IRSA concerned about political parties’ compliance with POPIA

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The Information Regulator South Africa (IRSA) has expressed concerns regarding the lack of full compliance with the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) among political parties.

The organisation evaluated approximately 14 political parties represented in Parliament and other municipalities, finding none of them fully compliant with PAIA.

IRSA has been conducting investigations into the compliance of political parties, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), Government Departments, and JSE-listed companies with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and PAIA.

IRSA’s Executive Director for Education & Communications Mukelani Dimba says, “There are certain requirements that they need to fulfill in compliance with the legislation. For example, they need to have what is called PAIA manuals which is the document that as a member of the public, you would look to see what kind of information the political party holds and how you can access that information.”

“We found that in instances where they need to keep a list of their donors in terms of the party funding act, they need to keep the list and make the list available. We also found that there was general non-compliance with that requirement as well,” Dimba added.

IRSA also reported receiving a complaint against the South African Revenue Service (SARS) regarding the disclosure of former President Jacob Zuma’s tax records.

IRSA’s Chairperson Advocate Pansy Tlakula says there are ongoing assessments following the complaint.

IRSA’s executive for POPIA, Ntsumbedzeni Nemasisi, noted that while this is the second complaint against SARS, it is the first to be investigated. The complaint against SARS was received in March 2024.

“We anticipate that it will be finalised by May but in terms of the question as to whether the regulator has received a complaint before against SARS, Yes we have received a complaint against SARS before,” says Nemasisi.

SARS under fire for disclosing Zuma’s tax records