The Cybercrimes Act becomes partially operational

​Certain provisions of the Cybercrimes Act become operational on 1 December 2021, as South Africa gets closer to protecting businesses and individuals against cyber attacks and malicious communications

The President has declared that some parts of the Cybercrimes Act 19 of 2020 (Cybercrimes Act) are operational with effect from 1 December 2021.  This follows the signature of the Cybercrimes Act by the President in May 2021. 

The partial commencement of the Cybercrimes Act ushers in a new era of criminalising the ever-increasing and devastating incidences of digital crime. While we are excited about this new development, we will eagerly await the commencement of the remainder of the Cybercrimes Act to give a full set of teeth to this law.

We have included below some of the key sections of the Cybercrimes Act that have become effective, and those that have not. The list is not exhaustive.


Commence on 1 December 2021

Not yet commenced

Types of cybercrime and malicious communications, including sentencing of these offences.✔️ 

A person that complains of being subjected to malicious communication* is able to apply for a protection order.

A protection order stops the wrongdoer from further disclosure or requires an electronic communications service provider to take down the communication.

* e.g. publishing an intimate image of a person on social media without his or her permission.


Jurisdiction of the courts, including over offences committed outside South Africa that have a local effect.


Powers of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and investigators to investigate, search, access and seize articles used in a cybercrime or malicious communication.



Parts of the Cybercrimes Act dealing with certain requirements for preserving evidence of a cybercrime or malicious communication.


Creation of a special office within the SAPS to assist with proceedings or investigations into cybercrime.


Reporting obligations of electronic communications service providers and financial institutions.


Power of the Cabinet member responsible for administering justice to make regulations.


Please contact our team of experts should you have any further queries related to this development and what it may mean for your business.


These materials are provided for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or other professional advice. While every effort is made to update the information regularly and to offer the most current, correct and accurate information, we accept no liability or responsibility whatsoever if any information is, for whatever reason, incorrect, inaccurate or dated. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage, whether direct, indirect or consequential, which may arise from access to or reliance on the information contained herein.

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