Cyber Crimes Bill – Is SA Really a Safe Haven for Cyber Criminals?

27 Jun

Cyber Crime has been of concern in South Africa for quite some time. In fact, for far too long, the country seemed to simply ignore it. There was no real recourse.

In May 2019, at the IT Web Security Summit held in Johannesburg, it was noted that South Africa had become a safe haven for cybercriminals due to the apparent lack of legislation that addresses cyber-crime.

Industry professionals are pushing for the Cyber Crimes Bill to be adopted to keep all South African’s safe from the evils of cybercriminals, but that’s not the only reason why our country needs such legislation. The future of the country’s economic growth depends on it too.

Living in a Digital Age

At work, at home, at leisure – everywhere you turn, people are on their mobile devices using online systems and connecting via public networks, most of which are unprotected. If the country is to attract foreign investors, when they are not protected legally from the threat of cyber-crime, there needs to be some accountability.

Why does SA not have an active Cyber Crimes Bill?

It is not surprising to hear that South Africa is lagging behind the rest of the world when you consider that the Department of Justice only initiated the process for setting in place the specifications for the Cyber Crimes Bill in South Africa in 2015.

The proposed Bill has since received considerable backlash and been through numerous reiterations and drafts, but finally, in October of 2018, the Bill was tabled. The National Assembly passed the Cyber Crimes Bill in November 2018, and it now sits with the National Council of Provinces for agreement before being signed off by our President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has already vowed to establish a digital industrial revolution commission.

The hope is that there are no further setbacks or amendments to the draft Bill and that it is accepted as it stands. Until such time, South Africa has no real formative legislation or recourse to fight cybercrime and will remain a haven for cybercriminals.

How do you feel about the Cyber Crimes Bill? Do you think it has value for the country or is it just one of those things that will probably never get done? Let us know your thoughts and opinions.

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