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Wed Sep 28 05:27:45 SAST 2016

EFF throws its weight behind #DataMustFall campaign

Ernest Mabuza | 15 September, 2016 17:49
EFF members. File photo.
Image by: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Mary-Ann Palmer

The Economic Freedom Fighters has called on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to order mobile telephone operators to lower their tariffs with immediate effect.

The EFF on Thursday announced its support of the #DataMustFall campaign initiated by radio personality TBo Touch to hold mobile telephone operators accountable on the high cost of data in this country.

Tbo Touch this week waged war against local networks when he initiated the social media campaign‚ saying the high data costs were a “complete rip-off”.

Tbo Touch also gave the networks 30 days to make a change and also called on the chairman of Icasa to intervene.

EFF spokesman Fana Mokoena warned the mobile operators to meet the 30 days deadline set by the #DataMustFall campaign or “face the might of our people”.

“The EFF will join with its full force the masses who will take action against these enemies of our economic emancipation‚” Mokoena said.

Research conducted by the South African Institute of Race Relations revealed that South Africans were paying a lot of money for slow connection speeds.

Mokoena said the EFF’s National People’s Assembly held in Mangaung in 2014 noted that the high cost of communications in South Africa was impeding the economic emancipation of South Africans.

He said South Africa had the most resources in the ICT sector and its mobile telephony operators were ranked some of the best in Africa and the world.

“Yet with impunity‚ these service providers are robbing South Africans in broad daylight at the expense of much needed information dissemination and development in general.”

Mokoena said South African cellular companies had infiltrated the African market successfully‚ but because of political will‚ other countries in Africa were not allowing them to abuse their people like they did South Africans.

“MTN is a South African company which does business in Nigeria and Kenya. Their tariffs are cheaper in those two countries than they are in South Africa.

“Vodacom is a South African company with tentacles in Kenya but their tariffs are cheaper in Kenya than in South Africa.”

Mokoena said pay-as-you-go data‚ which was largely used by the poorest of the poor‚ was more expensive than contract tariffs which were subscribed to by high-end customers .

“These companies clearly do not have the interests of South Africans at heart‚ especially the poor masses who could benefit greatly from dissemination of information in health‚ education and economic matters.”

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