Presidency announces start of certain parts of POPI Act

Publication source:  Eyewitness News

The Presidency has on Monday announced the commencement of certain sections of the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act.

Implemented in 2013, the act gives effect to Section 14 of the Constitution, which provides that everyone has the right to privacy.

It also promotes the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies.

The Presidency said the new sections, which would commence on 1 July are essential parts of the act and pertain to, amongst others, the conditions for the lawful processing of information.

Data activist Murray Hunter said this was a good move: “What it means is that, starting from next week, there will be new laws in place that government, companies and organisations need to follow when they’re using or storing people’s personal information.”

The relevant sections and applicable dates are as follows:

  • Sections 2 to 38; sections 55 to 109; section 111; and section 114 (1), (2) and (3) shall commence on 1 July 2020.

  • Sections 110 and 114(4) shall commence on 30 June 2021.

“Section 114(1) is of particular importance as it states that all forms of processing of personal information must, within one year after the commencement of the section, be made to conform to the act. This means that entities (both in the form of private and public bodies) will have to ensure compliance with the act by 1 July 2021. However, it stands to reason that private and public bodies should attempt to comply with the provisions of the Act as soon as possible in order to give effect to the rights of individuals,” the Presidency said in a statement.

The statement further added that: “The reason for the delay in relation to the commencement of sections 110 and 114(4) – which are to commence on 30 June 2021 – is that these sections pertain to the amendment of laws and the effective transfer of functions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (PAIA) from the South African Human Rights Commission to the Information Regulator. In this regard, the Commission must finalise or conclude its functions referred to in sections 83 and 84 of PAIA and all mechanisms must be in place for the Regulator to take over these functions.”