Free government-subsidised TV decoders: Requirements and how to get it

Free government subsidised TV decoder
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The South African Post Office (SAPO) has announced the requirements one must meet to qualify for a free government-subsidised TV decoder.

In a statement on Thursday, SAPO said there has been a “dramatic increase” in the number of South Africans applying for the free decoders (set-top boxes).

Analogue transmission ends in April 2022

During his State of the Nation (SONA) address earlier this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country will switch from analogue to digital TV transmission by April 2022.

This means that analogue transmission will no longer be in use and viewers have to get the decoders to continue watching free-to-air channels on their TVs.

South Africans who watch TV via analogue transmission have already been receiving a scrolling message on their TV screens alerting them of the impending switch.

The message reads: “Important notice: If you see this message, go to your nearest Post Office to register for a free government-subsidised decoder or call 0860 736 832 to continue receiving a television broadcast.”

How to get free government-subsidised decoder

To register or apply for a free decoder and continue watching free-to-air channels (such as SABC and eTV), you need to visit your nearest Post Office branch.


According to the Post Office, applicants should bring the following documents when they visit a branch:

  • Proof of the family’s income. Families with an income of R3,200 per month or less qualify. Recipients of a SASSA social grant also qualify.
  • Proof of identity. Only South African citizens qualify.
  • Proof of address. Your address is captured on the system so that installers later know where to install your subsidised set-top box.
  • A police affidavit to state that you have a working TV set. It will have no purpose to install a television decoder at a house with no television set.

“The decoder also brings much better picture quality and a bigger choice of television channels,” SAPO spokesperson Johan Kruger said.

Those who do not meet these requirements will be expected to buy their own decoders.

According to Openview’s website, an Openview decoder currently sells for R599 (excluding dish and installation). Inclusive of a satellite dish and installation, the price rises to R1,499.

The decoders are available at major retail stores, including Makro, Pep, Checkers Hyper, Pick n Pay Hypermarket, and House & Home, among others.

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