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Cybercrimes Bill Under the Spotlight

July 25, 2019

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

25 July 2019

The justice and constitutional development department plans to revive the Cybercrimes Bill.

The justice and correctional services minister, Ronald Lamola, confirmed this during the department’s 2019 Budget Vote in the national council of provinces (NCOP).

The bill lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament.

The select committee on security and justice had called for comment on the proposed legislation in February 2019.

The national assembly passed the bill and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence in November 2018.

The Cybercrimes Bill aims to:


• create offences which have a bearing on cybercrime;
• criminalise the distribution 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 cybercrime;
• 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 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.

The minister also confirmed that the Child Justice Amendment Bill will be revived.

The NA passed the bill in November 2018 and sent it to the NCOP for concurrence.

The bill was tabled in parliament at the beginning of October 2018.

It aims to increase the minimum age of criminal capacity of a child from ten years to twelve years.

The bill also seeks to remove the requirement to prove criminal capacity for purposes of diversion and preliminary inquiries.

The bill aims to amend the Child Justice Act of 2008, so as to:


• amend a definition;
• further regulate the minimum age of criminal capacity;
• further regulate the provisions relating to the decision to prosecute a child who is 12 years or older but under the age of 14 years;
• further regulate the proof of criminal capacity;
• further regulate the assessment report by the probation officer;
• further regulate the factors to be considered by a prosecutor when diverting a matter before a preliminary inquiry;
• further regulate the factors to be considered by an inquiry magistrate when diverting a matter at a preliminary inquiry;
• further regulate the orders that may be made at the preliminary inquiry;
• amend wording in order to facilitate the interpretation of a phrase;
• further regulate the factors to be considered by a judicial officer when diverting a matter in a child justice court; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The department also plans to revive the International Crimes Bill.

The bill was tabled in parliament at the end of 2017.

The bill seeks to:


• criminalise conduct constituting international crimes;
• regulate immunity from the prosecution of international crimes;
• grant extra-territorial jurisdiction to the courts in respect of international crimes;
• regulate the investigation and prosecution of allegations of international crimes;
• provide for the extradition of persons accused or convicted of international crimes to foreign states;
• provide for the surrender of persons accused or convicted of international crimes to entities;
• provide for cooperation with entities in respect of international crimes;
• repeal the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002;
• amend the Prevention and Combating of Torture of Persons Act, 2013, so as to confirm immunity for certain persons from prosecution in respect of the crime of torture; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

According to the minister, the Integrated Justice System will be implemented.

He described it as “a cutting edge multi-departmental modernisation programme, aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of our criminal justice system”.

“The Integrated Justice System is designed to enhance the efficacy of our criminal justice system by increasing the probability of successful crime investigation, the robust prosecution of suspects and the sentencing and rehabilitation of offenders.”

The deputy minister of justice and constitutional development, John Jeffery, in his budget vote speech to the NCOP, referred to increasing levels of racism, prejudice and intolerance and highlighted the role that Equality Courts can play in addressing this.

He announced that all High Courts and Magistrates’ Courts have been designated as Equality Courts.

“I am pleased to advise that the Minister will soon publish a proclamation designating Regional Courts as Equality Courts, so members of the public can now access the services of the Equality Courts at their nearest Magistrates’ Court.”