POPI: The Protection of
Personal Information Act

A guide for small business and private practice

› POPI Compliance ⇠ You are here

November 2017

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) will soon be in effect. Actually, it’s already law – we’re just waiting for a commencement date to be announced before the end of 2017.

This law applies to all South African businesses that collect personal information of clients and service providers.  

Ignoring the Act will make you liable for large fines and jail time. Don't let this happen to you. 

What is the Protection of Personal Information Act?

The Protection of Personal Information Act supports our right to privacy. It protects you by requiring that all personal information that's held by any business is managed responsibly.

The Act controls what can be done with our personal information. It also gives you the right to take action if your information is not managed responsibly.

In September 2016 Advocate Pansy Tlakula became the first Information Regulator. This is a new office created to ensure that POPI is enforced. The Information Regulator can take action against businesses that fail to take reasonable steps to protect personal information.

What do I need to do?

If you own a business you need to take action and make sure you manage the personal information that you get from clients according to the Act.

You should do two things: 

  1. Find out HOW the Protection of Personal Information Act affects you and WHAT you must do to comply, and 
  2. Find out HOW to reach full POPI compliance.

How to solve your POPI problem

The first thing I did was to read the Act. You can get your copy of the Protection of Personal Information Act here

While doing research to understand POPI I came across an impressive free online seminar that gave me all the information I need to understand the new Act. It was great because it saved me time and money and I quickly realised I need to update my passwords!

If you want to find out how to comply with POPI this free seminar for small business owners is a practical and easy choice. You can register for the seminar here or click on the graphic below. It will take an hour of your time and it’s the best investment you can make.


I’ve managed a practice as a psychologist for 16 years. In this time I’ve collected the names, addresses, emails and telephone numbers of all my clients. I’m sure you’ve done the same.

Very soon all of us small business owners will have to tell the Government where we keep this information, how we keep it safe - and we’ll have to tell them if we lose it.

The law applies to every business that collects personal information of clients and service providers.  

That’s all of us in the healthcare industry. Doctors, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and all allied healthcare providers.

Whatever business you run, even if you work alone or employ staff, we all have to comply.

Learn how to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act

If I keep your personal information I want to ensure that it is safe - and I want all my client's to know that their information is safe too. 

For these reasons my practice will be fully compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act. We do have time but I don’t want to be stressing at the last minute.

Four ways The Protection of Personal Information Act affects you: 

  1. You must adopt it. It's not optional. If you lose a laptop, cellphone or an external drive that contains client, staff or supplier information you will be held liable.

  2. Pleading ignorance will not help you.  If information is stolen you face jail-time or a fine of up to 10 million Rand.

  3. If the Information Regulator proves you did not protect the information  you are liable for a criminal sentence with jail-time of up to 10 years. 

  4. And finally, if you are found guilty of disregarding the Act the person whose information you shared/lost will sue you. They cannot lose. The government has already done the hard work.

Click here to register for the free online seminar on what each of us in private practice or small business must do regarding the Protection of Personal Information Act.

The seminar:

  • shows you what needs doing.
  • discusses the impact on your business.
  • tells you why it's important to address it now.
  • And answers your questions.

The 60-minutes spent is a good investment in your practice or small business. It's the most effective solution I've found and I'm convinced it's the most effective solution in South Africa.

Once you've seen the information you can make a decision.

If you choose to put it on hold make a note in your diary for six months from now to look at it again. By then the deadline to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act will be common knowledge.


PS: Have you ever had your laptop or cellphone stolen? Unfortunately, the reality is that it’s easy to have your laptop stolen in South Africa. It's even easier to lose your cell phone or tablet. 

If you don't comply with POPI and your unprotected laptop (or tablet or smart phone) gets lost or stolen then you face real trouble. You're facing fines up to R10 million and/or 10 years in jail. How will your business survive this?

Keep the reputation of your business intact and attract new customers who can trust their information is safe and protected.

The free online POPI seminar will tell you what you need to know and will show you how you can simply and easily comply. Just click on the image below and you're on your way.

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