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

27 November 2018

Hon Speaker, considering the safety of our state, the security breaches, the great threats posed by the borderless platform of cyberspace, the vulnerability of our state, the scourge of cybercrime and the urgent need for legislation which criminalises cybercrime; the African National Congress has every reason to support this Bill.

In the 53rd National Conference, the African National Congress resolved that the National Cyber Security Policy should be in place by 2014, to prevent the distribution of harmful and anti-social content. The Conference also resolved that the National Policy should deal with the security of High-Speed Internet Networks (cyber security), to ensure information security, including the protection of vulnerable sectors of society such as children. Conference also highlighted that a national cyber security policy is needed without delay.

In September 2015, the Minister of State Security signed the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework for South Africa which was gazetted in December 2015.Having considered the state of South Africa's peace and stability, the ANC 54th National Conference identified challenges to our state of stability which include, but not limited to:

  • the well-being and safety of our people;
  • Information and cyber

The ANC resolved that there's 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. The ANC further resolved to strengthen cyber-crime counter measures across the criminal justice system value chain.

The Bill is essentially in line with cybercrime legislation of various countries. It is in line with the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and Common Wealth Model Law on Computer Crime and Cyber Crime.

The Bill criminalises cyber-facilitated offences by means of the offences of fraud, forgery, uttering and extortion, which are prevalent in the cyber-environment. The Bill addresses issues such as malicious communications. It criminalises a data message which incites the causing of any damage to property belonging to, or violence against a person or group of persons which is harmful or intimate in nature, and which is distributed without consent of the person involved (ie: revenge pornography).

Speaker, considering the fact that many acts of cybercrime are committed in cyberspace, the Bill substantially expands the jurisdiction to address those crimes which are committed outside of the borders of the country. The Bill also facilitates procedures which will facilitate mutual assistance with other users of information, communication technologies and to deal with the investigations of cybercrimes.

Protecting the country and its citizens is the duty of government. We are aware of the concerns raised and the aspersions cast, that State Security is being given too much power and that the Bill is limiting the freedoms of people . We support this Bill because of our duty to ensure that we are safe as a nation.

Among many other countries whose banking systems have been attacked; towards the end of April 2018, Mexico's financial system was the victim of a cyberattack, were criminals stole over 300 million pesos. We do not wish this for our country.

The rapid growth of cybercrime in the country demands the development of new legislation to enhance cybersecurity. Cybercrime not only adversely affects business and governments but it also affects the masses of our people. Our masses use cell phones, internet and banking services and thus deserve to be protected.

According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric), South Africa has the third highest number of cyber-crime victims in the world, which results in a loss of about R2.2?billion each year . In its 2017 report, cyber security firm Norton said, globally, 978 million consumers were affected by cyber-crime with losses totalling $172?billion .

While we have been without a comprehensive piece of legislation, we are please to inform this House that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) saw the need to focus on curbing cybercrime, where information and communication was used to perpetuate crime.

In his 2018 budget vote debate speech, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services reported that in the 2016/17 financial year, the NPA had a 91,7% conviction rate in all court forums and that there had been a 98.5% conviction rate in cybercrime cases. This is the highest conviction rate over the last two decades.

In terms of training of South African Police Service (SAPS) personnel, it was reported in April of this year, that about 1612 members of the SAPS had been trained in the cybercrime environment and that a total of 72 of that 1612 members had been trained in France on sexual related electronic crime.

We support this Bill and we encourage the speedy finalisation of the cybersecurity Bill Cyber safety is everyone's duty. We must all play a part in realising our NDP goal: All people feel safe.

Hon members I thank you.

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