On 20 November 2019, President Ramaphosa signed the Critical Infrastructure Protection Bill into law. Now the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act 8 of 2019, its purposes include the following:
- To secure critical infrastructure against threats.
- To ensure that information pertaining to security measures applicable to critical infrastructure remain confidential, subject to the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000 or any other legislation that provides for the lawful disclosure of information.
- To ensure that objective criteria are developed for the identification, declaration and protection of critical infrastructure.
- To ensure public-private cooperation in the identification and protection of critical infrastructure.
- To secure critical infrastructure by creating an environment in which public safety, public confidence and basic public services are promoted.
- To promote cooperation and a culture of shared responsibility between various role-players in order to provide for an appropriate multi-disciplinary approach to deal with critical infrastructure protection.
- To enhance the collective capacity of role-players who are responsible for the protection of critical infrastructure to mitigate possible security risks.
- To ensure that every critical infrastructure complies with regulatory measures aimed at securing such critical infrastructure against threats.
- To provide for the powers and duties of persons in control of critical infrastructure.
- To support the integration and coordination of the functions of various role-players involved in the securing of critical infrastructure.
In particular, section 16 deals with the requirements for the declaration of infrastructure as critical infrastructure. As set out in subsection 16(1), infrastructure qualifies as critical infrastructure if: (i) the functioning of such infrastructure is essential for the economy, national security, public safety and the continuous provision of basic public services; and (ii) the loss, damage, disruption or immobilisation of such infrastructure may severely prejudice the functioning or stability of the country, the public interest with regard to safety and the maintenance of law and order, and national security. In making this determination, one or more of the following criteria must be applied:
- The infrastructure must be of significant economic, public, social or strategic importance.
- The country’s ability to function, deliver basic public services or maintain law and order may be affected if a service rendered by the infrastructure is interrupted, or if the infrastructure is destroyed, disrupted, degraded or caused to fail.
- Interruption of a service rendered by the infrastructure, or the destruction, disruption, degradation, or failure of such infrastructure, will have a significant effect on the environment, the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public, or any other infrastructure that may negatively affect the functions and functioning of the infrastructure in question.
- There are reasonable grounds to believe that the declaration as critical infrastructure will not have a significantly negative effect on the interests of the public.
- The declaration as critical infrastructure is in pursuance of an obligation under any binding international law or international instrument.
- Any other criteria which may, from time to time, be determined by the Minister of Police by notice in the Government Gazette, after consultation with the Critical Infrastructure Council.
The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act is accessible (via the Parliamentary Monitoring Group) here.
Please note: The information contained in this note is for general guidance on matters of interest, and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].