Police Minister Bheki Cele said that this would be in the public interest and was necessary to investigate, combat and prevent serious crimes.
FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele. Picture: @SAPoliceService/Twitter
CAPE TOWN – Police Minister Bheki Cele wants Parliament to allow the South African Police Service (SAPS) to intercept communication and to allow it to purchase and possess the equipment to do so.
Cele said that this would be in the public interest and was necessary to investigate, combat and prevent serious crimes.
Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has already granted the exemption certificate under the Regulation of the Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication Act, commonly known as, Rica.
But the final go-ahead rests with Parliament.
The SAPS was unsuccessful in applying for a certificate of exemption to intercept communication in 2010, 2011 and 2012 because not all ministers’ approval could be obtained.
But in a letter to the Speaker, Justice Minister Lamola said that this latest application had the necessary support.
If approved by the National Assembly, the certificate of exemption under Rica would be valid for five years.
It will allow the police’s intelligence division to legally build and manufacture some of the prohibited equipment.
The police minister will be required to table a report to Parliament on the number of authorisations issued for the use of the intercepting equipment.
In a report to the National Assembly, the justice committee said that it supported the approval of the certificate of exemption, given the critical role the interception of communication plays in securing the state and maintaining public order.
In 2021, the Constitutional Court found Rica to be unconstitutional in as far as protecting the right to privacy and gave Parliament three years to fix the defects.
The justice committee has urged the justice minister to urgently table corrective legislation.