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amaBhungane hails Rica ruling as victory for accountability

The court ruled that the act that allowed the state to tap the phones of South Africans and monitored internet signals was unconstitutional.

FILE: AmaBhungane logo. Picture: amabhungane.co.za

JOHANNESBURG - Investigative unit amaBhungane said Monday’s High Court ruling on the Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information (Rica) Act was a victory for accountability and transparency agencies in South Africa.

The court ruled that the act that allowed the state to tap the phones of South Africans and monitored internet signals was unconstitutional.

Rica was used to place journalist Sam Sole under surveillance while he was investigating the state's decision to drop corruption charges against former President Jacob Zuma.

Judge Roland Sutherland suspended the act for two years and gave Parliament an opportunity to rectify its defects.

He also ruled that interception undertook by the National Communications Centre was unlawful and invalid.

AmaBhungane’s Karabo Rajuili said: “It's also a victory for journalists who have a duty to protect their sources and the manner in which the state was able to intercept and tap the phones of journalists has now been reigned in, and potentially, the kinds of abuses which we have seen will be reduced by this judgment.”

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