#DataMustFall makes it to Parliament

Thabo 'Tbo' Touch Molefe and Gareth Cliff have taken their #datamustfall campaign to Parliament. Photo: Instagram

Radio personality, Thabo Molefe, more popularly known as “T-Bo Touch” listed his concerns about high call and data prices in parliament today. Molefe’s submission was one of several made by interested and affected parties and organisations about the expensive cost of communication in South Africa.

Among the concerns he listed in Parliament was the high cost of data which limits the capacity of students and small business owners’ (SMMEs) access to information.

Molefe went on to add that while he does not expect data to be free, he does expect that call and data prices offered by cell phone operators will go down.

The #DataMustFall campaign began last week Tuesday after Molefe raised concerns over the high cost of data for the average consumer and posed an ultimatum to cellophane network providers to either halve their prices or lose their consumers to a cheaper alternative.

Unsurprisingly, the campaign has gained much popularity with social media, particularly Twitter as many took to Twitter to raise their plight with data and as usual, some poking fun at the campaign.

This movement has gained momentum among various unions and political organizations, including Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party.

EFF secretary general, Godrich Gardee said: “If we remove the prohibitive prices of data, the more the data market will be accessible to normal citizens.“

Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) spokesperson, Paseka Maleka said that he has hope that data prices will fall in future as there’s been a substantial decline in data prices over the past 5 years.

Qondile Khedama, head of communications at Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality said that the city of Bloemfontein has tried to help mitigate this problem with the roll out of free Wi-Fi at Hoffman Square, however, all stakeholders must come to the party, ranging from users of internet to service providers for a conclusion to be reached.

Cellphone network providers were also present in parliament today to present their case. Molefe has given cell phone network providers 30 days to respond to the ultimatum he gave last week on Twitter.

Pulane Choane/Courant News