Legal View

The surge in cyber-related crimes: knowing the impact

Read time 2min 00sec

With the recent banking and cellular scams in South Africa, it is clearly evident that the surge in cyber-related crimes poses a huge risk to institutions and individuals both locally and globally.

The current legal framework is very fragmented and South Africans are in need of a consolidated cyber crime law that will protect them. As a result the Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill published on 28 August 2015 came about and is anticipated to be introduced in Parliament in the first half of 2016.

In light of the legislative landscape Sabinet hosted the annual Organisation of South African Law Libraries (OSALL) breakfast workshop in Centurion that focused on this very topical matter and the impact thereof.

Norton Rose Fulbright senior associate Nerushka Deosaran, technology lawyer based in Johannesburg, shared mind-boggling insights with law librarians and other professionals from the legal industry. Joining her were Tatum Govender, associate and Maremo Matlou, candidate attorney also from Norton Rose Fulbright.

According to Nerushka, the cyber crime bill creates many new offences including hate speech, identity theft, prohibited financial transactions (i.e. phishing), copyright infringement and unlawful interception of data.

The penalties may include fines ranging from 5 to 10 million rand or imprisonment anywhere from five to 25 years.

The Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill represents a step forward in South Africa's efforts to combat the onslaught of cyber crime. The Bill introduces 20 new cyber crime offences and establishes a number of structures designed to assist law enforcement authorities in combating cybercrime. The Bill also introduces obligations for electronic communications services providers (which includes financial institutions) to inform its clients of cybercrime trends and to establish procedures to report such crimes. The first draft of the Bill was published last year and comments closed in November 2015.

Technology changes have brought about the information age. We find ourselves in a world where "a Twitter account is worth more on the black market than a credit card number" according to a study from Juniper Networks and the RAND Corporation.

With this shift, business leaders are being held directly accountable for data breaches." - Experian

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global law firm. It provides the world's pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. It has more than 3 800 lawyers and other legal staff based in more than 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

Recognised for its industry focus, it is strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare.


With a sound performance history of over 30 years, Sabinet has firmly established itself as a leader in facilitating access to a wide spectrum of high-quality and credible information sources. Over the course of the last three decades, Sabinet has built a strong local and international reputation for providing Africa's information to the world and the world's information to Africa.

Sabinet's mission to support libraries' technical processes, promote resource sharing and enable access to information sources is underpinned by its commitment, partnerships, understanding and support.

Sabinet's roots are in library support services, where it is recognised for providing central platforms for collaboration and resource sharing among libraries.

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Sabinet OnlineJeanine Liebenberg(+27) 12 643
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