South Africa 16.5.2017 04:21 pm

Violent protests may be linked to SA’s violent past – state security minister

Burning tires block the main road leading into the suburb of Ennerdale, Johannesburg. Residents in the area continued protests today against poor service delivery and lack of housing, which led to confrontations with police. 11 May 2017. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

Burning tires block the main road leading into the suburb of Ennerdale, Johannesburg. Residents in the area continued protests today against poor service delivery and lack of housing, which led to confrontations with police. 11 May 2017. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

Mahlobo said government would have to continue its efforts to stamp out vandalism, property destruction and deaths associated with these protests.

The violence associated with service delivery protests in South Africa could perhaps be linked to the violent nature of protests during the struggle against apartheid, State Security Minister David Mahlobo said on Tuesday.

Tabling his department’s budget, Mahlobo said government would have to continue its efforts to stamp out vandalism, property destruction and deaths associated with these protests.

“If we look back at the history of the struggle in this country, we can see that ours was a very violent one, where people found their voices through various forms of protests that ended with blood on the floor. It was the darkest period in the history of this country,” said Mahlobo.

“It can be argued that the violent nature of many protests in our country and the violent nature of certain crime categories in society reflect the old violence from which we come from as a nation.”

Mahlobo cited protests around service delivery, violent student protests, tumultuous strikes and those related to a housing shortages and over the demarcation of municipalities.

Cyber crimes, including ransom-ware a threat to SA – Mahlobo

While South Africa was not immune to cyber crimes, Mahlobo believed government was making strides in protecting its information infrastructure.

Mahlobo said while information technologies have improved economies and strengthened service delivery, it also posed a risk in the form of ransom-ware which have hit various countries crippling, among others, railway and health care services, which have hit major economies globally.

“Attacks on any of these networks would potentially have disastrous consequences for individuals and for society as witnessed in the recent ransom-ware attack to more than 100 countries affecting thousands of organisations worldwide,” said Mahlobo while delivering his budget vote in Parliament.

“Our country is one of the targets for cyber-crime and research shows that small companies and ordinary citizens especially unsuspecting children are being targeted more and more by cyber criminals, state actors and hacktivists.”

Mahlobo said the global community had expressed concern over the use of technology by cyber criminals at the expense of “international peace, security and stability” and “undermining the sovereignty and security of States”.

“Ransomware, identity theft, cyber bullying, internet banking fraud, misuse of social networks and many other types of attacks are prevalent.”

The minister said that legislation currently before Parliament in the form of the Cyber-crime and Cyber-security Bill would bolster efforts to protect the country’s infrastructure against hackers.

The bill, said Mahlobo, would deal with, among others, threats to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of States, damage to the economy, the use of technology to recruit people for terrorist activities, against criminals who use computer data to commit offences, and the use of social media to violate public order or ignite hatred and discrimination.

Those who attempted to “destabilise governance” would also be targeted if the bill is passed.

In March, Mahlobo came under fire for his remarks at a media briefing calling on social media to be regulated. At the time, the minister said social media was used to peddle false information.

African News Agency (ANA)

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