South Africa and France have entered into a cooperation protocol agreement to improve the Special Investigating Unit’s cyber forensic capabilities.
The agreement is expected to also yield the establishment of an anti-corruption academy in Tshwane, which will serve the SIU and other law enforcement agencies and anti-corruption agencies within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries.
It was signed by justice minister Ronald Lamola and French minister for Europe and foreign affairs Catherine Colonna on Monday.
Lamola said the cooperation agreement will add much-needed skills to strengthen the SIU’s capacity in cyber-forensic investigations, financial crimes and analytical skills.
“We are going to benefit a lot through this process of training that will enable our forensic cyber capabilities and investigations to be on par with the standards of the world because these types of crime are no longer just national, they are transnational in nature.
“This kind of cooperation will be of great value and help to us enhance our skills and be able to deal with cybercrime in the country. This will further boost confidence in the investment climate in our country that our cyberspace is safe and if anything happens, we will have the capabilities to investigate,” he said.
The French minister remarked that the agreement represents “a window of what we are promoting in terms of bilateral cooperation”.
“This agreement will yield results beneficial to the South African citizens and possibly to all the SADC region. As a result of the close cooperation from the French experts, the SIU currently has 22 trainers who possess the capability to train other investigators.
“Since the very early stages of our cooperation, members of the SIU have been to France and have had opportunities … to see and experience the French expertise in the field of mostly cyber investigations. I call for those exchanges to grow,” she said.