Rica Act's surveillance laws unconstitutional, court finds
The South Gauteng High Court has found that parts of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information (Rica) Act are unconstitutional.
In 2017, media group amaBhungane filed an application in the high court to challenge the constitutionality of the act.
WOW -- High court Judge Roland Sutherland has declared #RICA inconsistent with Constitution fails to provide appropriate safeguards; validity suspended for 2 years to allow parliament to (reconsider).— amaBhungane (@amaBhungane) September 16, 2019
The court application was launched after it emerged that amaBhungane's investigative journalist Sam Sole had been a target of state surveillance under Rica.
His communications were intercepted while he was reporting on the corruption investigation against former president Jacob Zuma.
The court found that the law was inconsistent with the Constitution in a number of areas, Sole explains.
Sole says the act is clearly an invasion of privacy and does not have the necessary safeguards in place.
The court has agreed that there should be a procedure for notifying a person whose information has been intercepted.
It's an invasion of privacy.Sam Sole, AmaBhungane journalist
The safeguards that are built into Rica, to prevent abuses of surveillance, are insufficient to do the constitutional job.Sam Sole, AmaBhungane journalist
We argued that there needs to be a post-surveillance notification.Sam Sole, AmaBhungane journalist
The court ruled that the validity of the judgment be suspended for two years to allow Parliament to review the legislation.
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