Western Cape to be first to develop camera law

In a first for South Africa, the Western Cape has begun the process to develop a legislation that will govern the use of CCTV cameras both on private properties and in public areas.
Currently a legislative framework for CCTV does not exist and the City of Cape Town is pushing to ensure one is created for the benefit of the Mother City.

The City has a large number of CCTV cameras that make up a network used to monitor public spaces to prevent instances of crime. It is because of this existing network that the City is seeking a framework to better manage public use and govern the use on private properties as well.

JP Smith – City of Cape Town Mayco Member for Safety and Security – has asked that the CCTV framework be addressed with urgency at the next bi-lateral meeting. Once Cape Town business finds some form of regularity following the pandemic, a provincial framework for CCTV cameras will be developed as a starting point. Smith said the City of Cape Town has been working with private security companies on a self-regulation framework for years. “We leveraged the fact that we own the assets, namely lighting poles and other stuff and used voluntary compliance because we couldn’t make a law,” Smith said.

Concerns are growing, along with security camera networks across the country. With cameras constantly watching, the question of privacy is something that needs to be addressed. The question of privacy is being asked in Johannesburg as well, where cameras are used by a number of security companies. As the need to monitor public spaces and vehicles along major roads increases, a legislation is needed to ensure these networks can prevent crime without encroaching on the privacy of residents.