On 1 April, the department of communications & digital technologies quietly published a draft national data and cloud policy that has potentially far-reaching implications for the private sector, state-owned enterprises and the public sector broadly.
Among other objectives, the draft policy document — which could lead to legislative amendments or even a new act of parliament — seeks to promote South Africa’s data sovereignty and security as well as enhance investment opportunities, create jobs and enhance skills development.
But it also raises concerns, among them that the policy-making process will eventually create additional regulatory burdens for the private sector while concentrating government cloud business in the public sector to the detriment of private cloud and data service providers.
The draft policy document also raises a number of questions around black economic empowerment.
Bowmans partners Heather Irvine (who specialises in competition law) and Livia Dyer (ICT policy) join the TechCentral podcast to unpack the importance of the draft policy document, where their concerns with it lie, and what it means for South African companies.
Questions that Irvine and Dyer answer include:
- Do we really need additional legislation, or even amended legislation, to cater for data centres and cloud services?
- Do the Cybercrimes Bill and the recent Competition Commission’s recent paper on the digital economy not already deal with some of the issues raised by the department of communications?
- If the policy is implemented as it stands, will it reduce competition and harm or exclude private sector players?
- Will the draft policy create additional red tape for companies and will it actually help with investment in this space?
Don’t miss the discussion!
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