New sections of the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, will take effect as of 1st July. This according to President Cyril Ramaphosa who confirmed earlier today that section 14 of the Constitution will now be empowered by the 2013 POPI Act.

This is of particular importance to South African citizens, as it gives everyone the right to privacy, and specifically who their information is handled and processed.

“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,” noted Ramaphosa.

With government taking a phased approach when it comes to implementing elements of the POPI Act, and this latest section follows several others over the past few years.

For those keeping track, 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 1st July this year. Sections 110 and 114(4) shall are scheduled to commence on 30th June 2021, according to the presidency.

As the POPI Act outlines, the sections that will commence on 1st July are essential parts of the Act and comprise aspects that pertain to:

  • 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
  • General enforcement of the Act.

It therefore means that any and all organisations working within South Africa must ensure that the processing of personal information is done in a lawful way.

With regulators having warned organisations to ensure that they are fully POPI compliant regarding how they handle data, it will be interesting to see which of them will need to scramble between now and 1st July.

This latest implementation now gives the Act greater power, and consequently comes as welcome news for South African citizens.

[Image – Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash]