Government will make cyber crime and security a priority for this year with the transfer of responsibility from the Department of Communications to that of State Security, says Justice & Constitutional Affairs Minister Jeff Radebe.
Radebe said this at a Parliamentary press briefing on Sunday in which he added that a cyber-security policy would be tabled before Cabinet - government's highest decision-making body - soon.
The creation of an overall cyber-security policy had been a priority of the Department of Communications for almost a decade and former Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda had said in 2010 that it was finalised and would be presented to Cabinet in that year.
"We as a cluster (all the ministries involved in security, justice and police) had decided that it would be more appropriate for the Ministry of State Security to handle," Radebe said.
During the briefing Radebe said the police had implemented interim operational measures to deal with incident management and several cases had been prosecuted by the National Prosecuting Authority whilst others were under investigation.
Parents must be involved as well
"The reduction of cyber-crime is, however, interdependent and multi-faceted. It requires the intervention of parents in monitoring their children's' online activities in order to ensure that they do not become victims of human and drug trafficking as well as other abuses," he said.
Radebe said the increased use of social networking sites and that due to their popularity and their instant nature, they had undesired consequences in that they were tools and platforms that accelerated criminal activities.
He said the need to register cellphone cards was aimed at combating cyber-crime and that 37 million cellphone cards had been registered in terms of the Regulations for the Interception of Communications Act.
"This will reduce the possibility for criminals using cyber technology to plan and execute crime," he said.
Radebe said government was also aware of the urgent need to improve the skills of investigators and detectives to fight cyber-crime.
Referring to the R42m heist in January at the SA Post Bank that used illegal access to the computer network, Radebe said notable progress had been made.
He also said that the police had been increasing its cooperation with their counterparts in other SA Development Community countries and international police agency Interpol to fight cyber-crime.