On Thursday, the final draft of the Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill was presented to media during a briefing by the Justice and Constitutional Development Department. The bill, which has been approved by Cabinet, now awaits Parliamentary approval, after which it will become law. The bill places an obligation on government to investigate and tackle cybercrime.
Speaking to VOC’s Breakfast Beat, deputy minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Minister John Jeffery, explains that given the fact that there are existing cyber-crimes, the bill will allow for cyber law to be contained in one piece of legislation and will look at issues relating to the investigation of cybercrime, inclusive of the jurisdiction of courts.
“Our courts have jurisdiction in most cases if you commit the crime in South Africa. But, obviously with cyber-crime it’s a lot more complex; you can find something in one country, make use of another’s systems, and affect the crime in a third country,” Jeffery stated.
In addition, the bill will include the establishment of new government structures directed toward monitoring the implementation of cyber-crime policy and will provide for critical information infrastructure.
The bill having garnered much criticism, Jeffery notes was published for public comment in 2015, after which a reference group, inclusive of multi-skilled individuals, to assist advisers on the redrafting of the bill.
“The controversy really has been [that] some have seen [the bill] as an attempt by government to control the internet and increase its ability to conduct surveillance of the internet – but that is not what the bill is about,” he added.
Jeffery confirmed that the bill will deal with laws pertaining to both child and other forms of pornography that surface on the internet.
“[While] pornography is depictions of sexual activity, the bill also does provide for ‘revenge porn’ – the distribution of nude pictures on the internet that is very harmful to that person,” he continued.
He encourages anyone who is interest in the bill to read the document and participate when the parliamentary public participation process kicks off.