Vodacom deregistering SIM cards

2011-08-12 12:51
Cape Town - Vodacom is deregistering SIM cards that were pre-registered for Rica (Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act, 2002) and sold to the public.

"Vodacom has identified almost one million SIMs which have been registered but not yet activated. All of these SIMs have now been deregistered. This means that these SIMs cannot be sold and used without first being registered in the new customer's name," Vodacom told News24.

Media reports following the Rica deadline found that many SIM cards were pre-registered and sold without buyers having to go through the Rica process.

Members of the public were able to buy the SIM cards without presenting any residential details or identification as prescribed by the Act. This effectively undermined the Act which seeks to ensure that each SIM card is linked to a traceable person.

Vodacom and the department of justice and constitutional development addressed the issue of fraudulent sales of SIM cards at a joint press conference.

Stamping out fraud

The mobile operator will also deregister SIM cards that have been registered, but not activated for a period of 30 days.

"The company is also checking all instances where numerous SIM cards were registered in the name of a single customer," Vodacom said.

SIM cards registered in the name of companies would be investigated and Vodacom said it would verify the details with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.

The action could potentially affect thousands of South Africans who bought the fraudulent SIM cards, but the company seems unapologetic about their deregistration programme.

"By taking these actions, we're closing down avenues that criminals could use to hide their identity.  We'll continue to engage with the relevant authorities as they implement additional measures to stamp out fraudulent activity," said Portia Maurice, Vodacom chief officer of corporate affairs.

The company said that the public can report suspected fraudulent Rica activity by calling Vodacom's forensic department at 082 111.

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