Digital Content

Children who download pornography easily and cheaply on their cellphones will have their fun cut short when Vodacom makes blocking available.

This was what Alan Knott-Craig, group CEO of Vodacom, told the portfolio committee on communication in parliament on Tuesday.

Knott-Craig was one of several officers of the country's three cellphone operators, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, who made presentations to the committee on the Convergence Bill.

He said that from September Vodacom would have parental control systems available on its network to keep the downloading of pornography out of children's hands.

These systems would give parents better control with the problem.

This step would be a first in the cellphone industry worldwide, he said.

Knott-Craig emphasised that there were no regulations forcing the group to make this decision.

Dot Field, the group's corporate communication spokesperson, said Vodacom's decision had been made because they "wanted to do the right thing".

"There are no regulations that can force one to do the right thing. We are merely fulfilling our social responsibility."

Knott-Craig's comments follow complaints by several MPs in the committee about cellphone pornography that lands in young children's hands and pornographic advertisements under the "please call me" messages.

Ruben Mohlaloga, African National Congress MP, peppered the operators with questions, especially about these advertisements.

Mholaloga said that, as a young married man, he was offended by getting such advertisements underneath his personal messages.

Some of the operators apologised for this and said that these advertisements under the "please call me" messages would have to be looked at.