Data costs throttle SA

Radio personalities Thabo "Tbo Touch" Molefe and business partner Gareth Cliff have taken their fight against high data costs to parliament, where they pleaded with MPs to support their call.

Molefe described current data pricing as "daylight robbery" and wants network companies to be held accountable for the high cost of data in South Africa. Molefe was speaking yesterday during public hearings held by the telecommunications and postal services portfolio committee on the high cost of communicating in the country. Molefe set Twitter abuzz last week with his #datamustfall campaign. Molefe and Cliff said high data costs were inhibiting the growth of their business venture. "It's an honour for this house to recognise our cause. These are some of challenges that SMMEs are faced with. "This is also to voice the cries of students out there. Data is as essential as food, shelter and clothing," said Molefe. University of the Western Cape SRC president Lukhanyiso Matebese said high data costs prevented students from conducting proper research for their studies. "Your whole life as a student at UWC, if you do not have data it comes to a standstill. With the rape culture it's not safe to access the library at night," said Matebese. Joe Mjwara, acting director-general of the telecommunications and postal services department, said cell-phone companies charged less for voice calls and text messages and charged more for data to "maintain profit margins".