Gvt warns non-compliant subscribers

South Africa’s government this week issued a stern warning to illegal simcard traders amid reports some undocumented Zimbabweans were buying such items from them and in the process failing to comply with the newly-effected Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act (Rica).

Last week, government introduced Rica, a new legislation that prompts mobile phone users to register their simcards with the country’s four cellular network providers.

Failure to comply resulted in thousands of subscribers being cut off.

To register, subscribers have to provide proof of address and identity cards or passports. Zimbabwean nationals that had not secured such documents from their country’s Home Affairs were the hardest hit.

It however emerged these were illegally registering with illegal officials without providing such documents or buying pre-registered simcards thereby breaking the law.

Department of Communications spokesperson, Tiyani Rikhotso warned against such practices.

“It has been brought to our attention that some members of the public in certain areas have been able to buy SIM-cards without complying with section 40 of the RICA Act. We understand that these occurrences, however, seem to be limited to a small number of traders who either knowingly or possibly unknowingly contravene the provisions of the RICA Act referred to above,” he told The Zimbabwean in Johannesburg.

Rikhotso warned of stiff penalties.

“Section 51(3A) criminalises non-compliance with section 40. An MCO who fails to comply with section 40(1), (2), (3) or (6) is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding R100 000 for each day on which such failure to comply continues. In terms of section 51 (3B) a person who fails to comply with section 40(5) is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine (not exceeding R60 000) or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.”

Rikhotso added individuals caught selling simcards registered in their names would also be dealt with.

“These persons, in doing so, commit an offence and can and will be prosecuted. They undermine the legislation and jeopardise its aim and objects. The SIM-cards in question can be traced back to them and they will have to face the consequences of their actions.”

Thousands of Zimbabweans failed to beat the deadline to register with the Rica after Home Affairs failed to issue them passports ahead of the deadline.

Post published in: Africa News

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