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SSA to meet with its legal team over implications of Rica ruling

Judge Roland Sutherland ruled that the act, which allows the state to tap the phones of South Africans and monitor online conversations, was unconstitutional.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - The State Security Agency (SSA) on Monday said while it respected the ruling by the High Court in Pretoria on the Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information (Rica) Act, it was regrouping with its legal team to figure out a way forward.

Judge Roland Sutherland ruled that the act, which allows the state to tap the phones of South Africans and monitor online conversations, was unconstitutional.

Rica was used to place journalist Sam Sole under surveillance while he was investigating why the state dropped corruption charges against former President Jacob Zuma.

The SSA’s Mahlodi Muofhe said the judgement did not close the door completely on government’s work on the act.

“Even in terms of our Constitution, no rights are absolute; rights are also restricted,” Muofhe said.

But the editor of_ Stuff Magazine_, Toby Shapshak, said government needed to think through various scenarios in this act and make sure there were no other unconstitutional elements.

“It’s kind of heavy thinking in policy and legislation that we’ve been very disappointed by, by the ANC and their committees,” he said.

The High Court suspended the act for two years and gave Parliament an opportunity to rectify its defects. In the meantime, government had the task of informing people who are under surveillance.

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