The at-times controversial Cybercrimes Bill has now been adopted by the Select Committee on Security and Justice as of last week.
While there is no denying that South Africa needs legislation to tackle the scourge of cybercrime, the Cybercrimes Bill has at times drawn warranted criticism since it was first tabled in 2015.
Since then the bill has changed substantially and the Select Committee has agreed to proposed amendments. Those amendments include altering the tone of the Bill to reflect non-binary language and restructuring of clause 16 to “specifically reflect the impact of the considerations in criminalising the disclosure of data messages of intimate images”.
At its core the Cybercrimes Bill aims to create offences that tackle cybercrime head on. This includes distribution of harmful data messages, regulation jurisdiction in respect of cybercrimes and regulate aspects relating to mutual assistance in respect of cybercrime investigation.
While the note about amending the bill to reflect non-binary language seems like a throw-away factoid, chairperson Shahidabibi Shaikh notes that, if passed, the Cybercrimes Bill would be the first “non-binary legislation” to be passed in South Africa.
The committee’s reports will now be sent to the National Council of Provinces with a recommendation for adoption.
You can watch the committee’s full stream below.