An anti-cybercrime agreement was signed by South Africa's Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, and France's Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, on Monday.

The agreement was signed to improve the Special Investigating Unit's (SIU) cyber forensic capabilities, and to create an anti-corruption academy in Tshwane, which will support law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) alongside the Commonwealth and Non-Commonwealth countries.

Lamola noted that South Africa was going to greatly benefit from this training process as it will enable the country's "forensic cyber capabilities and investigations to be on par with the standards of the world and the globe," adding cybercrime is not just national, but an international issue.

"This kind of cooperation will definitely be of great value and help to us as a country to enhance our skills and be able to deal with the cybercrimes in the country," he continued, SA News reported. "This will further boost confidence in the investment climate in our country that our cyberspace is safe and if anything happens, we will have the capabilities to investigate."

Colonna also acknowledged the importance of this agreement, and explained that it will represent a "window of what we are promoting in terms of bilateral cooperation."

She said this agreement "will yield results beneficial to the South African citizens and possibly to all the SADC region," before adding that the French experts have been working closely with SIU and successfully trained 22 officials, who possess the capability to educate other investigators.

"Since the very early stages of our cooperation, members of the SIU have been to France and have had see and experience the French expertise in the field of mostly cyber investigations. I call for those exchanges to grow," she continued.

Colonna was received by South African minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor on Monday, following which the meeting was held at the OR Tambo Building in the afternoon.

A statement issued by the South African government on Sunday disclosed that this visit will provide an opportunity for both countries to talk about their mutual interests, including "regional and international issues."

Before she visited South Africa, Colonna was asked about South Africa's neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, to which she replied, "South Africa is a trusted partner for France."

France and South Africa share close diplomatic ties, with the former being one of the key investors in the African country. France has also supported South Africa in the first three South African Investment Conferences.

Moreover, French companies have created around 100,000 jobs for South Africans, apart from offering vocational and other training opportunities.

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