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Cabinet Approves National Cyber Security Policy Framework

March 12, 2012

State Security

Cabinet has approved a national cyber security policy framework.

According to a recent media statement, the framework makes provision for the establishment of “a number of structures and institutions” to coordinate the activities of “various security cluster departments” already working on “a wide range of issues”.

It tasks the state security agency with “overall responsibility” for developing, implementing and coordinating South Africa’s cyber security measures “as an integral part of its mandate”.

“The justice, crime prevention and security cluster will deal with the details of this policy framework at its next briefing,” the statement concludes.

An earlier media statement issued following cabinet’s most recent meeting said that the framework outlined policy positions aimed at:

• addressing national security threats in cyberspace;
• combating cyber warfare, cybercrime and other “cyber ills”;
• developing, reviewing and updating existing substantive and procedural laws “to ensure alignment”; and
• building confidence and trust in the secure use of information and communication technologies.

During February 2010, the department of communications invited input from interested parties on a draft South African national cyber security policy published in notice 118 of Government Gazette 32963.

In an introduction providing context to the proposed policy, amongst other things the following concerns were noted, that:

• the “various structures” established to deal with cyber security issues are “inadequate” for dealing with the matter “holistically”;
• the legal provisions for cyber security in South Africa do not adequately address the challenges faced in effectively dealing with cybercrime;
• bridging “the technology/law divide” remains a “fundamental challenge;
• securing cyberspace also requires international collaboration at a level South Africa has yet to develop; and
• South Africa “lags behind” other countries in developing, implementing and monitoring protocols and standards for cyber security, including those affecting the development of software and hardware.