Using or supplying SIM cards that haven’t been “RICA’d” correctly is illegal and people doing so will be prosecuted.
That’s according to the Department of Communications, which has released a “post-RICA” statement reporting on how the RICA process was carried out, and what loose ends remain to be tidied away.
The department explains that, from 1 July 2011 no SIM card may be used unless it has been ‘RICA’d’ in terms of the Regulation of Interception or Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA).
Not complying is criminalised in terms of the law, with mobile networks being liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding R100 000.00 for each day on which such failure to comply continues. Individuals could be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding R60 000.00 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months.
“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,” the department states. “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 referred to.
“It would seem that in some instances persons have bought large quantities of SIM-cards which are ‘RICA'd’ in their own names. These individuals then sell these SIM cards without complying with section 40(5) 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.”
By the cut-off time of midnight on 30 June, Cell C reports that 99,99% of its contract subscriber and 97% of its pre-paid users were compliant; Mtn had 99,5% of contracts and 97% of prepaid users registered; and Vodacom had 98,98% of contracts and 95,12% of pre-paid users signed up.