POPI News: Appointment of the Information Regulator

“Are you ready for POPI??” This question has been asked so many times in marketing material over the last couple of years. Answering this question has lately become very relevant, since the POPI Information Regulator has (at last) been appointed!!  Advocate Pansy Tlakula, former chairperson of the South African Independent Electoral Commission, has been appointed as the chairperson of the office of the Information Regulator.  The remainder of the office is made up of four others, two full-time members and two part-time members. Advocate Cordelia Stroom and Johannes Weapond will fulfil the full-time positions with Professor Tana Pistorius and Sizwe Snail as the part-time members.  The office of the Information Regulator will be effective from 1 December 2016 and members will hold office for five years. They will be eligible for reappointment after the first five-year period.

The office of the Information Regulator has been granted widespread powers, amongst others, to investigate alleged breaches of POPI as the office provides a platform for data subjects to approach with any complaints.

With the appointment of the Information Regulator we are likely to receive a date for the commencement of POPI relatively soon.  This will result in the remainder of the Act commencing and will grant responsible parties a “grace period” of one year from the effective date to become compliant with the Act.  The sections of POPI which have already commenced are:

  • Section 1, the definitions clause;
  • Part A of Chapter 5, which deals with the establishment, staffing, powers and meetings of the Information Regulator;
  • Section 112 which authorises the Minister and Information Regulator to make regulations; and
  • Section 113, the procedure for making regulations.

The Information Regulator has been granted a budget by the Minister of Finance. This budget is to be used for the establishment and capacitation of the office. R10 million has been set aside for the 2016/2017 financial year, R26 million for the 2017/2018 financial year and R27 million for the following financial year.

What we can expect to happen next:

  1. Regulations will be promulgated;
  2. And the commencement date will be announced.

Contact us for more information on all POPI questions.

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