How to Register An Information Officer For POPIA and PAIA

POPIA and PAIA are two terms that South African businesses have had to familiarise themselves with over the last couple of years. In order to stay compliant, it’s important to register an information officer that will act as a point of contact between your business and the Information Regulator. If you’re only just starting to look at getting compliant, you’ve arrived at the right place. We’ll give you a brief overview of what both acts are all about, as well as giving you a heads up about the process to follow in order to meet the compliance deadline in the coming months.

What Is PAIA and POPIA?

PAIA refers to the Promotion of Access to Information Act, a freedom of information law that came into effect over twenty years ago in South Africa. It was designed to give right of access to any information held by the State, as well as to regular personal information kept by private bodies. The idea was to help protect the rights of these individuals. POPIA refers to a more recent act, namely the Protection of Personal Information Act of 2013. It is directly related to data protection in South Africa, aiming to give effect to the constitutional right to privacy, as well as balancing competing interests and rights related to access of private information. The POPI act is meant to offer protections from security breaches, discrimination and theft, encouraged by responsibility, security and consent.

Submitting a Registration Form

If you’re hoping to get POPIA and PAIA compliant, registering and submitting an information officer is a good place to start. The form can be downloaded from the Information Regulator of South Africa’s website right here, filled in and scanned physically or digitally, and returned to them. At the moment, the deadline for submitting this form is 1 July 2021, so time is slowly starting to run out. If you’re seeing this for the first time here, it’s important to get the details through to the Information Regulator as soon as possible, after deciding who will take responsibility for the role out of the current team members in the office. 

Signing the information office compliance document

Registration Form: Parts A, Part B & Part C

Part A of the registration form requires basic details of the information officer, their designation, as well as contact information. A direct and general e-mail address is required, so the Information Regulator has more than one address to reach the person. Part B of the form is dedicated to the deputy information officers, and asks for the same information for this person. Part C has more to do with the organisation itself, and requires details on the type of body, the full name, and registration number, if applicable. 

Final Registration: Parts D & E

The final two parts of the form are relatively straightforward. Part D is short a declaration that needs a date signature from the information officer themselves. Part E is not directly related to the registration itself, and is used for statistical purposes. It requires you to choose the sector your body practices in, which should only take a couple of minutes. Once this is done, the registration is ready to be submitted. For more information on how POPIA and PAIA work, or if you need help managing your compliance, feel free to contact the team at Alan Levy Attorneys directly, who will be able to assist you swiftly, and affordably.  

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