Legal Update (SA) - The Protection of Personal Information Act Enacted

The Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 hereinafter referred to as (“POPI”) was published in the Government Gazette on 26 November 2013 and has been signed by the President which effectively means it is law.

According to section 14 of the Constitution “everyone has the right to privacy. POPI essentially aims to protect this very right that is the privacy of individuals in South Africa. POPI will achieve this by regulating the processing of people’s personal information for example names, identity numbers, addresses, phone numbers, religion and sexual orientation.

POPI establishes the office of the Information Regulator, which has the responsibility of investigating reported breaches of confidentiality and monitoring compliance with the Act.

POPI requires “Responsible Parties” this includes those who control over personal information, e.g. landlords, property owners, property managers , businesses etc to implement measures to protect confidentiality of private information. It also requires “Responsible Parties” to have an in-house Information Officer who will monitor compliance with POPI.

POPI is based on eight principles which address how personal information is to be collected, what it may be collected for, the manner of retaining and dealing with the information and how it is to be dealt with at the end of a relationship with a person.

POPI is an Act but it is not effective yet. It will take effect on a date still to be announced by the President. “Responsible Parties” will have a year to comply with the Act once the President announces its effective date. 
 
Released by: SAPOA

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