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Cybercrimes Act Signed

June 3, 2021

The Presidency

President Ramaphosa has signed the Cybercrimes Act.

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

In July 2020, the national council of provinces (NCOP) passed the bill and returned it to the national assembly (NA) for consideration of proposed amendments.

The NA passed the bill and sent it to the 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.

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.

The act will come into effect on a date still to be determined by the president.

The Correctional Services Amendment Act has also been signed.

Parliament passed the Correctional Services Amendment Bill and sent it for assent in April 2021.

The NA passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in March 2021.

The bill was tabled in parliament in November 2020.

Its explanatory summary was published in Government Gazette 43931.

According to the explanatory summary, the bill sought to amend the act so as to amend the definition of “Minister” to align it with the portfolio(s) assigned by the president from time to time.

The bill also aimed to amend the act by inserting, deleting and amending certain provisions related to the placement of sentenced offenders under day parole, parole and correctional supervision, the criteria used to determine the minimum detention period to be served before becoming eligible for consideration for placement on day parole, parole and correctional supervision and providing for matters connected therewith.

The amendments flow from the Constitutional Court Phaahla judgement that found certain sections of the principal act on parole regimes to be unconstitutional.

A Draft Correctional Matters Amendment Bill was published for comment in July 2020.

The portfolio committee on justice and correctional services sought comment on the bill in December 2020.

The committee adopted the bill without amendments.

The select committee on security and justice also adopted the bill without amendments.

The Correctional Services Amendment Act aims to:


• amend the Correctional Services Act, 1998, so as to amend a certain definition;
• insert, delete and amend certain provisions related to parole of offenders; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The act will come into effect on a date still to be determined by the president.

The Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Act has also been signed.

Parliament passed the Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Bill and sent it for assent in March 2021.

The bill was tabled in parliament at the beginning of September 2019.

In November 2019, the bill was sent to the National House of Traditional Leaders for comment.

The NA passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in June 2020.

Cabinet approved the proposed legislation at the end of July 2019 for tabling.

In an earlier statement acknowledging the approval, the justice and constitutional development department pointed out that the draft bill brings section 7(1) and (2) of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998 in line with a 2017 Constitutional Court judgment which declared the provisions constitutionally invalid.

The sections discriminate unfairly against women in customary marriages.

The department called for comment on the draft bill in April 2018.

It flows from a Constitutional Court confirmation that a Limpopo High Court order declaring section 7(1) of the act to be constitutionally invalid was the correct decision.

The High Court had ruled that section 7(1) discriminated against women in polygamous customary marriages entered into before the commencement of the act.

The select committee on security and justice introduced amendments to the bill including a new definition on “traditional leader” and returned it to the NA for concurrence in December 2020.

‘‘’Traditional leader’ means any person who, in terms of customary law of the traditional community concerned, holds a traditional leadership position and is recognised in terms of the applicable legislation providing for such recognition.’’

The NA agreed with the amendments at its plenary sitting in March.

The Recognition of Customary Marriages Amendment Act aims to:


• amend the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998, so as to further regulate the proprietary consequences of customary marriages entered into before the commencement of the said Act; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The act came into effect on the date of publication.