So far, the outcomes of the team’s hard work include a revised Privacy Policy, which will be submitted to the NWU Council for approval in May or June this year. This has also led to an approved Privacy Statement added to every email and web page of the NWU.

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By this date the NWU, along with all other public and private organisations in South Africa that keep records containing anyone’s personal information, must provide documented proof to the Information Regulator of South Africa of plans put in place to protect this information.


This includes information such as contact, medical, demographic, employment, financial, educational and criminal information, private correspondence and even the personal opinions of and about a person or group.


Certain parts of the Act – which aims to find a workable balance between the right to privacy and other rights such as access to information – have been implemented since 2014, but the full Act will come into force on 1 July 2021.


This follows a 12-month grace period after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the commencement of the Act on 1 July 2020 and its enforcement from 1 July 2021.


Eric Swanepoel, senior records officer at the NWU, says the POPI Act is all about how the university collects, uses and archives personal information.


Team takes protecting personal information to heart


Eric explains that NWU registrar Prof Marlene Verhoef assembled a task team last year during the lockdown and just before the President’s official announcement on the POPI Act.


The team was formed in May 2020 and consists mainly of staff from the Corporate Information and Governance Services (CIGS) and the Records Management Department.


They report to the NWU’s Information Management Committee. This committee consists of representatives from Legal Services, the deputy vice-chancellors’ offices, Information Technology, Strategic Intelligence, Student Academic Lifecycle Administration (SALA) and People and Culture.


Making great strides


“Since last year, we have made great strides in ensuring compliance. The University Management Committee and deans assisted by helping us identify and appoint 170 information representatives from all over the NWU.”


Eric says their inputs included completing questionnaires and providing information flow diagrams for their faculties, departments and units, and other information-related data. This assisted the task team to do a privacy impact assessment, which is one of the requirements for POPI Act compliance.


“At this point, we are confident that the NWU is doing its part to ensure that personal information is protected and handled with care. We believe we are firmly on track to ensure compliance with the POPI Act.”


Eric Swanepoel, senior records officer at the NWU, is a member of the task team that is making sure that the NWU will be compliant with the full POPI Act that will come into force on 1 July 2021.

NWU’s POPI Information


Task team steers NWU’s

The NWU has a dedicated task team that is leading its compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI). The deadline for compliance is on 1 July this year.