SADIBA owes its existence to individuals with vision and commitment that have set apart time and resources and driven the processes that saw the establishment and now the growth of the association. In recognition of the contributions made, the SADIBA Steering Group met with the former chairpersons and presented them with a token of appreciation.

Neel Smuts

Neël Smuts

Neël could be referred to as founder and visionary and indeed as the “father of SADIBA”.  Whilst he was Managing Director of Sentech, Neël played a leading role in mobilising industry stakeholders, highlighting the need for co-operation and eventually establishing the voluntary forum on digital broadcasting. The association was formed as SADABA (Southern African Digital Audio Broadcasting Association) and launched on 24 January 1997. Neël was elected the Chairperson and held the position until July 2000.

Under Neël’s leadership the work within the association commenced and the membership started growing, Pilot transmissions commenced and services were accommodated.  With the onset of discussions on Digital Terrestrial Television the move to expanding the focus of the association commenced.

The AGM on 12 May 1999 accepted in principle that a change in focus was required in order to include all digital broadcasting technologies. The constitution was amended to this effect in 1999 and the name to SADIBA (Southern African Digital Broadcasting Association) was approved on 3 June 1999.


  • Launch of association,
  • Founder and visionary Establishment of DAB Pilot broadcast and the accommodation of services 
  • Renaming of the Association and expansion of work to all areas of Digital Broadcasting 
  • SADIBA submission to IBA (now ICASA) position paper on satellite broadcasting in June 1999. 
  • SADIBA 1999 Open Industry Workshop 
  • Digital Radio data-casting workshop in January 2000
  • Establishment of DTT Pilot broadcasts in February 2000
  • Upon his appointment as Councillor with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Neël was required to distance himself from the association in view of the neutrality required by the position.
  • Neël resigned as SADIBA Chairperson on 14 July 2000

Trevor Evans


Trevor was elected as Chairperson at a Special General Meeting held on 6 September 2000 and in view of his imminent retirement stepped down at the 2002 AGM held on 6 March 2002.

Trevor stepped into the breach at a critical junction of SADIBA’s history.  The association had to fundamentally reorganise in order to meet the work outputs demanded by the establishment of the Digital Broadcasting Advisory Body.  The activities were to move away from the Executive Committee and into smaller Task Groups. A Steering Group was established to co-ordinate the activities in the Task Groups and to assist the Executive Committee with guiding activities of the association.


  • Establishment of SADIBA Web-site
  • Demonstration of DAB and DTT at CBA (Commonwealth Broadcasters Association) conference held in October 2000 in Cape Town
  • Restructuring of SADIBA Establishment of SG
  • Increased activity and output from Task Groups
  • SADIBA workshop 2001 with international delegates from WorldDAB, DigiTag and others
  • Preparation and submission of SADIBA Recommendations on Digital Broadcasting in South Africa

SADIBA Chairperson (2002) Mr Carl Ferreira congratulating Mr Evans on a job well done.