Tuesday, July 25, 2017

NEHAWU Welcomes Planned Market Inquiry Into Data Costs in the Country
22 July 2017

The National Education Health & Allied Workers’ Union [NEHAWU] welcomes the planned market enquiry into the state of competition in the data market. The Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, is establishing the enquiry and its terms of reference must be in place by the 1stSeptember 2017.

South African data costs are amongst the highest in the world and this does not bode well for the working class and the poor. The exorbitant fees needed to communicate disadvantages almost the entire population more especially workers and the youth. Learners in high school and university students struggle to access the internet for school work because of the current prices of data.

In an age where everything is almost digital, job seekers are hugely affected when they have to apply for positions. This also does not bode well for the growth of our economy and directly adds into the number of people who are unemployed. If our country is serious about growing the economy then issues of data costs and the cost to communicate must be looked into, as a matter of urgency.

We hope that the investigation by the competition commission into data costs will reveal those who are responsible for overcharging for data costs. We also hope that the commission will leave no stone unturned in harshly prosecuting those who are responsible. We urge our government to ensure that a research is conducted into how data costs can be reduced and put measures in place to safeguard our rights as citizen to communicate with each other and at reasonable prices.

As NEHAWU, we will watch this process very closely and see to it that yields results. Last year, our parliament asked network operators to low data costs and threatened them should they fail to do so. Months down the line data costs are still high and as NEHAWU, we say the time of empty rhetoric must come to an end and our government must act on behalf of its people to lower the prices to enable citizens to communicate amongst themselves.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat

Zola Saphetha (General Secretary) at 082 558 5968;

December Mavuso (Deputy General Secretary) at 082 558 5969

Khaya Xaba (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 082 455 2500

email: khaya@nehawu.org.za

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