Black firm enters into digital TV telecasts

GONE are the days of "white domination" and the marginalisation of black participants in the manufacturing of electronic components in South Africa.

This was the overarching message at the launch in Johannesburg yesterday of the newly formed National Association of Manufacturers in Electronics Components (Namec).

The association was formed last month as an outcome of the department of communications' recent summit on set-top-box manufacturing sector development strategy.

The set-top-boxes will be used for the digital migration from analogue to digital television broadcasting in 2011.

Speaking at the launch, Namec general secretary Adil Nchabeleng said: "Opportunities are self-evident in the manufacturing sphere and government has been quick and highly responsive in creating an enabling environment for new and credible players to engage with this opportunity."

He said even beyond manufacturing, other opportunities existed which ranged from job creation in areas of sales and logistics to installations, repairs and call centre support.

"Notwithstanding the significant gains made in infrastructure and service delivery within a diverse geographic range, South Africa still has a huge potential to expand its industrial and production base," Nchabeleng said.

Sithembiso Manzini, director for content policy development at the department of communications, said organisations such as Namec would benefit the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a whole and urged other emerging manufactures to join.

"SADC countries are looking at South Africa to assist them with their migration, and in the process about 15000 jobs would be created."

Asked if membership was only restricted to black-owned companies and professionals, Keith Thabo, Namec chairperson, said membership was open to everyone "who shares our vision".

Namec also has the support of trade unions such as the Communication Workers Union and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA.