South Africa’s Opposition Proposes Cyber Commissioner to Boost Cybersecurity

South Africa’s opposition party, DA, proposes a Cyber Commissioner to enhance cybersecurity amid rising cyber threats.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa’s official opposition party, has put forth a bill in parliament to establish a Cyber Commissioner, who will be entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing and coordinating the country’s cyber security efforts.

In response to a surge in high-profile hacking incidents, the party highlights the urgent need for enhanced protection of personal information. They seek bipartisan support for the bill to fortify South Africa’s cyber security measures, addressing the growing concerns surrounding data privacy and cyber threats.

The announcement of the Cyber Commissioner Bill was made by the DA on Tuesday. Advocate Glynnis Breytenbach, the DA’s shadow minister of justice and constitutional development, stressed the significance of a dedicated Cyber Commissioner, particularly in light of the current inadequacies in protecting personal information within state departments.

With the rapid digitalization of government operations, cyber technology has become indispensable. As technology dependence continues to increase, it is imperative to adopt new strategies to safeguard data and protect citizens’ rights while utilizing these technologies.

A notable challenge with the proposed legislation lies in the need for an amendment to South Africa’s constitution to establish a new ‘Chapter 9’ institution. Chapter 9 of the constitution is responsible for the creation of institutions designed to uphold and support democracy.

Advocate Breytenbach acknowledges that cyber security was not considered a significant threat at the time of adopting the Constitution. However, the escalating cyber-attacks on state institutions over the years have underscored the gravity of the issue, endangering both the functioning of the state and the security of citizens’ information.

The current cyber defense mechanisms for South African state departments and critical infrastructure are deemed insufficient to counter cyber threats effectively. Therefore, the proposed creation of a Cyber Commissioner aims to address these vulnerabilities, providing a strengthened cyber security framework to protect sensitive public information from breaches and ensuring the safety and privacy of citizens in the digital realm.

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