Government moves on Data Bill

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The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ) is to spend over R35 million to pilot systems for the Protection of Personal Information Bill, currently before Parliament. The department has previously said it could cost up to R3 billion to impliment the draft law.

Sandra Gomm, CFO of the DOJ, says the department has not secured funding for the full-scale implementation of the Bill and that the budget for the process would be allocated as it becomes available.

The implementation phase is set to begin on September 10 next year, ITWeb reports.

Business Unity SA estimates the total cost to business could exceed R2 billion, while the Banking Association of SA believes it could cost one of the four major banks R200 million to change IT systems to ensure compliance.

The department says it is considering a centralised implementation, which would keep its costs low.

The second option, which it estimates would cost R41 million, would involve the roll-out of relevant systems to all regional offices.

The Protection of Personal Information Bill, which was submitted to the justice minister in February, aims to promote the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies.

The Bill looks to establish minimum requirements for the processing of personal information and provide for the establishment of an information protection regulator.

Gomm notes that a critical component of the roll-out would be the complaints management system, which would have to cater for 60 000 offices and entities. The budget would also have to be increased to ensure IT requirements are met and there is enough IT and technical support for the system.

Hardware costs had not been finalised, and costing and implementation plans would be revisited to include equipment and software costs, the department says.

Other costs would include the rental of premises that would be used, the remuneration packages for a regulatory body, and the salaries for part-time adjudicators.

The DOJ says it is revisiting the three-year implementation time set out in the Bill, but no final decisions have been made.

Business associations have called government’s implementation plans for the Bill unrealistic, saying the three-year timeframe will only lead to surging costs and poor compliance.

Justice and constitutional development minister Jeff Radebe says the Bill is a priority and that government will move quickly to implement and enforce it.

Cabinet approved the Bill in August..



The draft law has been nine years in the making and will have a profound impact on business. The SA Law Commission started work on the Bill in 2000 and issued the first discussion paper in 2003.