It’s high time that the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) investigates the free distribution of Sim cards at taxi ranks, train stations and in malls by people purporting to be agents of the cell network operators.

The strange thing is that these so-called agents have no proof of identification. This practice is especially rife in townships and city centres, where unsuspecting folks are targeted.

What’s more worrying is that these Sim cards are distributed without the prospective subscribers being preregistered. The practice violates the law that seeks to counter crimes committed with the use of unregistered Sim cards.

It’s safe to say that both Icasa and network operators are sleeping on the job. They allow Sim cards to be issued without the subscriber’s particulars validated, as required by law.

With risks rising in unauthorised debit orders and credit card scams due to criminals going digital, network operators need to be fined for this malpractice.

It’s common knowledge that criminals can easily commit crimes with unregistered Sim cards using another person’s identification. This poses a risk to national security, given that there are undocumented people living in SA.

I had a horrifying experience in which someone was using my lapsed contract cellphone number as his daytime contact for fraudulent purposes. This serial offender managed to acquire a credit card from FNB. The bank couldn’t locate a copy of the agreement concluded between parties, despite a diligent search being carried out.

It’s a sad indictment of wickedness in society. At the heart of this is the weakness of the rule of law, which allows for impunity.

Morgan Phaahla

Ekurhuleni

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