Question NW1208 to the Minister of Communications

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20 July 2020 - NW1208

Profile picture: Mackenzie, Mr C

Mackenzie, Mr C to ask the Minister of Communications

(1)What is the Government’s position regarding the concern of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that the 5G equipment of a certain company (name furnished) has been proven to have the so-called back doors installed in network equipment that compromises the confidentiality and security of network communications traffic; (2) Whether she has been informed about the European Union’s Toolbox for 5G security initiative; if not; what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) Whether the Republic is involved in any way in the European Union’s Toolbox for 5G security initiative; if not; why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) What other initiatives are underway to investigate the security and integrity of the Republic's mobile telecommunications networks?


I have been advised by the department as follows: -

1. There is no position as South Africa is not a member of or affiliated with “Five Eyes” an intelligence alliance comprising of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and US who are or were parties to the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence, military intelligence, and human intelligence.

2. The Minister and department have not discussed this issue.

3. No.

(4) South Africa’s mobile operators have been responsible for rollout of secure 2G, 3G and 4G networks. This rollout was enhanced by their appropriate multi-vendor strategy of avoiding dependence on one supplier and avoidance of suppliers regarded as high risk. Without dictating the 5G rollout investment, it is the view of Government that the 5G roll-out would follow and consider the same risk principle.



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