The Information Regulator has urged all political parties to ensure that they lawfully process the personal information of voters when campaigning ahead of the November 1 local government election.
The regulator also pointed out that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), independent candidates and political parties have a responsibility to ensure that the personal information of voters is safe against loss or misuse.
“During election campaigning, the processing of personal information of data subjects, who are voters in this instance, is inevitable. Therefore, the Information Regulator reminds all political parties that they must ensure lawful processing of personal information as prescribed in the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) 4 of 2013,” it said.
The regulator laid out set conditions for the lawful processing of personal information and has engaged with political parties and a Special Provincial Party Liaison Committee to ensure that POPIA is complied with.
It also noted that there are some exceptions to the applicability of POPIA, adding that Section 26 prohibits the processing of special personal information, which includes the political persuasion of voters.
However, this will not apply to the information of members and employees of political parties in which case section 31 of POPIA says that such processing will be allowed to achieve the aims and principles of the political party.
“To ensure that we protect the constitutional rights of the citizens of South Africa all political parties and candidates must uphold the law and comply with the requirements in POPIA. The Regulator continues to provide guidance and educate responsible parties in applying this law and protecting the rights of citizens,” the regulator stressed.