Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says a designated judge will be appointed to protect the privacy of individuals when tracing those who came into contact with coronavirus patients.
Lamola was addressing the media in Pretoria on revised regulations for the national lockdown.
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams announced that contact tracing will be done using the mobile phone number of the person infected and the geo-location data.
Telkom, Samsung, and the South African government have teamed up to develop a track and trace database to identify the whereabouts of people who may have contracted coronavirus.
COVID-19 Tracing Database
The regulations state that the Director-General of the Department of Health may obtain the details of the person concerned, including their location, from their service providers in writing or without prior notice.
This is for the inclusion of the details in the COVID-19 Tracing Database.
The video below is a report on donated handsets to track COVID-19 contacts:
Ndabeni-Abrahams has assured the public that authorities will only use technology to track people who have the coronavirus and will not listen in to their calls.
Telkom has been working with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to develop the database. It uses data from a person’s phone to track where they have been so as to be able to track an infected person and identify those they may have exposed to the virus.
Penalties or imprisonment
South Africa is on day eight of the 21 days national lockdown, which was enacted to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The spread of the virus led to a declaration of a national state of disaster under the Disaster Management Act of 2002.
Those that do not adhere to regulations guiding the use of information for COVID-19 tracing face penalties or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months.
The COVID-19 Tracing Database will be availed for research, study and teaching purposes after the national state of disaster has lapsed.