Cybersecurity and Cybercrime
Laws in the SADC Region


It is now axiomatic that the mass diff usion of the
internet and its ancillary digital technologies have
created an alternative space for the widespread
and ‘unrestricted’ exercise of rights like freedom
of expression, freedom of assembly and access
to information especially in contexts where
such rights are already curtailed through legal
and political repression. It has facilitated the
conducting of online transactions, e-learning,
remote working, video conferencing and many
other political, economic, cultural and social
activities. Despite the intractable issue of digital
divide and inequalities, the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) region has
witnessed the growth of internet and social
media penetration and use over the last two
decades owing to the liberalisation of the
telecommunications sector and the advent of
advanced wireless technologies such as 3G, 4G
and 5G.


The digital space has altered communication
patterns with online and social media becoming
the preeminent arena for public communication
and culture, often giving ordinary citizens a
voice that they previously lacked (Mare, 2018).
The emergence of e-commerce has also created
business opportunities and convenience for
citizens, whilst at the same time opening
up the space for crime and the possibility of
compromising citizens’ data security. Ultimately,
governments are compelled to enact legislation
to govern the online and digital space in order to
prevent cyber-related crimes and protect citizens
from hackers and fraudsters. In the process,
though, the online and digital rights of citizens
must be similarly protected as the governments
enact these laws. The reality, however, is that
many countries have either introduced or
are planning to introduce cybersecurity and
cybercrime laws that potentially threaten the

Select target paragraph3