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Complying With POPIA Is A Requirement For Most Businesses, No Matter Their Size: How?

The reason why the vast majority of businesses will need to comply with POPIA is because they collect and process personal information of ‘data subjects’ for some or other function of the business. Viewed against a POPIA background, the latter makes up a big chunk of the elephant to digest. We say this because the words used in the Act are defined to stretch wide:

  • Data subjectsare living human beings as well as entities, such as companies, close corporations and trusts.

  • Processing’ of information includes almost any activity with personal information, for example, where the business collects personal information from a client, customer, employee or service/goods provider to the business, and uses it to issue an invoice or receipt, create a client ledger, to perform a service for the client, to provide a reference for a previous employee, and so forth. The information is typically recorded on paper, or in a computer, stored for a given period, and later deleted or destroyed. Each of the underlined activities constitutes ‘processing’ of personal information. In the industry, one often explains to clients that processing of personal information refers to the whole lifecycle of the information in the hands of the business.

  • 'Personal information, in turn, is defined to include any piece of information imaginable as long as it relates ‘to an identifiable, living natural person, and where it is applicable, an identifiable, existing juristic person’.

Thus, no matter the size of the particular business, as soon as personal information of clients, employees and service providers are ‘processed’, compliance with POPIA is required. It is likely to be applicable to 99,9% of businesses: book shops, restaurants, hairdressers, furniture shops, online sales platforms, consulting services, accounting services, second-hand goods shops, attorney firms, estate agents, engineering firms, schools, homeowners’ associations, coffee shops, laundromats, training colleges, printing businesses, libraries – it is a long and varied list. Contact our professionals on 041 363 6044 or for more information or assistance.

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This article is not intended to constitute legal advice and is produced for information purposes only and to provide a general understanding of the legal position relating to the topic. It is recommended that advice relating to the specific circumstances of your situation be sought from our attorneys before acting upon the content of this article. This article was written at a particular point in time and accordingly may not always reflect the most recent legal developments, if any, applicable to the relevant topic. Kaplan Blumberg and its partners and/or employees, are not responsible for any consequences which may follow upon any decision taken to act upon the information provided in this article.

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