The Democratic Alliance (DA) Youth on Monday launched a #Data4All movement and called on government to intervene in making this notion in South Africa possible, particularly for impoverished students.
The DA Youth launched its national campaign at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, on Monday. Many in South Africa would argue that data prices are staggering, with 1GB costing the average consumer around R150 – R160. The reality for many youth is that buying data is a challenge, quite simply because it is expensive.
The question which arises — is that in a world which is constantly evolving with the use of modern technology — how do the poor keep up when access to the internet is seen as a luxury? The DA Youth are calling for poor students, matric learners at government schools and registered job seekers to receive 500 MB of data per month for free.
DA Youth Chairman, Yusuf Cassim, further called for the cost of data to decline by the means of releasing a mobile data spectrum and increasing competition.
“Exclusion from the internet keeps us from progressing. How can we call ourselves free? Data is more than a right, it is a necessity,” said Cassim.
Speaking at the launch, DA student leader, Samantha Beynon, said that poor students were forced to travel if they wanted to access the internet.
“Why were the NMU students in a computer lab at night? It’s because they don’t have access to data. So many students are forced to travel just so that they can access the internet. The poor and the missing middle have to struggle to succeed. The system is designed to set us up for failure,” said Beynon.
Last week a 25-year-old student and her friend were violently attacked in a computer lab at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) Second Avenue Campus.
A 29-year old man allegedly raped the students, robbed them of their cellphones, and stabbed one of them with a pair of scissors. At the time the students were apparently studying in the lab. The women were then forced to take a computer and monitor, which they had to carry until they were outside the building. The attacker ordered the women to pass the loot to him before he jumped a gate and fled, police said at the time.
He was arrested last week while apparently trying to sell the equipment in Govan Mbeki Avenue.