In South Africa, everything must fall.
From #ZumaMustFall, #RhodesMustFall to #FeeMustFall, now #DataMustFall, hashtag has been trending on social media for the past two weeks in South Africa.
The ongoing #DataMustFall campaign in South Africa has one aim: to reduce internet services charges by telecommunications providers in the country many argued. Others disagreed, saying it might have some political motives.
The hashtag #DataMustFall has been trending nationwide on social media since it was launched on Thursday 15, September, 2016.
Part of the data must fall campaign focuses on how much data costs in other countries in comparison to South Africa. Report shows that 1GB of data costs R22 in Nigeria, R32 in Namibia—while it costs R150 in South Africa
Thabo Molefe, who started the campaign, says that a drop in prices would enable students to access online materials useful to their studies.
"Young people should be able to enjoy the benefits of e-learning by downloading textbooks online or catching up on a lecture on YouTube, but they can't do that because everything revolves around data and Wi-Fi," he tweeted.
He appealed to cellular providers to lower their costs within 30 days or he would move to the network provider that did make a change.
#DataMustFall: political motive?
In the wake of the campaign, many are speculating a likely political motive attached to the campaign. This is because the ongoing campaign started on the heel of some recently held campaigns in the country.
For instance, the #RhodesMustFall campaign- a call to topple a statue of colonialist Cecil Rhodes as well as #ZumaMustFall- a campaign against President Jacob Zuma were recently carried out in the country. To this end, some said this might be another example of the past campaigns.
The Telecom providers’ versus EFF's drama
A new twist to the campaign is the possibility of a clash between Telecom service providers and the Economic Freedom Fighters in the country if the internet service charge is not reduced. The body alongside other local unions in the country have called on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to order mobile telephone operators to lower their tariffs with immediate effect.
The parliamentary committee for telecommunications has decided to hold public hearings over the cost of high-speed internet following the outcry.
Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe on Thursday announced that he had been invited to address the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services about high cost of broadband in South Africa next week.
“History in the making, Parliament ICT committee has invited me to speak next week Thursday! Our government is listening,” Molefe tweeted on Thursday
A Measuring the Information Society Report, ITU (2015) released said around three in 10 people in Africa have access to the internet.
The report said Africa lags behind average global internet penetration, which is just under 50%.
It added that South African internet costs are low compared to the rest of Africa. It’s 66th in global ranking.