SA's Information Regulator gets global role

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 23 Jun 2023
Advocate Pansy Tlakula, chairperson of the Information Regulator.
Advocate Pansy Tlakula, chairperson of the Information Regulator.

The Information Regulator of South Africa has been elected to serve as a member of the executive committee of the International Conference for Information Commissioners (ICIC).

In a statement, the regulator says the election took place at the 14th edition of the ICIC, held in the Philippines, where information commissions and right-to-information regulatory authorities from across the world were represented.

The regulator was nominated and elected to serve alongside other access to information regulatory bodies from Argentina, Bangladesh and Bermuda.

Headed by advocate Pansy Tlakula, the Information Regulator is, among other duties, empowered to monitor and enforce compliance by public and private bodies with the provisions of South Africa’s data privacy law: the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

As of 30 June 2021, the Information Regulator took over the regulatory mandate functions relating to the Promotion of Access to Information Act from the South African Human Rights Commission.

Following a one-year grace period to comply with POPIA, organisations that do not meet the conditions prescribed by the legislation will be held liable.

The ICIC is a global forum that connects regulatory authorities responsible for the protection and promotion of the right of access to information in order to improve transparency and accountability to the benefit of everyone.

According to the information watchdog, the ICIC 2023 was hosted in the Philippines under the theme: “Access to information as a response to the modern challenges of democracy”.

It says the discussions were centred on catapulting the process of developing right-to-information laws in countries that have not implemented this human right.

Furthermore, there was a workshop for the regulatory bodies curated to assist them to improve the implementation of the right of access to information.

“The election of the regulator to the executive committee of the ICIC is yet another feather in the cap in recognition of the regulator’s regional and global role as a champion of the right of access to information,” says the Information Regulator.

In addition to this new role, Tlakula serves as chairperson of the African Network of Information Commissions, a continental body.

Tlakula led the delegation of African information commissions to the Philippines at the conference, which ended on 21 June.

The watchdog says she moderated sessions and led discussions on the promotion of access to information and accountability in the digital era.

One of the focus areas is the digital platforms having to take responsibility for combating fake news, which can undermine the rights of access to information, it adds.

Following the election of the regulator to the executive committee of the ICIC, Tlakula addressed the conference and said: “We are pleased at being able to continue to contribute to the work of the ICIC.

“We hope that through our contribution, we will be able to bring more countries from the African continent to be members of this great organisation.”