High Court judge Justice David Mangota has granted a provisional order against telecommunications giant Econet Wireless Zimbabwe to stop sending COVID-19 alert messages to a subscriber, Harare lawyer Sikhumbuzo Moyo.
Moyo had filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking to block Econet from sending the messages through his mobile phone, saying the messages irritated him and violated his constitutional rights. Moyo had said:
Despite my attempt to avoid mental torment, Econet slides in my messages and makes sure every day is a day of reflection on the death and possible deaths around the subject.
On January 8, I started receiving messages from unknown numbers. I don’t have this contact in my contacts list; it appears on its messages as COVID-19ZIM.
There is no option to stop receipt of these messages as would be with other contacts.
In his ruling, Justice Mangota said Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s failure to stop sending unsolicited messages to Moyo violated his constitutional right to free association. Said Justice Mangota:
It is declared that respondent’s action insofar as continued communication was made to the applicant of traumatising information, violated section 53 and section 57 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Amendment No 20 of 2013).
It is declared that the action of the respondent in unilaterally supplying applicant’s details to a service platform and or third party for transmission of information unrelated to service provision and transmission of uninvited information is a violation of the contractual relationship between the parties.