In 2009 the South African government announced that RICA (the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act) would be implemented. This requires that everyone with an active cell phone number or everyone who purchased a new Prepaid Starter Pack to register / RICA their SIM cards. All current and new contract, top-up and prepaid customers were required to register their SIM cards. Subscribers who had activated their cellphone numbers before the 1st of July 2009 had to register their personal details against that cellphone number / SIM card in order to comply with this act. An 18 month deadline was set for 31 December 2010, which was later extended to tomorrow, the 30th of June 2011.
If your SIM card is not RICA-ed you better get your behind into gear otherwise you could find yourself without cell phone service on the 1st of July. It has also come to light that RICA may affect intercom systems, electronic gates and home security systems which work with SIM cards. These SIM cards also have to be RICA-ed.
To check your cell phone number’s RICA status you can make use of the following methods:
- Vodacom subscribers can send the word RICA to 31050 from the number being checked. This is a free SMS for Vodacom users. Vodacom also offers a web-based method for verifying your RICA status. Visit the Vodacom website, click on login in the top right and log in, click on the My Vodacom tab, click on ‘RICA status’ on left hand side of screen under ‘Account info’
- MTN subscribers can dial *131*4# to check their RICA status or use MTN’s online form. Go to the MTN website, type in your phone number and click ‘Check’.
- If you’re on Cell C, you can check the SIM card’s RICA status by dialing *133*RICA# (*133*7422#).
- Virgin Mobile will send an SMS containing RICA status if customers dial *124# from the SIM they’re checking for.
- Since Telkom’s Mobile network 8ta was launched after RICA was implemented, customers with access to their 8ta service may safely assume that they’ve been RICAed.
For those of you who still have to RICA your SIM cards, good luck. And don’t fear, the process is actually quite swift. Just make sure that you have your ID document and proof of residence handy when you’re RICA-ing your SIM card at one of South Africa’s many cell phone outlets.
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