State-owned South African companies Sentech, which provides signal distribution to broadcasters, and Broadband Infraco, which owns a national fibre-optic network, will be merged to create a new state infrastructure company.
This was announced by communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at a media conference in Pretoria on Thursday.
A merger of the two companies has long been championed by her predecessors, including Siyabonga Cwele, but there now appears to be a renewed urgency in government to effect an amalgamation.
The idea is to create one state-owned infrastructure company to avoid duplication and have a co-ordinated approach
The idea, Ndabeni-Abrahams said, is to create one state-owned infrastructure company to avoid duplication and have a co-ordinated approach.
The new entity will be known as the State Digital Infrastructure Company.
She said her department — communications & digital technologies — is “engaging our counterparts to ensure that non-broadband state-owned enterprises that self-provide broadband, such as Sanral, Prasa, Eskom and Transnet, are prohibited from entering the commercial broadband market so as to avoid the state distorting a well-functioning, liberalised market”.
At the same time, the minister announced the appointment of four new Sentech board members to fill vacancies, pending the merger with Broadband Infraco. They are Malande Tonjeni, Lisa Tele, Mxolisi Tsika and Malizole Diko.