It is only a matter of time before all SABC television channels are inaccessible in Botswana, The Monitor has established. This development follows a ruling by the Johannesburg High Court where the majority shareholder in e-Botswana, Mike Klink, successfully sued SABC and its signal distributor, SENTECH, for failure to encrypt SABC signals in Botswana.
SENTECH was also ordered to pay the costs of the case. The court ruled that SENTECH is liable to e-Botswana for damages they suffered since March 25, 2009 to-date as a result of SENTECHÕs failure to prevent pirate viewing in Botswana of SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 signals carried on Vivid platform. e-Btswana argued that the piracy of the SABC signal through Chinese decoders Ð popularly known as Phillibao, had resulted in loss of business by denying the channel an opportunity to make profit from advertising. Accordingly, SENTECH was ordered to switch off all SABC signals in Botswana. In the ruling SABC was ordered to serve SENTECH with claims and SENTECH to respond within 10 days of receipt of the claims. However, this is to be preceded by determination of quantification of the damages to be claimed by e-Botswana in a damages enquiry. The general manager of e-Botswana, Dave Coles, told The Monitor that he would only know how much the channel would benefit after meeting with his board.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the National Broadcasting Board, Masego Mpotokwane, has said his organisation was aware of the problems that e-Botswana faced as a result of SABC channels being pirated in Botswana.