Cellphone SIM cards to be registered

All cellphone SIM cards will have to be registered in terms of legislation that comes into effect on Wednesday.

The Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Amendment Act (Rica) aims to help law-enforcement agencies investigate and combat serious crime, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe said on Tuesday.

It would ensure that the identity and whereabouts of the owner of a SIM card who uses a cellphone in planning and executing a serious crime was known, he told a media briefing at Parliament.

Cellphone service providers would, from July 1, be prohibited from activating a new SIM card unless they had captured the customer’s cellphone number, full names, identity number and address, and verified the information.

In a joint statement later on Tuesday, MTN, Cell C and Vodacom said all cellphone subscribers, both pre-paid and contract, would be required to show proof of identity as well as present a utility bill to show proof of residence to be registered.

Customers would have 18 months from implementation date to register both their pre-paid and contract SIM cards.

Subscribers failing to comply within the specified time period would have their cards deactivated.

Proof of identity when registering should be provided by a green bar-coded ID document, an ID card, temporary ID certificate, or passport.

Proof of physical address would be by means of any document that included one’s name and residential address, such as a bank statement, municipal rates, cellphone or retail account not older than three months, existing lease, rental or credit agreement, insurance policy, current TV or motor vehicle licence.

Those in an informal residence should provide the address of a school or church closest to the area in which they lived.

Registration should be done in person.

Cell C customers could register at all Cell C franchise stores or at stores where they saw a Rica sign, MTN customers at all MTN’s services centres across the country, and Vodacom customers at any Vodacom outlet.

All information would be kept confidential in a secure database. — Sapa

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