The National Council of Provinces (NCOP) passed the Cybercrimes Bill and the Science and Technology Laws Amendment Bill during its sitting on Wednesday.
The Cybercrimes Bill was initially introduced as the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill in 2017, and was referred to the fifth democratic parliament’s select committee on security & justice from the national assembly on 27 November 2018.
The bill was thoroughly advertised for public participation in 2019, where substantive inputs were provided by various stakeholders and individuals. However, it lapsed at the end of the fifth parliament and it is among the bills that were revived by the NCOP through a resolution on 17 October 2019.
The objectives of the bill are, among others, to create offences and impose penalties which have a bearing on cybercrime, to criminalise the distribution of data messages which are harmful and to provide for interim protection orders, and to further regulate jurisdiction in respect of cybercrime.
The bill also aims to regulate the powers to investigate cybercrimes, to further regulate aspects relating to mutual assistance in respect of the investigation of cybercrimes and to provide for the establishment of a 24/7 point of contact.
The bill further imposes obligations on electronic communications service providers and financial institutions to assist in the investigation of cybercrimes. It also provides that the executive may enter into agreements with foreign states to promote cybersecurity.
The draft legislation will now be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa for approval. — SANews