The Protection of Personal Information Bill 2009 (POPI or the
Bill) was approved by the Portfolio Committee on Justice and
Constitutional Development (the Committee) today. This is the first
step towards the introduction of a new data protection regime for
South Africa and follows a lengthy period of deliberation on the
Bill by the Committee.
POPI proposes the introduction of a number of fundamental
principles aimed at protecting personal information held by
businesses and brings South Africa in line with international data
protection laws. Once it is enacted, POPI will become South
Africa's primary legislation dealing with the processing of
personal information. Its impact will be far-reaching and will
significantly affect the manner in which companies collect, store
and disseminate personal information. In general, POPI will apply
to the processing of personal information entered in a record by a
responsible party who is processing information in South Africa and
is domiciled in South Africa, or is domiciled elsewhere and is
doing more than merely forwarding personal information through
The Bill will now be considered and is likely to be passed by
the National Assembly before being referred to the National Council
of Provinces (NCOP) for consideration. The NCOP can accept or
reject the Bill or propose amendments to it. Once these
deliberations are finalised, and subject to any further amendments
that may be proposed by the National Assembly, the Bill will be
signed into law. It is anticipated that this process could take
anything from one to six months. The Bill also provides for a one
year grace period before its provisions become effective. This will
allow organisations some time to become compliant.
We are closely monitoring the progress of the Bill and will keep
you updated as and when developments occur.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Protection of Personal Information Bill proposes to impose stringent obligations on those with personal information.
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