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The new ‘POPI’

Legal-Bench  The new ‘POPI’ Legal Bench1

aka PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION ACT

– PART 1 –

INTRODUCTION

As most of us are aware this has been around for a long time (Over 4 years) but it is eventually coming to fruition and should become law later this year. It is a new act that brings South Africa (‘SA’) in line with international data protection laws and it enacts SA citizens’ constitutional right to privacy. It is not to be confused with the much publicized Protection of State Information Bill.

It must be read with other relevant statutes such as:

  • Electronic Communications & Transactions Act, Act #25 Of 2002  (‘Ect’)
  • Promotion Of Access To Information Act, Act #2 Of 2002 (‘Paia’)
  • Regulation Of Interception Of Communications Act Act #70 Of 2002 (‘Rica’)
  • Consumer Protection Act Act #68 Of 2008 (‘Cpa’)

The foundation comprises eight principles or standards such as accountability to ‘data subject’ participation and it applies to:

  • the processing (collect, disseminate or merge) of
  • the ‘personal information (as defined e.g. race, gender, identity number, religion, education, blood type, etc )[‘PI’]
  • of the data subject (individual & in some cases a juristic person)[‘DS’]
  • ‘entered into a record (‘any form or medium in possession or under the control of a responsible person’: written, electronic, photo, graph)
  • by or for responsible person (‘private [‘natural person or partnership’] or public body’) i.e. ‘who determines the purpose and means of such processing’ [‘RP’].

It does NOT apply to for example, information that pertains to a personal or purely household matter.

It is certainly not a ‘toothless tiger’ and offences include hindering, obstructing or unlawfully influencing the Information Protection Regulator (‘IPR’) and contravening confidentiality – penalties for non-compliance are as follows: Offenders can be fined up to R10 million and imprisoned for between 12 months and 10 years!

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide a brief overview of legal matters pertaining to the travel and tourism industry and is not intended as legal advice. © Adv Louis Nel, BENCHMARK, May 2013.