South Africa admits to mass surveillance amidst xenophobic unrest

by | Sep 4, 2019

South African authorities have revealed that they have been conducting mass surveillance exercises on communications of foreign origins.

This revelation comes in the heat of numerous African nations spying on their citizens and the more recent xenophobic attacks against African migrants in parts of South Africa.

The country’s State Security Agency (SSA) stated that it had used the Signal Intelligence collection process — which involves bulk data gathering — to intercept electronic signals to gather data.

Issues the SSA claimed they were interested in included terrorism and organised crime, amongst others.


Although Privacy International revealed that the SSA had done this by tapping undersea fibre-optic cables to gather foreign signal intelligence data, reports show that the SSA had been collecting information on Internet traffic, telephonic communication, and satellite data of citizens without prior consent.

Speculation persists that the South African government may have been aware of the rising trend of xenophobia in the country.

However, the South African government took no action to curb the problem before the outbreak of attacks against African migrants began, despite admitting to having the means to monitor and anticipate the trend.

Udoka Chiefe
Udoka Chiefe

Writer | Learner| Technologist

Interested in technology, law and new discoveries.


On January 22, 2022, be part of the largest gathering of innovators, startup founders, thinkers, programmers, policymakers, and investors in West Africa. Register free.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent News

Uber’s bet on ‘Okada’

Uber’s bet on ‘Okada’

Today on #TechpointDigest, @nifemeah discusses Uber’s launching its motorbike hailing service, UberMoto, in Ibadan.

Subscribe to Techpoint Digest!

A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day!

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Crypto Explorer

A monthly series featuring in-depth analysis on the cryptocurrency sector in Africa

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to The Experts

A bi-weekly where tech career specialists take us on their journey from newbie to expert, and how they became successful in the industry.

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Subscribe to Founder's Table

A monthly series, where we catch up with founders in the startup ecosystem, learn about their failures, successes and a few tricks of the trade

Please check your email to confirm your subscription.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap