Today, 7 September 2016,  the South African National Assembly voted in favour of the appointment of the Information Regulator for POPI and PAIA. Parliament voted for the five nominated candidates to run the newly-formed office of the Information Regulator. This is not the first time Parliament has had this vote, but, this time, the vote was successful. This recommendation will be referred to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services.

The office of the Information Regulator will be made up of Adv Pansy Tlakula as the chair, Adv Cordelia Stroom and Mr Johannes Weapond as full-time members, and Prof Tana Pistorius and Mr Sizwe Snail as part-time members.

What can we expect from the regulator?

We are excited that Parliament has confirmed their recommendations. The office of the Information Regulator is an important office that could very well be the difference between whether Government and business respect the privacy rights of data subjects or not.

What is their first order of business?

One very important issue is the commencement date of POPI. Maybe the commencement date should be 24 May 2017, so that the end of the one-year POPI grace period (24 May 2018) can coincide with the end of the General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR) own grace period on the 24 May 2018. This would help create harmony for organisations that have to comply with both the POPI Act and the GDPR. Those organisations would be in the ideal situation of having one compliance project that covers all bases, POPI and the GDPR alike. That would ensure that they do not have to worry about first complying with POPI or the GDPR now and then, at a later point, complying with the other.

What actions you can take:

Watch highlights of what happened in Parliament

Whilst we disagree with some of the introductory comments, this short video gives you the highlights of what the various political parties said in Parliament before the vote.