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Address by hon Gijimani Skosana (ANC) MP, debate on the Cybercrimes Bill in the National Assembly

27 November 2018

Honourable Speaker, from the onset, the African National Congress categorically pledges its support for this Bill. The surge of cybercrime, security breaches and cyber-attacks in the Republic of South Africa is a cause for great concern. While South Africa has various laws, which are used to address cyber offences, these do not comprehensively and uniformly criminalise conduct that is regarded internationally as cybercrime.

Speaker, driven by the duty to protect this country and its people, the glorious movement of Mama Nontsikelelo Albertina Sisulu and Tata Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela resolved in the 54th National Conference that:

"There is a need to strengthen capability for cybersecurity to enhance protection of critical databases, systems and critical infrastructure resources, including protecting society against fake news, cybercrime, cyber-attacks and hacking."

A proposal to conduct research and draft a bill which would assist addressing the problem of cybercrime was conceptualised. The end product of the study culminated with a draft bill called the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill.

Concerns regarding the balance between individual freedoms of expression and the right to privacy have been raised and were taken into account. The fundamental issue of the state's duty in securing cyberspace remains legitimate. Considering the issues raised, particularly in regard to cyber security which were delaying in the finalisation of the Bill, the cybersecurity aspect was removed from the Bill. The rationale for this move was the urgent need for the Bill.

Speaker, cybercrime affects us all. With high levels of internet connectivity in our country, the rapid technological advance and the borderless platform in which cybercrime takes place, makes this bill very important. The reality is, we are not immune from cyber-attacks.

Cybercrime affects the peace, stability and economy of a country. Recently, researchers at the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that executives in Europe and advanced economies identified cyberattacks as the leading risk to business. Surely there is a need to curb this risk, especially in our pursuit for higher levels of economic growth and investment.

In October 2018, Pakistan witnessed another cyberattack on its banking system. This recent cyber-attack is the third major security breach in the country and second major on banking industry over the last 10 months. Careem app and Habib Bank Limited were the victims of such cyberattack earlier. Reports of this major cyber security breach shook up the local banking industry, with the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) cyber-crime chief saying "almost all major Pakistani banks" have been affected.

Cyber security experts said details of more than 19,000 debit cards from 22 Pakistani banks had been stolen in the cyber theft, the biggest of its kind to hit the country's banking system. Bank Islami issued a press release on 28 October this year announcing that they had become the victim of a cybercrime attack . We do not wish this for our beloved South Africa.

Speaker, the cybercrimes Bill is in line with international standards and creates offences for internet-related crime. As we address the issue of individual rights, we remember the words of former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson in the case of S vs Makwanayne wherein he said:

"The limitation of constitutional rights for a purpose that is reasonable and necessary in a democratic society involves the weighing up of competing values, and ultimately an assessment based on proportionality."

Indeed, no right is absolute.

With the advancement of technology, a large portion of the community which is negatively affected are the elderly and the illiterate; with email and sms's scams seemingly legit, everyone is at risk. The masses who happen to use bank cards are also at risk. This bill protects all - our government, its departments, business and individuals.

As the governing party, the only party which cares about the security of this country and its people; as the only party capable of protecting this country, we support this Bill.

Hon members I thank you.

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