RICA violations will be punished
Government has welcomed the final number of RICA registrations – but warned that anyone who violates the Act will be prosecuted.
Speaking during a briefing earlier this morning, the Department of Communications (DOC) and Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJCD) welcomed final registrations for the Regulation of Interception and Communications Act (RICA).
On 30 June, Cell C reported it had registered 99.99% of contract customers, while 97% of prepaid subscribers were registered. MTN had 99.5% of contract subscribers registered and 97% of prepaid subscribers had complied.
Vodacom recorded 98.98% contract subscriber registrations and 95.2% of prepaid subscribers had complied.
“Government would like to thank all South Africans for heeding the call to have their SIM cards registered by the deadline of the 30th of June 2011.”
“The need for South Africans to RICA is part of our efforts to ensure that we promote an increase in mobile and data usage, whilst at the same time guarding against the abuse of our telecommunications infrastructure in planning and executing crime,” stated the DOC and DOJCD in a joint statement.
The departments noted that the RICA Act, like any other laws, was susceptible to criminals. The only remedy, would be to ensure compliance and impose penalties for any contraventions.
“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.”
According to Section 40 of the RICA Act, the selling of activated SIM cards without following correct RICA procedures is considered a crime.
While mobile operators have implemented various measures to ensure that SIM cards are not and cannot be activated unless they have been registered according to the Act, the department says it has been alerted to several violations.
“It would seem that in some instances persons have bought large quantities of SIM-cards which are “RICA’ed” in their own names. These individuals then sell these SIM-cards without complying with section 40 of the RICA Act. 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,” says government.
According to the Act, any mobile operator that fails to comply with section 40 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.
Any person who fails to comply with section 40 will also be found 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.
“The law will take its course and prosecutions will surely ensue,” says government.