The Cybercrimes Act 19 of 2020 (“the Act”), defines various cybercrimes which could land you from the cyber realm to real life prison.

 The Act criminalises three types of harmful messages, which:

·         Incite violence or the damage to property

·         Threaten people with violence or the damage to property

·         Unlawfully contain an intimate image

In addition to this, the Act criminalises various other cybercrimes such as cyber fraud, cyber forgery, cyber extortion, the unlawful access to data and the unlawful interception of data, and the theft of an incorporeal thing.

The Act applies to anyone and everyone who has access to a device or a computer which can process any sort of information which can be accessed.

The cybercrimes listed in the Act are punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment:

The Act allows for a maximum sentence in terms of imprisonment up to 15 years depending on the severity and extent of the crime.

The Act also gives the South African Police Service (SAPS) the power required to investigate, seize, access and search anything related to computers or databases, or networks, provided they have the relevant warrants to do so.

The Act provides recourse for those who have become victims of cybercrimes and this new development in law will be able to criminalise and fight against the increasing and harmful effects of crimes committed within the cyber space.

So, whether it’s an Instagram post or WhatsApp message, make sure the content you post, does not take you from a social media junkie to “IRL” inmate.

For any assistance relating to this topic feel free to reach out to Tuckers Attorneys on 011 897 1900, 076 777 1920 (a/h) or


Article contributed by Mikhail Packery of Tuckers Attorneys