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Certain Sections of Cybercrimes Act in Effect

December 2, 2021

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

Certain sections of the Cybercrimes Act are now in effect.

The justice and constitutional development department published Proclamation 42 in Government Gazette 45562.

President Ramaphosa assented to the act in June 2021.

Parliament passed the Cybercrimes Bill and sent it to the president for assent in December 2020.

The national assembly (NA) passed the bill and sent it to the national council of provinces (NCOP) for concurrence in November 2018.

The bill lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament but was revived by the NCOP in October 2019.

In July 2020, the NCOP passed the bill and returned it to the NA for consideration of proposed amendments.

The bill was originally tabled as the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill in 2017.

During its deliberations, the portfolio committee on justice and correctional services decided to only focus on cybercrimes issues, hence the change of the bill’s name to Cybercrimes Bill.

According to the select committee on security and justice’s report in July, proposed amendments included altering the tone of the bill to reflect non-binary language as required by considerations of gender-neutrality, equality, dignity and identity; restructuring of clause 16 to specifically reflect the impact of the paragraph (a) considerations in criminalising the disclosure of data messages of intimate images and on recommending the amendment of clauses 1, 2, 3, 11, 13, 20, 21, 22, 24, 32, 33, 39, 40, 41, 42, 44 and 59.

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services adopted the proposed amendments.

The Cybercrimes Act aims to:

• create offences which have a bearing on cybercrime;
• criminalise the disclosure of data messages which are harmful and to provide for interim protection orders;
• further regulate jurisdiction in respect of cybercrimes;
• further regulate the powers to investigate cybercrimes;
• further regulate aspects relating to mutual assistance in respect of the investigation of cybercrimes;
• provide for the establishment of a designated Point of Contact;
• further provide for the proof of certain facts by affidavit;
• impose obligations to report cybercrimes;
• provide for capacity building;
• provide that the Executive may enter into agreements with foreign States to promote measures aimed at the detection, prevention, mitigation and investigation of cybercrimes;
• delete and amend provisions of certain laws; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

Chapter 1; Chapter 2, with the exclusion of Part VI; Chapter 3; Chapter 4, with the exclusion of sections 38(1)(d), (e) and (f), 40(3) and (4), 41, 42, 43 and 44; Chapter 7; Chapter 8, with the exclusion of section 54 and Chapter 9, with the exclusion of sections 11B, 11C, 11D and 56A(3)(c), (d) and (e) of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007 (Act No. 32 of 2007), in the Schedule of laws repealed or amended in terms of section 58 came into effect on 1 December 2021.