South Africa: Cape's TV And Radio Signals Go Awol

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The inhabitants of Cape Town were left without television or radio signals on Wednesday afternoon - but no culprit has been identified. All three SABC television channels, as well as e.tv and M-Net, were broadcasting "snow" across large parts of the city and for most of the day. Radio channels were also intermittent, with some stations not available at all, according to several readers who telephoned in from various parts of the metropole. DStv channels, which broadcast by satellite and do not use the terrestrial service provider, Sentech, were available.

A spokesperson at Sentech's national transmission centre blamed an "Eskom power failure in Constantiaberg", the site of one of the two transmitters that cover most of the city. However, an Eskom spokesperson said there wasn't even "a planned outage" in Cape Town, although Kleinvlei and Eerste River were without power because of "planned maintenance". The Constantiaberg area did not fall under Eskom's control, she said.

The City of Cape Town's electricity department said it was aware of blackouts in Kuils River and Sarepta, but knew nothing about outages in the Constantia region. By late on Wednesday, transmission had not fully returned. Phones at Sentech's national transmission centre went unanswered after 4.30pm. The reason for the "whiteout" remains a mystery.

(Cape Argus (Cape Town), 25 October 2007)