The incentives offered to SIM distributors are one of the causes of the perceived failure in the card registration system under the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) which is intended to enable law enforcement to trace phones used in crimes back to individual users.

“The commercials drive a lot of the behaviours,” one whistle-blower claims. “The SIM distributors get a fee for every SIM card activated, and ongoing revenue for airtime loaded for the life cycle of those cards. It cascades down to the individual shop; everyone gets a piece of the pie and that’s where a multibillion-rand ecosystem has been forged for the last 20-30 years.”..

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