By ZBC REPORTER
PARLIAMENT has been urged to produce draft bills in all national languages recognised by the country’s constitution to ensure meaningful contribution by the citizenry in the legislative process.
Parliamentary portfolio committees on information communication technologies (ICT) and courier services, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services as well as the peace and security thematic committee were in Gwanda this Tuesday to gather the views of the public on the cybersecurity and data protection bill.
There was a general consensus among the participants that if enacted into law, the piece of legislation will help in tackling cybercrime and protecting national interests.
“We have seen how the social media and the internet in general have been used to destroy people‘s lives or to try and overthrow constitutionally-elected governments, so we believe that we need to protect the citizenry and our country through enabling legislation,” said one participant.
“We also believe that the law should be clear on how whistleblowers, for instance, will be protected but most importantly look at how cybersecurity is ensured in other countries,” said another.
Beitbridge East legislator, Albert Nguluvhe noted the need for parliament to distribute the draft bills in national languages before the consultative process.
“We thank the people of Gwanda for their participation, although we believe that sometimes the lack of full appreciation of the contents of the bill due to language barriers is contributing to low participation,” said Nguluvhe
Meanwhile, people in Bulawayo say the Cyber Security and Data Protection bill was long overdue in the face of social media abuse.
The sessions had to be split into two sittings after a huge turnout by Bulawayo residents who aired their views on the proposed Cyber Security and Data Protection bill.
“This bill is long overdue, things have not been well since we embraced social media…
… As a responsible parent, I’ve been worried by what our children are exposed to, I therefore second this bill,” said one parent.
“We need to know which organisation will handle private information like POTRAZ so that our privacy is secured,” expressed another.
Chairperson of the Peace and Security thematic committee, Dr David Parirenyatwa said the contributions will be consolidated into a report and tabled before parliament.
“We had quite good contributions from the people here, some of the points we had not heard in other areas. So we appreciate the turnout and the views we received which will be included in a consolidated report that will be presented in Parliament,” he said.
The cybersecurity and data protection bill is among the draft pieces of legislation that are being taken to the people in various parts of the country for scrutiny in line with the country‘s constitution.
The Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill is now at the public consultation stage across the country which began this Tuesday as Members of Parliament seek to get views from ordinary people before the Bill is debated in the National Assembly. The hearings run until Friday.
Three portfolio committees will jointly conduct the hearings as three separate teams.
They are the Committee on Media, Information and Broadcast Services, the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security, and the Committee on Information, Communication and Technology, Postal and Courier Services.
Several meetings have been lined up for today in Bulawayo, Chinhoyi and Masvingo.
The Bill seeks, among other issues, to provide for investigation and collection of evidence of cybercrime and unauthorised data collection and breaches of security rules.
It also seeks to provide for admissibility of electronic evidence for such offences and will also create a technology-driven business environment and encourage technological development and how it should be lawfully used.
Another provision is the establishment of a Cyber Security Centre and a Data Protection Authority and their functions.
Parliament urged to produce draft bills in local languages
By ZBC REPORTER