Information Regulator’s role in the effective implementation of the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act

The Protection of Personal Information Act, No 4 of 2013 (POPI), which has been signed into law by the President on 19 November 2013, and published in the Government Gazette on 26 November 2013, aims to promote the protection of personal information by public and private organisations. Certain parts of the POPI Act have already been effective since 11 April 2014, due to a proclamation signed by the President. The sections that became effective deals with the appointment of the Information Regulator.

On 11 January 2017, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Advocate Michael Masutha,  met with the Information Regulator Chairperson, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, who was appointed on 1 December 2016 to this position. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the scope of the support required for the effectiveness of the institutions and the effective implementation of the parts of the POPI Act which are, at this stage, not yet effective. This portfolio  has an important role to play in our constitutional programme.

Advocate Tlakula undertook to make the Information Regulator effective in promoting the Constitutional right to privacy. This appointment of the Information Regulator is a significant step in the process of promoting access to information as well as the protection of personal information. Due to the above appointment, the remaining provisions of the POPI Act, namely Chapters 1 to 4 and 6 to 12, is now closer to being ready for implementation.

The work of the Regulator will give effect to the right to privacy as enshrined in the Constitution by introducing measures to ensure that personal information is processed legally by responsible parties. The Regulator is, among others, empowered to monitor and enforce compliance by public and private bodies with the provisions of the POPI Act. The Regulator is also responsible for issuing codes of conduct for different sectors and to make guidelines to assist bodies with the development and application of codes of conduct.

We will keep a close eye on developments and post updates as it happens.

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