In 2009, the Protection of Personal Information Bill was tabled in Parliament and for the first time South Africans will have their constitutional right to the privacy of their personal information enforced. The Bill will bring South Africa in line with international data protection laws and at the same time will protect personal information collected and processed by public and private organisations.

On 11 September 2012, the Bill had its second reading in Parliament and was passed.  It will now be referred to the National Council of Provinces (“NCOP”). If the NCOP is satisfied with the Bill, which is likely given its widespread support, the NCOP will ratify the Bill and it will then be sent to the President for his signature.  Alternatively the NCOP may refer the Bill back to Parliament for further debate, but this is less likely.

There is a transitional period (of a minimum of 1 year) within which all processors of personal information will be required to comply with the act but in particular the provisions governing the lawful processing of personal information.

We believe in light of the above that this process of passing the Bill into law is starting to come to an end and may be enacted sooner rather than later.

This piece of legislation will impact on the manner in which private and public bodies process personal information. In the interim Dingley Attorneys are able to assist companies to assess the specific application of the various aspects prescribed by the Bill and consider the steps to be taken for compliance.