by EVERSON MUSHAVA
CABINET yesterday approved the Cyber Crime, Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill that will see stiff penalties being levied on citizens allegedly generating and transmitting subversive material meant to incite violence and damage to property as well as harm the economy.
Acting Information minister Mangaliso Ndlovu told a post cabinet briefing that the bill, presented by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi is set to protect citizens from cyber bullying and harassment.
“The Bill seeks to combat cyber-crime and increase cyber security in order to build confidence and trust in the secure use of information communication technologies,” Ndlovu said.
The provision and approval of codes of conduct and ethics to be observed by all categories of data controllers; while data protection with due regard to constitutional rights and public interest will be under the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe.
According to the bill, a data security centre and a Data Protection Authority will be established. There will also be investigation and collection of evidence relating to cybercrime and unauthorised data collection and breaches.
The new law will also allow the admissibility of electronic evidence for cybercrimes offences and penalties on all offences committed under the act.
“There will be penalties for the transmission of data messages inciting violence and damage to property and protection of citizens against cyber bullying and harassment,” Ndlovu said.
There will also be measures to address the production and dissemination of racist and xenophobic material using language that tends to lower the reputation or feelings of persons for the reason that they belong to a group of persons distinguished on the grounds set out in section 56 subsection 3 of the Constitution.
“There will be penalties for persons who generate, distribute or broadcast data concerning an identifiable person knowing it to be false and intending to cause psychological or economic harm; and transmission of pornographic material,” he added.
Cabinet considered and approved the Programme for the Development of Energy from Mineral Resources, which was presented by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development which is aimed at making the country, grappling with electricity and fuel shortages, emerge as a net exporter of electricity by 2024 and of fuel by 2030.
“This will principally be achieved through the extraction of coal-bed methane (CBM) for power generation; production of liquid fuel from coal; generation of electricity from coal; and the development of oil and gas potential in the Muzarabani, Gonarezhou and Manicaland areas,” the minister said.
He said government will set up a Commission to oversee the formulation of the new energy policy.