Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has moved to assure South Africans that contact tracing in Covid-19 cases will not be used to spy on citizens.
Addressing a Covid-19 National Command Council media briefing on Thursday, the minister said contact tracing will be used to attain information that can assist government in minimising the spread of the virus.
“When we say we are going to use cellphone numbers, it doesn’t mean we are going take anybody’s number. Those that test and are found to be positive… It is those people that the department of health will seek permission from the electronic communications network service licensees to access their geolocation,” she said.
In turn, people who have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 will be identified through the process of contact tracing.
“I know that people have been concerned that government wants to spy on people. This is not spying on anyone. We do respect that everyone has the right to privacy, but in a situation like this, our individual rights do not supersede the country’s rights. The most important and critical right is ensuring the safety of South Africans.
“We are on lockdown because of the virus that is spreading. It is in our interest as government as well as South Africans to ensure that we minimise the spread of the virus,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.
By doing this, she said, government will not intercept phone calls of citizens in its process of contact tracing. — SANews
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