Accountability: Up to R10 million in fines or 10 years in jail!

The consequence of non-compliance to the PoPI Act could result in fines of up to R10 million and/or up to 10 years in jail time for some offences. As a result the act has serious implications for representatives such as company directors as well as compliance- and information officers. An Information Regulator (who will be responsible to monitor and enforce the act) has as yet to be appointed, at the time of writing this article.

It must also be noted that the Act requires you to report any breaches of personal information (see related discussion here). As such, violations could cause considerable reputational harm to a business and even result in legal action being taken against the business, which can include damage claims. Ignoring PoPI and/or not taking immediate action to address its requirements is therefore not an option. You only have one year to change your way of operation, educate staff and update or implement systems, so action should be taken sooner rather than later to unify your systems and resources or else you will not be ready in time.

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