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What happens if your business doesn’t comply with the POPI ACT?

Article written by Riaan Conrad Conradie (SEESA – Upington)

The new Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) is in full swing. What are the consequences if you do not comply with this Act? These are some frequently asked questions.

The penalties and fines as stipulated in Section 107 of the POPI Act state that if you do not adhere to, or if you are convicted of an offence in terms of this act, you will be liable, in thecase of a contravention of the following Sections:

  • Section 100: Obstruction of Regulator;
  • Section 103 (1): Failure to comply with enforcement or information notices;
  • Section 104 (2): Offences by witnesses;
  • Section 105 (1): Unlawful acts by a responsible party in connection with account numbers;
  • Section 106(1) (3) (4) : Unlawful acts by third parties in connection with account numbers;

To a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years, or to both a fine and such imprisonment.

The following sections will get you a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months, or both a fine and such imprisonment:

  • Section 59: Failure to notify processing subject to prior authorisation;
  • Section 101: Breach of confidentiality;
  • Section 102: Obstruction of execution of warrant;
  • Section 103(2): Failure to comply with enforcement or information notices;
  • Section 104(1): Offences by witnesses.


POPI provides a unique and effective way for dealing with any of the above-mentioned contraventions.
It is essential to know that the Regulator does not require a Court order to institute a fine for negligence or non-compliance in favour of the aggrieved party in terms of the POPI Act and that any Magistrate court will have jurisdiction.

POPI further provides for civil remedies where the court may award amounts that, in its discretion, are just and equitable. Such amounts include:

  • Payment for damages as compensation for losses suffered by a data subject as a result of a breach of a provision of POPI,
  • Aggravated damages;
  • Interest;
  • and Costs on a scale as determined by the court.

Furthermore, the Regulator may institute administrative fines up to an amount of R10 million. Should you require more information or assistance, please contact your SEESA Consumer Protection & POPI legal advisor, alternatively, “SMS” the word “SEESA” to 45776, and one of our legal advisors will contact you.

About the Author:
Riaan Conrad Conradie started his career at SEESA Upington on 01st of October 2020 as a Consumer, POPI and Labour legal advisor, after 3 years in the civil litigation arena as a Candidate Attorney and Cost Consultant. He obtained his LLB degree at the University of the Free State.

References:

Protection Of Personal Information Act (POPIA)

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