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Draft Guidelines on the Registration of Information Officers Drawn Up

July 21, 2020

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

The Information Regulator seeks comment on Draft Guidelines on the Registration of Information Officers.

According to the notice, the “draft Guidelines are informed by section 55(2) which requires that a responsible party registers its Information Officer with the Regulator before taking up his or her respective duties in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 and the Promotion of Access to Information Act 2 of 2000”.

The Draft Guidelines focus on obligations and liabilities, duties of the information officer, designation of a deputy information officer, training of information officers/deputy information officers, delegation of authority by an information officer to a deputy information officer, procedure for the registration of the information officer, updating the details of an information officer and deputy information officer(s) and publication of the particulars of an information officer.

The Draft Guidelines are designed to 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.

Information officers are expected to complete and submit the registration form to the Regulator on or before 31 March 2021.

The particulars of an information officer and deputy information officer(s) should be updated on an annual basis or as and when it becomes necessary.

Written comment on the Draft Guidelines is invited until 16 August 2020 (close of business at 16h00).

Meanwhile, in a statement, the justice and correctional services minister, Ronald Lamola, commended the Competition Commission and the banking industry for steps towards transformation of the legal profession.

Various banks, including Standard Bank, Investec, FNB and Nedbank, recently committed to reform their conveyancing practices, following advocacy engagements over the past two years.

“The banks’ renewed commitment is in response to concerns raised by the Competition Commission on the relationship between banks and conveyancers, which the Commission found to be governed through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and structured in an ‘exclusionary and anti-competitive manner’’’.

According to the minister, banks have committed to review their existing SLAs and possibly appoint new conveyancers onto their panel on an annual basis.

“This means, in effect, that more historically disadvantaged law firms will now have the opportunity to serve on these panels and have access to conveyancing work.”

The minister described the moves as the first step towards a Legal Charter that will ensure that legal practitioners have equal opportunities in the local economy.

In a separate matter, the minister, during an address to the United Nations Office on Drugs, declared that, as part of implementing the Nelson Mandela Rules, the South African government is continuing to implement and strengthen measures to protect inmates from the ravages of Covid-19.

In terms of the special parole dispensation for low risk inmates, the department has, so far, released just below 7 000 inmates into community corrections.

Once the targeted 19 000 inmates have been released, overcrowding in local correctional centres will be reduced by 12.15%.

According to the minister, all inmates, both sentenced and remand, have been given PPEs and those who tested positive have access to quality healthcare.

Currently, the correctional services department has a total of 1 485 accumulative positive cases of Covid-19 for inmates.

“This is equivalent to 1.02% of the inmate population. Of this number, we have recorded 1 231 recoveries, thus resulting in only 239 active cases in our centres. However, we have unfortunately lost 15 inmates who succumbed to complications of Covid-19. Most of these inmates had comorbidities such as diabetes, HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and High Blood Pressure.”