Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA)

05 July 2021 | Royston Pillay, Registrar

Dear colleagues and students

As you will be aware, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) has come into effect. The University of Cape Town (UCT) has established a Privacy Programme aimed at ensuring that the principles of POPIA become part of our way of working. For general information on the principles of POPIA, see the USAf POPIA Guideline for public universities as well as the two infographics on POPIA as distributed previously. An awareness training session was offered on 7 June 2021. The video recording of this training is available online. You may connect to the Teams group to access the internal repository for UCT POPIA information. This repository will evolve over time. Members of the UCT community are strongly advised to join this Teams group in order to access information related to UCT’s POPIA programme.

The University is in the process of finalising a Data Privacy Policy which sets out how the University complies with POPIA as well as the roles and responsibilities of:

  • the Information Officer: the Vice-Chancellor
  • Deputy Information Officers: at UCT these duties will be undertaken by the Chief Operating Officer, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and the Registrar
  • Deans and Executive Directors
  • all staff who handle personal information.

Training will be made available to ensure that employees acquire the knowledge and receive the support they need to ensure that the University complies with the requirements of the legislation.

POPIA also applies to research activity. The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) is in the process of drafting a POPIA Code of Conduct for research activities. UCT is represented on the steering committee and is monitoring this process closely.

In the interim, the POPIA team is preparing an internal guideline for researchers. The POPIA team will also host training sessions to assist in processing research data containing personal information.

Please follow further announcements on new policies, training and other related information. Please direct further questions to the privacy team at


Royston Pillay

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