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Protection of Personal Information (POPI) is gaining momentum

The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) is gaining momentum as the Information Regulator’s portal for the registration of Information Officers and Deputy Information Officers is now available.

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) is a law that regulates the collection, processing, and storage of personal information by entities known as “responsible parties.” The act, which was signed into law in 2013, aims to protect the rights of individuals about their personal information and to balance those rights with the legitimate needs of responsible parties to collect, use, and disclose personal information for legitimate purposes.

Under POPIA, responsible parties must obtain the consent of individuals before collecting their personal information and must also take reasonable steps to protect that information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. Additionally, the Act includes rights for individuals for access, correction and deletion of their personal information. Organisations that process and store personal data, such as companies and government bodies, are required to comply with regulations set forth by the Information Regulator, the body responsible for enforcing POPI.

An Information Officer is a professional responsible for managing and disseminating information within an organisation. The role typically involves developing and implementing communications strategies, overseeing the production of written and visual materials and managing the organisation’s website and social media presence. They may also be responsible for responding to media inquiries and serving as the primary representative for the organisation. Additionally, the Information Officer may work with other departments within the organisation to ensure that information is being shared effectively and that messaging is consistent across all channels.

The specific duties of an Information Officer can vary depending on the organisation and industry. For example, in a government agency or non-profit, an Information Officer might focus on developing messaging to communicate with the public, while in a private company, their role may be more focused on internal communications and developing content for investor relations or marketing.

A Deputy Information Officer is a professional who serves as a second-in-command to the Information Officer. The role typically involves assisting the Information Officer with the management and dissemination of information within the organisation, and may also include responsibilities such as:

  • Supporting the development and implementation of communications strategies
  • Assisting with the production of written and visual materials
  • Helping to manage the organisation’s website and social media presence
  • Responding to media inquiries and serving as a secondary spokesperson for the organisation
  • Assisting with internal communications and messaging consistency across all channels
  • Acting as the information officer in their absence

The Deputy Information Officer naturally works closely with the Information Officer and other members of the communications team to ensure that the organisation’s message is being communicated effectively and consistently. They may also be responsible for managing a team of communications professionals and providing guidance and training to others within the organisation who are involved in communications activities.

Depending on the size of the organisation and the number of people reporting to the Information officer, the Deputy Information Officer may have a relatively high level of autonomy and be responsible for overseeing several specific projects or programs.