PoPI is not a Flower – Part 2

As we pointed out last week, PoPI is yet another brick in the wall being built to safeguard the privacy of the public. Today we look at some important definitions.

Purpose of POPI

  • To promote the protection of personal information
  • To introduce certain conditions for processing personal information
  • To establish an Information Regulator and the issue of Codes of Conduct


There are certain key words which you need to understand to be able to grasp what will be required of you under this Act.

PoPi is the Processing of Personal Information entered into a Record by or for a Responsible Person or Party who is domiciled in South Africa.


This refers to any operation or activity, or any set of operations, whether or not by automatic means, concerning personal information, including:

  • the collection, receipt, recording, organisation, collation, storage, updating or modification of information
  • the dissemination by means of transmission or distribution of information
  • the merging, linking as well as restriction, erasure or destruction of information

“Personal Information”

This includes any information relating to an identifiable, living, natural person, and, where applicable, an identifiable existing juristic person and includes:

  • information relating to race, gender, age, marital status, religion, language, personal opinions, health, education, etc.
  • any identifying number, symbol, e-mail, contact details, etc.
  • correspondence of an implicit or explicit private or confidential nature
  • the views or opinions of another individual about the person


This refers to

  • any recorded information, regardless of form or medium, or whether it is automated or not
  • in the possession or under the control of the responsible party
  • regardless of whether it was created by the responsible party and
  • regardless of when it came into existence

“Responsible Party”

This is a public or private body or any other person, which alone or in conjunction with others, determines the purpose of, and means for, processing of personal information.


The person who processes personal information for a responsible party

“Data Subject”

This is the person to whom the personal information relates.

Next week look at some of the more practical implications of PoPI.

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