Govt warns on fraudulent SIM cards

2011-07-05 12:38
Johannesburg - Cellphone users should not be tempted to buy pre-registered SIM cards from traders because they contravene Rica legislation, the department of communications warned on Tuesday.

"It's illegal to buy any SIM card and get connected on any network without being requested to produce the required documentation, which is the proof of residence and identity document," said spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso.

"To my knowledge, no criminal case has been opened so far," he said, adding that the department had learned of the crime through the media.

Newspapers have reported that traders in Sunnyside and Arcadia, in Tshwane, were selling pre-registered SIM cards for about R20 a card.

Wrinkle in the Rica Act

These allowed cellphone owners to bypass the registration process which required documentation.

"The people selling the SIMs are people who are hellbent on breaking the law to make a profit," said Rikhotso.

He said residents should report the crime to the police so the perpetrators could be pursued.

Service provider Vodacom said there was a "wrinkle" in the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) process, as people were registering multiple SIM cards.

"The registration of multiple SIMs is allowed, as many people use multiple mobile devices," said spokesperson Richard Boorman.

"We have no way to know what happens to the movement of SIMs between customers once they are registered."

800 000 Vodacom customers not Rica'd

Vodacom said it did not condone the sale of pre-registered SIM cards.

"Our responsibility is to ensure that SIM cards are registered according to the Rica Act, which involves confirming in person the [identity document] and address of the customer registering the SIM(s)," said Boorman.

"Any infringement of the Rica Act, such as reselling SIMs registered to other people, is a matter for the police," Cell C agreed.

By Tuesday morning, about 800 000 Vodacom customers had still not Rica'd and their SIM cards were disconnected.

Three percent of Cell C prepaid customers and 0.01% of its contract customers had not registered.

All of 8ta's customers had registered.

MTN spokesperson Bridget Bhengu was not immediately available for comment.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    mtn  |  cell c  |  vodacom  |  cellphones
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

De Allende's star burns bright
Boks were 'in a dark space'
Pacific island teams singled out for rough tactics?
Ireland favourites but France bullish
Traffic Alerts

It is always easier to notice the faults in others rather than face our own. Focusing too much on the perfect and ideal more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.