IFP Welcomes Cell Cost Cuts,
But Companies Still Cashing in on Money Meant for NGOs

08 October 2013    


The IFP has welcomed the proposed reductions in mobile voice calls after the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) said it would lower the mobile termination rate (MTR) to 10c by 2016.


The IFP has on numerous occasions decried South Africa's high costs to communicate, which include some of the highest cell phone costs in the world.  We also act in support of NGOs, which provide vital services on behalf of Government.


The IFP was therefore shocked to learn of the massive profit margins that big cell phone companies are making from many commendable projects that are being spearheaded by NGOs.


The IFP's research has shown, for example, that for non-profit projects like 12hours - in this case an organisation focused on saving the rhino cellular networks keep as much as 56% of public donations obtained through short-code SMS's.


This is daylight robbery, considering the many noble causes that use the short-code SMSs, and that an SMS costs the networks virtually nothing.


Is it not perhaps time for big business to consider paying more than just lip service to reducing our cost to communicate and our cost to contribute?


In the interest of many struggling NGOs, who fight on a daily basis to better the lives of ordinary South Africans, and who fight, for example, for causes such as the survival of our rhino, the IFP calls on cell phone companies to stop profiteering excessively from cash-strapped NGOs, and to consider different "rates" for business versus non-profit and fundraising causes.


We see no reason why this cannot be done.



Liezl van der Merwe MP 

Spokesperson on Communications, and on Women, Children and People with Disabilities

082 729 2510.