Tourists buying sim cards for mobile phone handsets

edited July 2010 in - Southern Africa
I have just been informed that the law in S.Sfrica has changed and a tourist cannot just buy a pay-as-you-go sim card for their mobile handset from a shop etc. They have to have a letter of authority,possibly even from the local police dept.
Is this true?
If not,where is the best place to buy a sim card in Cape Town?


  • edited 11:37PM
    This is true, thanks to new RICA law which tries to link every cell number with an identity and address. In practice RICA is not enforced very diligently though and you can still buy a PayGo sim quite easily from street vendors and cafes. If asked, all you need is ID/passport and possibly some evidence of a local address.
  • edited 11:37PM
    The law has changed to ensure all cell phone users are RICA registered. This is really to assist police when it comes to investigating crimes and need to have access to cell phone records etc.
    The best place to buy a South African SIM card would be at the airport when you arrive from providers such as MTN or Vodacom. On purchasie of the SIM card, they will register your details and then you are set.
  • edited 11:37PM
    Thank you,David F., and Kate!
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