In her latest briefing session on 13 February 2017, advocate Pansy Tlakula, Chairperson of the Information Regulator, elaborated on the work that the office of the Information Regulator will be focused on and the progress they have made thus far, namely:
The Department of Justice informed the members of the Information Regulator that the Information Regulator’s office should be operational in two years, based on the Department’s experience. However the Information Regulator is committed to shortening this period.
POPI requires the Minister of Justice to make regulations relating to the establishment of the Information Regulator. A zero draft has been prepared and submitted to the Law Advisors Office for finalisation. It is the Information Regulator’s intention that this will be tabled in Parliament before the end of 2017.
“Ensuring protection of your personal information and promotion of access to information”
The Chairperson stressed that the Information Regulator is not a POPI regulator but an Information regulator. Its mission is to ensure that the rights of access to information and privacy are equally protected and enjoyed and that neither is given greater importance.
The Information Regulator is currently housed in the Department of Justice and Correctional Services office building in Pretoria until the Department of Public Works designates a permanent base for it.
POPI empowers the Information Regulator to establish governance structures to ensure the proper performance of its functions. The following committees have been established:
- Policy and Governance Committee, chaired by the Chairperson;
- Enforcement Committee, represented by Mr Snail ka Mtuze;
- Legal and Compliance Committee, chaired by advocate Lebogang Stroom-Nzama;
- Complaints and Dispute Resolution Committee, chaired by Professor Tana Pistorius;
- Finance Risk and ITC Governance, chaired by advocate Collen Weapond; and
- Outreach and Research Committee, chaired by Mr. Snail ka Mtuze.
Staff of the Information Regulator
Having consulted with the Minister of Finance, the members of the Information Regulator are currently engaging with the National Treasury regarding the appointment of the chief executive officer of the Information Regulator. External members will also be appointed, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, to the committees mentioned above.
South African Human Rights Commission
The Information Regulator will take over the function of enforcing the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2000 from the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). They have begun this process and have concluded a memorandum of understanding with the SAHRC.
A number of benchmarking visits to the UK, Germany and other countries have been planned so that the members of the Information Regulator can learn from the experiences of regulators in those countries. Plans are also underway to identify African countries and countries in the developing world, such as Mexico, to learn from.