South Africa’s parliament voted recently to appoint an Information Regulator and the National Assembly voted in favour of the nomination of the five candidates to run the regulator. On 26 October 2016, a government statement confirmed the appointment of Pansy Tlakula as full-time member and chairperson of the Information Regulator, along with other newly appointed officials, effective 1 December 2016.
Their appointment indicates that the Protection of Personal Information Act’s (POPI’s) remaining provisions coming into effect is imminent. Once the final provisions have been signed into law, companies that deal with personal information will have a grace period of one year within which to comply, with a possible extension in some circumstances to three years.
The legislation has a wide reach across businesses of differing sizes across many sectors: if companies gather, receive, hold or share information about their consumers/customer base, they will be affected, including, but not limited to, ID numbers, company registrations numbers, email addresses and physical addresses.