All South African businesses need to ensure that they are compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), also known as the POPI Act, by 1 July 2021.
According to Safee Siddiqi, a Senior Associate at Gunston Strandvik Inc, confusion arose when the Information Regulator published a notice amending the commencement date in respect of section 58(2) of the POPI Act. People thought that the commencement date in respect of all of POPI Act’s provisions was extended, but this is not the case.
Section 58(2) of the POPI Act requires businesses who process personal information for certain, specified purposes (like credit reporting and credit bureaus) to obtain prior authorisation from the Information Regulator before it can do so. Those businesses now have until 1 February 2022 to obtain this authorisation.
As such, all other businesses that do not fit into the above category are still required to ensure that they comply with the POPI Act by 1 July 2021. That being said, Siddiqi believes that delays in enforcement by the Information Regulator are inevitable, ‘not least because its operational infrastructure is still a work in progress’.
She added that, ‘People aren’t even able to register Information Officers at present. The Information Regulator’s online portal for registration is down and, even when it was accessible, it didn’t work properly, preventing people from registering as Information Officers for more than one entity. Because of this, the Information Regulator confirmed that there would be no deadline for the registration of Information Officers.’
Despite this, Siddiqi advised that, ‘Businesses should take every step they can possibly take in order to comply with the POPI Act’s provisions, as soon as possible.’
Printing SA stated that, ‘As per the latest update from the InfoRegulator’s website, the date for registering an Information Officer (and Deputy Information Officer) for your business or your client’s business commenced on 1 May 2021 via a website. The server may be slow or erratic, but please be patient. The deadline for the registration of Information Officers has been lifted and you can still do so beyond 1 July 2021.’ Access the registration form here.
Printing SA held a free webinar where the new legislative regulations of the compliance with the POPI Act were discussed by Siddiqi. View the video below: