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Rica ruling a victory but more must be done to repair damage, say rights groups

Judge Roland Sutherland ruled that the act that allowed the state to tap the phones of South Africans and monitor internet signals was unconstitutional.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - Civil rights organisations say that while the High Court's ruling on the Rica Act was a major victory, more needed to be done to repair the damage already caused.

Judge Roland Sutherland ruled that the act that allowed the state to tap the phones of South Africans and monitor internet signals was unconstitutional.

- Why the Rica Act has been declared unlawful

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 in 2017.

Civil rights groups have been challenging bulk surveillance for years and the ministerial review commission on intelligence warned government about it back in 2008.

The Right2Know Campaign's Thami Nkosi said that they were confident from the beginning of the court matter that the state did not have a case.

"They wanted to defend a position where they simply say they have the right to surveil anyone without any recourse."

He said that in addition to the ruling, the Inspector-General of Intelligence must finalise the many investigations into illegal surveillance lodged by members of the public and civil society groups.

The group also wanted the Protection of Personal Information Act to be implemented as soon as possible and for all individuals that were illegally surveilled to be appropriately remedied.

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