Latest on POPI

The Protection of Personal Information Act features fairly regularly in the news, and training offers are abundant, but not yet really necessary, in our view, as the Act only takes effect one year after the announcement of the commencement date, which is subject to the appointment of the Information Regulator.

The Michalsons website provides the following information:

POPI became law in 2013. In terms of the Act, Parliament must now appoint an Information Regulator. Parliament asked for nominations for the position of the Information Regulator. Candidates were nominated by 14 August 2015 and we’ve been waiting for Parliament to make the appointment. However, Parliament asked for a meeting on the role of the Information Regulator. The meeting was held on 11 November 2015.

The outcome of that meeting was that Parliament requested another workshop to be set up in 2016 for all relevant stakeholders to discuss various questions. Michalsons questions the need for such a workshop:

All of these issues were discussed as part of the 10 year long legislative process of enacting POPI. Why is Parliament now reluctant to appoint the Information Regulator? Could it be that Government (public bodies) have realised that the Information Regulator is an independent body (like the Public Protector and other Chapter 9 institutions) that could hold government responsible for failing to protect the personal information of people that government processes?

In the absence of other information, we presume the process to appoint the Information Regulator is on hold until after the workshop… With local government elections in August 2016, we anticipate that the POPI commencement date will be in the second half of 2016.

The latest news available appears to be the following excerpt from the 2016 National Treasury Budget:

2016 Budget Allocation for POPI Regulator

For its establishment and capacitation, the Minister of Finance allocated:

  • R10 million for the 2016/17 financial year,
  • R26 million for 2017/2018, and
  • R27 million for 2018/2019.

So it seems the old military adage still applies: Hurry up and wait.

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