the same about our low quality of sabc..,multichoice not good enough with a movie that repeats 11 times in one week, for their ever increasing prices, News24,why can't you report this overseas,maybe we can get a competent rival to these guys,unlike Top porno tv

  • Nathan Lombard - 2013-07-04 12:11

    The crap they show is hardly something you can charge for.

  • Justin Pretorius - 2013-07-04 12:12

    Viewing pleasure!!!!! ?????? Are you insane!!! What horrid programs!!!

  • Maxwell Sibanda - 2013-07-04 12:26

    I won't be surprised to see these channels back after Zim elections.

      Karl Reed - 2013-07-04 19:03

      Only the wise can see the hand of ZANU in all things.

  • Jonathan Swartz - 2013-07-04 12:35

    One mans crop is another's enjoyment it seems

  • Semma Aphane - 2013-07-04 13:21

    Kwaaaaaaa, we have people who are watching our television mahala? Eyoooo dstv izinyoka. Amazing hey?

  • Emmanuel Kamwenje - 2013-07-04 14:54

    Long term South african companies that advertises on SABC will lose out to consumers outside RSA

      Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa - 2013-07-04 22:38

      It's a detriment to south African based industries selling their wares all over the region who advertise on SABC, and the artists too

  • Cristina Salva - 2013-07-04 15:43

    Who on earth writes stuff like this??

  • Mpho L Mashegoane - 2013-07-04 16:23


      Thokozani Dlamini - 2013-07-04 20:41

      Please don't shout

  • Neil Alan White - 2013-07-05 16:28

    are they missing SABC. things must be tough up north. South Africans who have DSTV generally dont watch SABC

  • Tinavo Bvumburai Magaisa - 2013-07-22 16:50

    Read the story more than twice and havent seen the part where "Africans" and "Foreigners" are demanding the SABC. No comment from electrical stores owners who sell the decoders to the screaming Africans from any of the countries. Withdrawal symptoms Thinus? Is there a content editor at News24?

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