South Africa saw many cool and crazy developments in the technology arena – here is the best offbeat news of the year.
This year saw many exciting developments in the technology and telecommunications market, which included high-profile deals and broadband price cuts.
However, it was not always announcements by large tech companies that grabbed the headlines.
Some offbeat stories, like a person who erected a banner because of poor cellular service levels, earned a lot of attention.
Here are some of the cool and crazy stories which hit the front page over the last twelve months.
An angry Vodacom customer erects banners to voice his unhappiness
In May 2015, an angry Vodacom customer from Fochville put up three banners in a bid to draw attention to the mobile operator’s poor signal in the area.
Vodacom apologised to the person, and even covered the cost of the banners.
MyBroadband TV launched on 1 April 2015
MyBroadband pranked its readers on 1 April by announcing that it was launching a DStv competitor. MultiChoice welcomed MyBroadband to the South African pay-TV market.
The ANC march against Eskom, a company it controls
In May 2015, the ANC had a mass march to highlight issues Soweto residents had with Eskom. Considering that Eskom is a company under the ANC Government’s control, it was basically marching against itself.
SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng remains in his job, because he was “born to lead”
SABC COO Hlaudi Motsoeneng survived everything thrown at him, including adverse court rulings, and remains employed by the broadcaster. The reason why he cannot be stopped, Motsoeneng explained, is because he was born to lead.
Super cellphone spying machine in South Africa used to rig government tenders
This year the Hawks arrested two men and confiscated a machine nicknamed The Grabber.
It is used for cellphone tapping, cellphone tracking, and as a cellular locator, and is reportedly worth over R25 million. According to The Sunday Independent, the spying machine was used to rig tenders and gain information on people in powerful positions.
Prasa wants its money back for unsuitable Afro 4000 trains
Not long after former Prasa CEO Lucky Montana showed just how great their new Afro 4000 trains were, he was fired, along with the head of engineering Daniel Mthimkhulu.
Prasa now wants it money back for the Afro 4000 trains, which are not suitable for local conditions.
Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko cleared of allegations of cloning his number plates
In September, the charges against Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko of driving a car with falsified number plates were dropped.
This followed a report in July 2014 that Maseko was at the centre of a JMPD investigation into a car licence cloning scandal, where he stood accused of “running up about R30,000 in traffic fines – to be paid by another driver”.