Two of the top people in South Africa’s defence and security establishment this week assured the country development of its national cyber defence strategy and operations was underway.
Tellingly, Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford made the point there “is budget for it”.
He was speaking at the official media launch of this year’s Aerospace Africa and Defence (AAD) exhibition on the same platform as Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
According to her South Africa is taking its cyber defence “seriously” and proof of this was a national bill to regulate cyber security.
Wakeford said a decision had been taken to have a defensive cyber force as part of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
This was in addition to work underway by other government departments, agencies and institutions on, among others, a national cyber command centre. Some of those involved are SITA (State Information Technology Agency), Crime Intelligence and the national departments of Home Affairs and State Security.
Wakeford said when it came to fourth industrial revolution developments such as artificial intelligence and robotics South Africa has “sufficient internal capacity”.
“But we are not going it alone. We will look at other partners, all with an eye on cost saving and avoiding duplication. The whole object of the exercise is to work together productively,” he said.
Mapisa-Nqakula said South Africa was training people in various aspects of cyber defence and security. This would ensure when the country’s cyber defence system was ready for implementation and operation there would be trained and capable people on hand to run it properly.
The latest Department of Defence annual report notes work is underway of the establishment of a cyber defence office in the SANDF. No further detail is given.