Updated: Feb 20, 2020
It is encouraging to note that the South African Information Regulator has delivered a letter to South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting the promulgation of the remaining provisions of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (“POPIA”) to take place on 1 April 2020 (the “Commencement Date”). Chairperson of the Information Regulatory, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, has advised ITWeb that in particular, “[the Information Regulator has] requested the president to bring the remaining sections of POPIA into effect in the new financial year” but is still awaiting a response from the President’s Office.
Apart from Sections 1; 112; 113 and Chapter 5 (part A) of the POPIA, the remainder of the POPIA is currently inoperative at the time of writing and awaits proclamation by the President Ramaphosa. The provisions in force have enabled the Information Regulator to organise and establish itself, having already developed its human capital and published Regulations and Guidelines for the development of codes of conduct. The rationale behind the remaining provisions of the POPIA is to ensure that the processing of all personal information and special personal information, by responsible parties (or their operators), adheres to the conditions for lawful processing and respects the rights of data subjects provided for under the POPIA.
It is, however, imperative to note that after the proclamation of the POPIA by the President, a transitional period will begin. In terms of Section 114(1) of the POPIA, the transitional period will require that:
Section 114(1): “[a]ll processing of personal information must within one year after the commencement of this section be made to conform to this Act”; and that
Section 114(2): “[t]he period of one year referred to in [Section 114(1)] may be extended by the Minister, on request or of his or her own accord and after consultation with the Regulator, by notice in the /Gazette/in respect of different class or classes of information and bodies by an additional period which period may not exceed three years.”