Zimbabwe spent US$45 million on DStv subscriptions in six months

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
MultiChoice, Pay Tv, African TV, Naspers, DStv Bouquets,

The 2017 Monetary Policy Statement presented by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) highlighted how DStv subscriptions and card payments totalling US$206 million were the second highest driver of foreign currency payments between July and December 2016.

According to a report from Zimbabwean financial news service FinX, the RBZ Governor, Dr Mangudya told FinX that about US$45 million of that total figure was for DStv payments.

Highlighting the prioritisation of consumption over production, Mangudya also pointed out that most of the US$206 million was spent on consumptive material and a small balance for tickets and tuition fees.

DStv is a pay-TV service under MultiChoice which is owned by Naspers, the South African media giant. All payments for DStv are in US dollars or Rands and local financial institutions that process DStv subscriptions have to clear the transactions as offshore payments.

In December 2016, EcoCash Zimbabwe, the country’s most widely used mobile money service suspended payments for DStv.

Both EcoCash and DStv did not provide the reason for the move at the time, though Techzim did speculate that this was driven by the challenges faced in mobilising foreign currency reserves to clear DStv subscriptions as foreign currency payments.

EcoCash subsequently introduced a Rand payment option for subscribers using its EcoCash Rand account and it also explained how the US dollar payment suspension was a response to the foreign currency remittance issue.

Considering the significant amount (US$45 million) that is being spent on DStv subscriptions and EcoCash’s market dominance for a service as ubiquitous as mobile money, its decision to suspend the payment option now appears to be justified.

The only question now is how these realities will also inform the decisions by other financial service providers to do the same, especially with the RBZ now placing pressure on all institutions that handle foreign currency payments to pay closer attention to its priority list that doesn’t make DStv a primary concern.


  1. Mercy

    Yes because of our Govnt who throught better. IF they had allowed free enterprise in our country we would have only be paying half or a 1/4 of this amount.

    1. Mercy

      Ok should be “thought”

  2. Dead ZANU management

    And they stil don’t want kwese TV
    Besides it’s my money I should use it as I please
    It should not be my headache to create reforms which would make zimbabwe a productive country again
    ….ZANU problem

  3. Pedro Gorosviba

    This is a cursed nation, with a cursed leadership, and probably a cursed people! Would a sober minded guy refused investment in the form of Kwese?

  4. Stavoh

    Every policy z nw politically motivated in zw Why block Kwese wen they th conceqences of DStv Even local companies movin out of th country & they thnk they cn run th gvt lyk that (that z unsustainable)

    That gvt z doomed. Hapana kwazvirikuenda izvi. Come mid-year th gvt wont be able to pay even th civil servants (jst wait & see) Thoz guyz ar broke & its jst a sinking titanic

    (too bad for th general povho we’re th ones who suffers most)

  5. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    DSTV is not a prioritisation of consumption, when we take into consideration how many individuals benefited. It’s thousands of people who are making these payments, benefiting from their hard earned money. Even if I have been paying for premium bouquet for 9 years (i.e, dollarisation started in 2008), at and average of $100 per month, $100 * 12 * 9, as an individual I’d have spent $10,800 which is a fraction of the cost of 1 goverment Land Cruiser that benefits exactly 1 individual. Now, in reality, most people paying DSTV aren’t even on the premium bouquet, which further reduces the “consumption” per individual. The government wants to place the blame on it’s citizens, rather than look at themselves and their lifestyles.

    1. Prince

      On point! This is not a lot of money considering how many people are paying and also it’s over six months!

  6. Do-sumn

    AHAA – so that’s why all the progressive movements vana #thisflag, tajamuka etc are all failing. People just park in front of the TV wasting money on programs they don’t even watch – and then when its revealed that you’re pissing money away you complain about the govt again. Take some ownership Zimbos for once! Forget Kwese – this is about the obscene amounts of money being wasted on totally frivolous unnecessary expense that adds ZERO value to anybody’s life or to the economy as a whole. We know the Govt messed up kudhara – but that doe not now give us an automatic excuse for everything. Even when new citizen leader rises to try show the way he’s labelled a Zanu project (blaming govt again). Those guys are crooks and guilty NOW but back in the day, when they found themselves in that bad situation, they got OFF their ASSES and did something about it. They didn’t spent hard earned money buying imported records to make themselves feel better and escape the reality: which is what zimbos are doing now. WAKE UP ZIMBABWE – LOOK IN THE MIRROR FOR ONCE! Our attitude is getting us nowhere. Get active, DO SOMETHING. TURN OFF THE DAMN TV!

    1. U

      Iwewe zvausingarase mari chauinacho chii…simple zjc geography inokuudza kuti a community needs entertainment..thats y ages ago simple games like pada and ngano gained traction..pple wldnt need to waste money if there was proper local content on ztv..s.a dsnt hvve same hdache cz sabc caters for their needs…and besides its my money to waste

  7. Mantlebear

    People will always find a way for paying for their dstv. It doesn’t matter what the gvt does. Is it our fault that ZBC has gone nowhere for the past I don’t know how many years. RBZ governor must find ways to stimulate investment INTO this country not to restrict citizens on what they can do with their money

    BLOCK banks from facilitating any DSTV foreign payments and you will see nature take its course. The reality is the little money(USD) that’s still trickling will be totally wiped out. Right now the banks have some semblance of USD money still flowing.

    Don’t be fooled people. When I deposit USD(foreign exchange) and I’m given a deposit slip that neither confirms if I have remitted USD or Bond notes?? Whats that?

    This will not last! Mark my words!! And don’t give me patriotic talk now. We are all patriots that’s why we are still in this country doing stuff to help our families get by
    ndapedza hangu!

  8. Mwenyendiani Bgwenje

    Show the total payments patterns to enable us to make an informed opinion. To just pick DSTV is dishonesty

  9. analyser

    These outflows could have been inflows into this country. Way back in the 90s, multichoice wanted to setup base in Zimbabwe but that did not see the light of day and they opted for South Africa. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Talk of investor friendly policies.
    we eat what we gather.

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