The use of advanced technology to curb fraud, corruption and cyber-related crimes received a massive boost when the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Special Investigation Unit (SIU) agreed to collaborate in capacitating the country with fraud and corruption prevention tools.On 22 August 2022, the Head of the SIU, Advocate Andy Mothibi, and the CSIR CEO, Dr Thulani Dlamini, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) expressing their commitment to sharing expertise and skills to drive research, development, and innovation in the fields of data science and information and cyber security. The signing of the MoU between the two government entities signals a coordinated effort to enhance the use of technology to fight the scourge of corruption and maladministration in the country. The organisations agreed to collaborate on a variety of strategic areas, which include, enhancing data analytics and sharing, digital forensics, information and cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, distributed ledger technology or blockchain and cyber infrastructure support. The partnership will see capability building in the development of digital investigation tools, digital forensic investigations and analysis, cloud, and high-performance computing to uproot cybercrimes before they occur.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Pretoria, the head of the SIU, Adv. Mothibi, lauded the collaboration as a step in the right direction to fighting cybercrimes.“Our partnership with the CSIR is in line with the SIU’s strategy of detecting fraud and corruption early and having systems in place that prevent these crimes. We live in a digitised world and criminals are using technology to their advantage – we cannot be left behind. The expertise and technology that the CSIR are offering the SIU are needed in order to fulfill our mandate. We cannot fight crime alone, which is why this partnership is important to the SIU,” said Adv. Mothibi. Dr Dlamini hailed the partnership as critical saying that it forms part of the continuous role that the CSIR is playing to support a capable state. “The fight against corruption and cybercrimes is a major issue in South Africa. The work of the CSIR contributes to the creation of a capable state amongst other things. Through this partnership, the CSIR will utilise its research, development, and innovation capabilities particularly in the areas of data science, information security, blockchain and artificial intelligence to support the SIU’s efforts to combat corruption and cybercrimes,” said Dr Dlamini.