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Pillars of Justice

New regulations are on the horizon for residential complexes, estates, and gated communities.

The Residential Communities Council (RCC) is in the process of revising its code of conduct concerning the handling of personal information.

The RCC serves as the representative body for the Residential Community Industry, which includes estates, complexes, gated communities, homeowners associations (HOAs), and various other entities.

Recently, the RCC introduced a proposed code of conduct known as the RCC Code, and it was officially made public by the Information Regulator on September 8, 2023. This publication follows the requirements outlined in section 61(2) of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA), which mandates that the regulator must notify the public when contemplating the issuance of a code of conduct.

Legal experts, including Peter Grealy, Wendy Tembedza, Karl Blom, Prineil Padayachy, and Sanelisiwe Mthalane from Webber Wentzel, have highlighted key features of the new RCC code. These features include:

  1. Encouraging responsible practices among RCC members when handling personal information.

  2. Establishing clear procedures for submitting, evaluating, and resolving complaints against the RCC or its members.

  3. Providing guidelines for the lawful processing of personal information by various stakeholders within the residential community industry.

  4. Outlining guidelines for creating a structured complaints handling process for RCC members.

It's important to note that the new Code of Conduct will be obligatory for all RCC members, as it becomes a mandatory requirement for RCC membership. Additionally, it will also apply to third parties who have entered into agreements with RCC members for the processing of personal information.

Members who fail to comply with the new RCC code may, at the discretion of the RCC, undergo a membership review conducted by an assessor or independent adjudicator appointed by the RCC.

Broadly speaking, the code of conduct is aimed at designating HOAs as accountable entities when dealing with the private information of residents. It also seeks to place constraints on the collection and processing of private information in alignment with the provisions of the POPI Act.

This code holds particular significance since estates and gated communities often accumulate a substantial amount of personal data from property owners, residents, and visitors, which may even include biometric data. Therefore, ensuring that this private data is obtained with proper consent and adheres to the limitations of the POPI Act is of utmost importance.

The RCC Code is currently open for public input until Friday, September 22, 2023. All comments should be directed to the Information Regulator at POPIACompliance@inforegulator.org.za.


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