Deputy Minister John Jeffery: Media briefing on Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill

  • Date: Jan 19, 2017
  • Categories: news

19 Jan 2017
Statement by the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery

Technological advances have been gone beyond our wildest imagination. But with great technological advances, come greater risks. Research shows that our country’s comparatively high levels of internet connectivity bring with it a higher risk for cyber-crime. Cybercrime activities are growing fast and evolving at a pace, becoming both more aggressive and technically proficient.


The development of new proposed legislation to enhance cybersecurity is a necessity. It is a milestone towards building safer communities as envisaged in the National Development Plan. We are committed to putting in place measures to effectively deal with cybercrimes and address aspects relating to cybersecurity, which adversely affect individuals, businesses and Government alike.


The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has been tasked with the review and alignment of cybersecurity laws to ensure that these laws are aligned with the National Cybersecurity Policy Framework (NCPF) and provide for an integrated cyber security legal framework for the Republic.


The new proposed Cybercrime and Cybersecurity Bill gives effect to this mandate. Deterring cybercrime is a vital component of a national cybersecurity and critical information infrastructure protection strategy. This includes the adoption of appropriate legislation against the misuse of information communications technologies for criminal purposes. The new Bill aims to advance these objectives.

The Bill was made available for public comment in 2015. Comments were taken into account in the finalisation of a further draft of the Bill. Furthermore, a working group consisting of persons with different areas of expertise was appointed to give advice on the Bill and on how to address concerns raised in respect of the Bill.


The offences provided for in the Bill aim to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems by means of the offences of unlawful access, interception of protected data, malware-related offences, interference with data and computer systems and password-related offences.


The Bill criminalises cyber-facilitated offences by means of the offences of fraud, forgery, uttering and extortion, which were adapted specifically for the cyber environment.


Jurisdiction in respect of all offences which can be committed in cyberspace is expanded substantially in terms of the Bill, mainly to deal with cybercrime which originates from outside our borders.


The Bill aims to put in place specialised procedures, with sufficient checks and balances to protect the rights of an accused person and other users of information communication technologies, to deal with the investigation of cybercrimes.


Since many cybercrimes emanate from another country, the Bill also provides for procedures which will facilitate mutual assistance with other countries in the investigation of cybercrimes.


With regards to malicious communications, the Bill aims to criminalise a data message which incites the causing of any damage to any property belonging to, or violence against, a person or a group of persons, which is harmful, which is intimate in nature, and which is distributed without the consent of the person involved.


Provision is made in the Bill for an interim protection order pending finalisation of criminal proceedings. In terms of the protection order a court may prohibit any person from distributing the data message or may order an electronic communications service provider or person in control of a computer system to remove or disable access to the data message in question.


The Bill also inserts a new section in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 to criminalise the harmful disclosure of pornography (or so-called “revenge porn”). The proposed amendment aims to criminalise the disclosure of pornography, threats to disclose pornography and disclosure or threats to disclose pornography for the purposes of obtaining any advantage from a person.


The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 was passed to comprehensively deal with all sexual offences. Criticism was raised against the fact that child pornography is dealt with in a law which mainly relates to the classification of films and publications, which is the primary purpose of the Films and Publications Act, 1996.


The new Cybercrimes Bill therefore repeals section 24B of the Films and Publications Act, which criminalises child pornography and the sexual exploitation of children.


The new Bill further proposes various amendments to the Sexual Offences Act in order to comprehensively deal with child pornography in accordance with the proposals of the Lanzarote Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse and the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime. Read More

Issued by:
Department of Justice and Constitutional Development