South African Corporate law update: Effective data and information management due to become imperative

Most of us are aware of the protection of personal information Act or “POPI” and that is aimed at regulating the use of and the safeguarding of personal information, generally. POPI has to a large extent elaborated on some of the principles introduced by the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (“CPA”) regarding client information and the general ability to apply this specifically in marketing efforts.


Another recent South African Corporate law update; being the Draft Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill, has now been released for comment (comment deadline: 30 November 2015) which deals with among other aspects; the collection, storage and management of electronically kept personal information. This will further increase the already introduced number of obligations to be placed on service providers.


According to the Institute of Directors, “the importance of this law can perhaps be highlighted by the fact that 32 related laws appear, as a first exercise, in the related laws column (on the left side of Draft Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill).”


Non-compliance by electronic communications service providers

Section 64 proposes offences being created for electronic communications should a service provider fail to perform any of the following:

  1. To inform its clients of cybercrime trends which affect or may affect them;
  2. Establish procedures for its clients to report cybercrimes to it;
  • Inform its clients of measures which can be taken in order to safeguard itself against cybercrimes;
  1. Immediately report to the National Cybercrime Centre when becoming aware that its computer network or electronic communications network is being used to commit a cybercrime; or
  2. Preserve any information which may be of assistance to the law enforcement agencies in investigation the offence.


Personal information cybercrimes


Furthermore,the Draft Bill (section 3) proposes creating amongst others the following offences in summary, relating to “personal information” (as defined in POPI):


  1. Personal information abuse: Unlawfully and intentionally retaining, possessing, obtaining or providing personal information of another person or entity to commit a cybercrime;
  2. Personal information misuse: Unlawfully and intentionally applying or making use of the personal information of another to commit a cybercrime; and
  • Personal information possession: Possession of personal information of another person or entity where there is a reasonable suspicion it was used or may be used to commit a cybercrime.


These aspects are quite clearly far reaching and the legal developments around the use of personal information are clearly only expanding and increasing. It is imperative that suppliers (businesses) are aware of and do not delay implementing the provisions of POPI in their businesses.

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