DA wants MTN Iran records made public

2012-04-04 13:06

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance will submit a request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act for access to copies of records relating to cell operator MTN's business activities in Iran.

Party MP David Maynier said on Wednesday allegations which emerged in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court of Columbia in Washington DC suggest that MTN may have undertaken to provide access to its devices, by agreeing to facilitate the installation of "eavesdropping technology" on its devices in Iran.

"I am concerned that in possibly facilitating the surveillance of the political opposition, the MTN Group [JSE:MTN] may directly or indirectly be responsible for the violation of human rights in Iran," Maynier said.

"If the MTN Group (Ltd) has nothing to hide, the company should have no problem handing over copies of the records relating to its business dealings in Iran."

Maynier said he would submit an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act for copies of all records in the possession of the MTN Group board relating to possible human rights violations in Iran, and copies of all records in the group social and ethics committee relating to Iran.

According to court papers quoted by Maynier, MTN "offered the advantage" to Iranian state-owned defence company Sairan to provide access by the Iranian ministry of defence to MTN's devices, once the company was running a private cellular network in Iran.

The access would facilitate installation of eavesdropping technology on MTN devices.

MTN claims that it "seeks to ensure that our corporate values of respect for human rights are reflected in the way we do business".

The SA Human Rights Commission said on Tuesday that it had received a request to investigate MTN for human rights violations in Iran.

MTN has been accused of facilitating the surveillance of Iranian opposition activists by allowing phones to be bugged.

Rival cellphone company Turkcell has also accused MTN of using bribery to obtain an operating licence in Iran.


  • richard.hipkin - 2012-04-04 13:20

    Why are we not hearing MTN's response, we being flooded with everyone else's opinions...

      Noa - 2012-04-04 14:58

      i am worried how is this saga going to affect ordinary S. African who bought share from mtn

      Tanie - 2012-04-04 16:07

      Another western modern slavery of slowing Africa's progress. You are correct richard, MTN have nothing to hide that is why they do not answer to crappy thoughts. As to the DA, I have always said they are nothing but an extension of the west in South Africa, they are there as evil catalysts.

  • Fred - 2012-04-04 13:30

    South Africans should cancel their contracts with MTN. It's unconscionable that a post-Apartheid South African company should be profiting from such an oppressive regime.

      Rudolf - 2012-04-04 13:44

      Business is business, if it wasn't MTN it would have been Turkcell - rather the money come to SA..

      bheki.dingiswayo - 2012-04-04 14:07

      The aim was not to support the government who you claim is oppressive but was to help the people of Iran to have a means of communication using cell phones. I think we should learn that what is perceived as oppressive by others is not actually oppressive to the "oppressed". In all business dealing the is competition and when MTN went to Iran they were not there to assess the government whether is oppressive or not but to do business. Further, people should not always believe what is from US is God and the whole truth.

      Guy - 2012-04-04 14:12

      Oppresive only because the propaganda arm of the superpower has convinced you to believe it

      Cpo - 2012-04-04 15:39

      @Fred;my friend I think you are jumping the ship if you tell people to cancel their contracts, imagine how many people will loose their jobs in the process of doing that. I think it will be wise to think before we make idiotic comments,peoples jobs are@stake here,already we are struggling with high unemployment rate,think before you post>>>

  • Alan - 2012-04-04 13:31

    It is time to boycott MTN cancel your contract with them when your 24 months is up !!

      Rudolf - 2012-04-04 13:43

      I'll wait for the outcome first, thanks... Unlike you I don't seem to have an axe to grind with MTN.

      camp.j - 2012-04-04 14:15

      Typical knee jerk reaction there Alan?

      Mzwandile - 2012-04-04 14:31

      We need to be careful here, this is information coming from a company that lost getting the licence. They were going to operate in the so called oppressive Iran, now that they didn't get the licence they do all sorts of allegation. Lets not be so obsess with anti government bashing up to a point were we just believe anything that from any jack and jill. Boycoting MTN will infact not gonna help us but we will see thousands of South African workers retrenched, and the MTN bosses leaving with millions in their pockets.

      SublimeOwl - 2012-04-04 17:52

      Alan Knott-Craig...???? Finished with VodaDOM, and now trying to shore up Cell-C...??

  • Graham - 2012-04-04 13:51

    I'm starting to think this State secrecy act might not be such a bad idea. Its just getting scary how corrupt and incompetent this government is. Depressing to hear this contiual circus on a daily basis, fumbling from one crisis to next. There arrogance is just unbelievable! How is it possible anyone can support and defend there actions?

      richard.hipkin - 2012-04-04 14:12

      So if I walked around telling everyone you a criminal should they believe it?

  • tobydt - 2012-04-04 16:21

    MTN = Scumbags

  • Mpho - 2012-04-04 21:54

    MTN is not a parastatal. DA must focus on politics.

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