Sentech to reconnect community radio stations suspended over non-payment

3 May 2018

Regulation & Policy

Fifteen community radio stations that were suspended for non-payment last week will be reconnected, the communications ministry said on Friday.

"We have managed to broker an agreement between the parties that will be aided by our support to the community radio stations through the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA)," said spokesperson Mlimandlela Ndamase.

"Sentech has agreed to reconnect all suspended stations and will not affect any further suspensions in the short term while we seek to find sustainable solutions to the financial viability of the community media sector."

A further 17 stations would have been suspended in an effort by Sentech to recover R33m in outstanding signal distribution fees.

The agreement comes after Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane met with Sentech, the National Community Radio Forum, the MDDA and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa on Friday.

Ndamase said they had committed to a process aimed at strengthening governance, financial management, revenue generation and skills development.

"The above will create an environment wherein community radio stations are geared to attract investment and advertising expenditure from both the public and private sector," said Mokonyane.

She also committed to hosting a community radio sector summit next month to further explore challenges and opportunities.

"The community radio sector is a critical communication platform to ensure we provide our people with access to information in their communities as a means towards the creation of an informed citizenry. It is for this reason that we cannot allow the sector to collapse."

Source: News 24