10 million South Africans may go offline


ABOUT 10 million South Africans connected to SA’s four mobile networks may be switched off on 1 July 2011, due to unregistered sim cards. As the RICA deadline looms, a majority of the population’s  personal details have not been registered by the network providers.

According to the government’s Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (RICA), all mobile phone users in the country must be registered in order to continue using the mobile network. The main reason for the RICA implementation is to reduce mobile phone related crime.

Vodacom Executive Head of Media Relations, Richard Boorman, says his network provider has spent millions of Rands on the registration drive through advertisements in newspapers, television and radio.

“As of the end of March, we’d already RICA’d about 85% of our 26.5 million SA customers, which means that about 4 million were still to RICA at that point.  We’ll be below 4 million now,” says Boorman.

Cell C Spokesperson, Sean van der Westhuizen, says any sim card which is not registered will be barred come July 1, 2011.

There’s less than 24 days left before the June 30 government set deadline. The leading mobile companies comprising of Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and 8.ta are reminding customers to register their sim cards before the cut off date.

“We cannot stress the importance enough to all customers to ensure they RICA.

“It is important to note that any sim card that has not been RICA will be barred from making or receiving any form of communication, however contract customers will still be liable for their contracts,” says Sean van der Westhuizen.

By: Savious Kwinika – Senior ICT Journalist