The United Democratic Movement Youth Vanguard reiterates its call for complete data must fall. Access to Internet is a basic Human Right equivalent and in line with the United Nations declaration 2.8 Freedom of Expression, 2.14 Freedom of Trade, Occupation and Profession, 2.21 Education, 2.24 Access to Information, etc. Access to Internet means e-commerce, e-business/e-trading, e-marketing, e-health, e-learning & e-training, e-government, etc. and citizens, especially, youth are currently confined with the high data tariffs.

The fact that no new spectrum has been allocated in over 15 years is problematic, then delays in digital migration and allocation of 4G and 5G spectrum have curbed the pace at which data must fall.

We made this call not for the first time at the 2020 Youth Parliament in June and also at the 2020 Youth Parliament interactive session with the executive(Ministers). UDMYV called on the deputy minister of communication Pinky Kekana to fast track the release of a high demand spectrum as it is the biggest obstacle impending data reduction.

For instance, we have seen a remarkable need to internet access during this pandemic. The world of work and business has changed dramatically over the last 25  months and thereby changing people perspective and mindsets. Artificial intelligence is the future and for our young people to fully function in the much talked about Fourth Industrial revolution they have to have free solid access to internet.

UDMYV notes the reduction of the Vodacom 1GB 30-day data bundle as a move towards the right direction. However, reduction of 1GB is not enough when the real elephant in the house has not been addressed. The adhoc data or pay as you go data is the most expensive data a person can buy as it is charged on the ceiling price of data per megabyte and if an operate slashes prices but still remains the ceiling prices then the poor of the poorest will purchase data every now and then, this would mean that they still spend more on buying data and nothing has changed.

Majority of people complain about the speed at which data is chowed by network operators and the explanation is on the ceiling price. Network providers needs to do a breakdown for young South Africans on how they have addressed this concerning matter of expensive data.

UDMYV warns young South Africans to not get excited over cheap data whereas they will be required to buy it every 2 to 3days because it is depleted. We must challenge network operators not to blind fold us behind what they term cheap whilst in an actual fact it’s expensive dressed in cheap cloth.

We call on Young people to be a pressure group to government and network operators until the realisation of Data Must fall in our lifetime.

Issued by:

Mr Yongama Zigebe

UDM Youth Vanguard