President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that more provisions of the Protection of Personal Information (Popi) Act will come into force on 1 July 2020, giving the legislation more bite to protect consumers.
The Popi Act gives effect to section 14 of the constitution, which provides that everyone has the right to privacy. The act promotes the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies and seeks to balance the right to privacy against other rights, such as access to information.
The act has been put into operation incrementally, with a number of sections implemented in April 2014. Some of these sections include those relating to the establishment of the Information Regulator. The members of the Information Regulator took office on 1 December 2016.
“Many of the remaining provisions of the act could only be put into operation at a later stage as they require a state of operational readiness for the Information Regulator to assume its powers, functions and duties in terms of the act,” the presidency said.
“Much has since been done in this regard, culminating in the commencement of a number of remaining sections which has now been proclaimed by the president.”
Various sections will come into force on 1 July, with other sections commencing on 30 June 2021.
What it means
The sections which will commence on 1 July are essential parts of the act and comprise sections which pertain to, among others things:
- The conditions for the lawful processing of personal information;
- The regulation of the processing of special personal information;
- Codes of conduct issued by the Information Regulator;
- Procedures for dealing with complaints;
- Provisions regulating direct marketing by means of unsolicited electronic communication, and general enforcement of the act.
One of the sections taking effect next month 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.” — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media