Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C took as much as 60% of SMS donations aimed at helping struggling farmers during South Africa’s devastating drought.
Western Cape, South Africa – The Rapport stated that between R8 (Vodacom) and R15 (MTN) of every R30 donated to Agri SA via SMS (for the drought crisis) was taken by the cellular operators for “administrative costs”.
Afriforum said between 40% and 60% of the money donated to their SMS campaign to help drought-ridden areas were kept by the mobile operators.
Motivational speaker Frank Teixeira started a campaign to help the farmers, but after contacting Brent Lindeque, he realised that there was a bigger problem & changed his focus to challenging the fees. Teixeira started a Facebook page to gain public support to remove the administrative cost for these campaigns.
“Last night I did not sleep. I have not cried as much as I did in the last 12 hours. Yesterday, I wrote to Brent Lindeque at Cliff Central to ask him to spread the message & assist the farmers, Brent responded immediately asking how much of the R30 goes back to the charity?
I took it upon myself to find out & was disgusted with the reality.”
Cell phone operators were capitalising on the crisis so Teixeira took it upon himself to change that… he worked tirelessly behind the scenes contacting the cellphone giants to waiver their fees.
After numerous discussions, emails & phone calls, his campaign was successful, and Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C agreed to pass on the full donation amounts in future.
We can only hope that this becomes a standard from cell phone operators whether its a crisis or a charity… big business should not be cashing in on funds that are meant to be distributed to the people that need it the most.