The Information Regulator has developed draft Guidelines on the Registration of Information Officers ("guidelines") as per the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 ("POPIA") and the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 ("PAIA") and has invited the public to submit written comments on the guidelines.

Information Officers are required to take up their duties only after registering with the Information Regulator.

The guidelines provide guidance and procedures for the:

  • registration of Information Officers with the Information Regulator;
  • updating the details of Information Officers;
  • designation of Deputy Information Officers; and
  • delegation of duties and responsibilities of the Information Officers to the Deputy Information Officers.

The guidelines make it clear that an Information Officer may be held criminally liable for offences in terms of POPIA and PAIA.

The guidelines set out the requirements for the designation of a deputy Information Officer, which must be in writing. Deputy Information Officers must be afforded sufficient time, adequate resources and financial means in order to carry out their duties and should be an employee at a level of management and above.

The guidelines, however, do not address a juristic person's ability to authorise an alternative person to be the Information Officer of that juristic entity, especially in respect of that person's seniority within the organisation.

Where an Information Officer delegates their authority to a deputy Information Officer, it must be done in a substantially similar form to the one provided in the guidelines.

All Information Officers are required to register with the Information Regulator using the prescribed registration form on or before 31 March 2021. The contact details of the Information Officers and deputy Information Officers will then be published on the Information Regulator's website.

Originally published July 23, 2020.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.