JOHANNESBURG – South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa has signed the Cybercrimes Bill into law, ENN reports.

The bill is now an act of parliament and seeks to align the South Africa’s cybersecurity laws with global trends. It is now a criminal offence to disclose harmful data messages in South Africa. These harmful messages include those that incite violence and/or threaten damage to property. The cybercrimes bill also criminalises circulation of intimate/nude messages without the subject’s consent.

“The unlawful and intentional access of a computer system or computer data storage medium is also considered an offence along with the unlawful interception of, or interference with data,” Ahmore Burger-Smidt, a head of data privacy practice at Werksmans Attorneys was quoted by

A conviction of an offence under the Cybercrimes Act will attract a fine of up to ZAR50,000, or imprisonment for a period of up to fifteen years. The obligations of the Cybercrimes Act will weigh heavily on South Africa’s internet service providers, data and tech companies, electronic service providers and financial institutes who now carry a legal responsibility of assisting the authorities in the investigation of cybercrime. All electronic communications service providers and financial institutions are expected to report cyber offenses within 72 hours of receiving a cybercrime alert.