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POPI newAlmost all organisations are faced with the challenge of achieving and maintaining compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013 (POPI Act). This handy checklist provides a proven step-by-step forty-action-point approach to compliance.

1. Formalise your POPI Act compliance project 

  1. Identify your relevant stakeholders
  2. Identify your project sponsor
  3. Identify your project manager
  4. Set high level scope, timescale, budget

2. Appoint an Information Officer

  1. Ensure alignment between your Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) and POPI Information Officer (IO)
  2. Decide whether the CEO can fulfill the IO function or needs a Deputy/Deputies (DIO)
  3. Agree IO/DIO  roles and responsibilities
  4. Complete the formal appointment process

3. Perform a gap analysis versus the POPI Act

  1. Set interim and final targets for compliance with the POPI Act. This does not mean slavishly shooting for 100% regardless of costs and benefits!
  2. Engage with stakeholders in the assessment
  3. Use an evidence-based approach
  4. Use the assessments for ongoing compliance monitoring

4. Analyse what and how Personal Information is processed

  1. Use a broad definition of record types as per the POPI Act (e.g. CCTV, biometric)
  2. Look at various aspects as required by the POPI Act (including consent, purpose, source, sharing, destruction)
  3. Consider user rights and their management
  4. Think broadly in terms of the types of devices where data is stored – and represents a security compromise risk

5. Implement POPI Act compliance policies

  1. Review existing relevant policies
  2. Ensure your policies are reasonable and appropriate
  3. Make sure your policies are enforceable
  4. Design your Privacy Notices for diverse stakeholder groups

6. Review your web sites

  1. Develop your checklist of what to review
  2. Agree the rating scheme to be used
  3. Use the opportunity to implement “best practice” such as Cookie notifications
  4. Develop and implement your remediation plan

7. Update / create your PAIA manual

  1. Confirm your organisation needs a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) manual and by when
  2. Confirm whether you are a Public or Private Body as per the PAIA
  3. Review the proposed contents of your manual
  4. Ensure your PAIA manual follows the prescribed layout and includes the necessary details

8. Implement POPI compliant PI management processes

  1. Look at the PI lifecycle: including acquisition, processing, retention, and destruction practices
  2. Develop reasonable and appropriate measures to ensure ongoing compliance
  3. These could include self-assessments, health-checks, formal audits
  4. Develop your dashboard for compliance

9. Train stakeholders about their roles in POPI Act compliance

  1. Design training according to their needs
  2. Ensure you treat user education not as a once-off series of activities but part of an ongoing commitment
  3. Leverage diverse training methods, including self-study, online, classroom, audio and video
  4. Look to special needs such as the IO/DIO roles

10. Make POPI Act compliance  “Business-As-Usual”

  1. Recognise that POPI Act compliance will be the “new normal” and work that way
  2. Build compliance into your products, services and processes – adopt “Privacy By Design”
  3. Ensure ongoing monitoring of the data protection / POPI ecosystem – legislation, regulations, opportunities and threats
  4. Build POPI into your everyday operations – make POPI “Business-As-Usual”

For more information and practical advice please contact the authors of this checklist who have the knowledge, skills and experience to support you in your journey to compliance with the POPI Act:

Dr Peter Tobin This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 083-922-3444
Mr John Cato This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 083-726-9228
Or visit

Acknowledgement: checklist was developed by Dr Peter Tobin & Mr John Cato. 

This article was submitted by Dr Peter Tobin.

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