Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security minister Supa Mandiwanzira has disclosed that his ministry has started stepping up consumer rights awareness campaigns throughout the country to protect citizens from being taken advantage of by service providers, particularly in the telecommunications industry.
By Kenneth Nyangani
Speaking on the sidelines of a Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) campaign at Nyamhuka Primary School in Nyanga at the weekend, Mandiwanzira said they had noticed the existence of a rights awareness gap after the country’s mobile network penetration rose to over 95%.
“It is now common cause that ICTs are increasingly getting widespread. The amount of people using them is increasing. Mobile network penetration has increased to over 95%. Unfortunately, the people who are using them do not understand their rights,” he said.
Mandiwanzira said service providers had not been effectively educating their clients on their rights and government was stepping in to address the gap.
“We realised, as a ministry, that a lot of services providers had not been giving this area enough attention,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of Potraz to make people aware of their rights.”
Mandiwanzira said most people were not aware that they could raise complaints and demand compensation for loss of service as well as when their data or airtime disappears without explanation.
“They need to know what steps they need to take to seek redress,” he said.
On Friday, Potraz had a public address at Sakubva Beit Hall in Mutare and another in Nyanga, where it implored the public against social media abuse, especially through sexting and circulating pornographic material.
Phibion Chaibva, a Potraz official, told hundreds of people in Nyanga that sexting and circulating sexually explicit videos had ruined many lives.
“Please try to make sure that whatever you send to others will not harm someone else’s moral standing or their lives. We should use internet services responsibly,” he said.