By Koketso Mamabolo

While the majority of sectors have been struggling to recover from setbacks caused by necessary responses to the pandemic, the mining and broadcasting sectors are two that have managed to do well. The mining sector saw stunning leaps and lockdowns contributed to more people watching television and streaming content.


The mining sector contributed 85% of the R120-million better-than-expected revenue in the first half of the 2021/2022 fiscal year. In October, production increased 2.1 % year-on-year. The biggest positive contributors to production were iron ore, platinum-group metals (PGM) and chromium ore. Coal was the biggest negative contributor to production. Overall mineral sales increased 4.8% year-on-year with the largest positive contributors being coal and iron ore at 58.5% and 28.4%, respectively.

“The leadership cooperation between the Minerals Council, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and organised labour helped the mining sector get back to work after the national lockdown at the beginning of 2020, with all the right preventative and mitigating controls in place thus saving lives and livelihoods in one of the most important economic sectors in the country,” said Roger Baxter, Minerals Council CEO.

The Minerals Council’s Chief Economist, Henk Langehoven echoed these sentiments, speaking to Mining Weekly, when reflecting on how the mining sector was impacted by COVID-19:

“Mining is doing well at the moment. There’s a very good feeling that’s developed between the companies and their employees, because of how the companies kept paying salaries and tried to keep miners safe during the height of the pandemic.”

“In many ways, we contributed to sustaining lives and livelihoods outside the industry,” added Langehoven. Even within the industry, roughly 5000 jobs were created.

“The combination of better commodity prices and the lower-than-expected contraction of global demand during the Covid-19 crisis resulted in the value of exports growing at a surprising rate, ending at an estimated 24% higher in 2020 than in 2019. This compensated for lower production and exports. Export sales by value have continued to grow during 2021, increasing by 54% year-on-year in May.”

A significant part of the export sales have been the platinum group of metals which were bolstered by an increase in global car sales, with South Africa positioned perfectly to take advantage of the demand.

Production, year-on-year, in October:

  • Chromium ore increased by 28.7%
  • PGMs rose by 24%

Sales, year-on-year, in October:

  • Coal rose by 58.5%
  • Copper rose by 28.4%


Millions of South Africans have been spending more time at home since early 2020. Lockdowns kept everyone indoors and the easing of restrictions did not make people less cautious, with many opting to stay indoors as much as possible.This has come with more hours spent watching television and more hours spent on the internet using subscription video-on-demand services (SVOD), both of which have seen surges over the past two years that point to a new era in television and video.

Sports broadcasts took on greater significance as sporting codes around the world hosted their events behind closed doors. Cinemas also closed, which saw movie viewing shift to streaming platforms and binge watching becoming an everyday part of life. Major broadcasters and content producers have had to respond, reviving old content and creating a whole host of new programming for viewers.

 Setting new standards

The start of lockdown saw record-breaking numbers in terms of average hours spent watching television, for both day and primetime hours. In terms of daytime, for three straight months (April, May and June 2020) South Africans watched an average of over 3 hours of television, surpassing all figures from over the previous two years, heights which we have not returned to since lockdown regulations were eased. In fact, between May 2018 and February 2021, the closest South Africa came to those figures was an average of 3 hours in September of 2019.

Primetime numbers tell a similar story, with April and May 2020 bucking the trend of no more than 1 hour and 19 minutes of average time spent. Notably, the public broadcaster still has the biggest pull with many of its productions, particularly those in primetime slots on SABC 1, drawing millions of viewers. Even repeat broadcasts have staggering numbers, reflective of how committed people are to their favourite programs.

Around 7.4 million households have pay-TV subscriptions as of 2021, with R27-billion in revenue generated. 

Pay-TV Subscriptions

Revenue from Pay-TV subscriptions

  • R27-billion for 2021
  • R28.8-billion by 2023

Households with Pay-TV Subscriptions

  • 7.4-million in 2021
  • 7.8-million in 2023

(Source: PwC Africa Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019 – 2023)

TV & Video revenue and consumer spending


  • R37.9-billion for 2021
  • R40.5-billion by 2023


  • R30.5-billion for 2021
  • R32.6-billion by 2023

(Sources: PwC Africa Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019 – 2023)


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