New sections of the Protection of Personal Information Act to commence on 1 July 2020

Companies will have to ensure compliance with the new sections within one year of their commencement.

On 1 July 2020, a number of sections of the Protection of Personal Information Act 2013, will commence, including sections 2 to 38, sections 55 to 109, section 111, and section 114 (1), (2) and (3). 

According to a statement by the Presidency, these sections are essential parts of the Act and comprise sections which pertain to, among others: 

  • 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, and
  • general enforcement of the Act. 

Section 114 (1) is of particular importance as it states that all forms of processing of personal information must, within one year after the commencement of the section, be made to conform to the Act. This means that entities will have to ensure compliance with the Act by 1 July 2021. 

The Act gives effect to section 14 of the Constitution, which provides that everyone has the right to privacy, and promotes the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies. 

The statement says that the act has been put into operation incrementally, with a number of sections having been implemented in April 2014, including those relating to the establishment of the Information Regulator. 

Many of the remaining sections of the Act could only be put into operation at a later stage as they require a state of operational readiness for the Information Regulator to assume its powers, functions and duties in terms of the Act. 

Further sections 110 and 114 (4) will commence on 30 June 2021. 

According to the Presidency, the reason for the delay of these two sections is that they pertain to the amendment of laws and the effective transfer of functions of the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2000 from the South African Human Rights Commission to the Information Regulator.