Personal Bill deliberation concludes

The protection of personal information bill is one step closer to being passed into law.

Parliament.

CAPE TOWN - The Protection of Personal Information Bill is one step closer to being passed into law.

On Thursday, Parliament's portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development finished deliberations on the bill.

Chair of the technical committee processing the bill, African National Congress (ANC) Member of Parliament (MP) John Jeffrey, said once the bill is passed into, law advertisers and businesses won't be allowed to send countless emails and text messages.

"The bill now says you can be approached once, and in order for you to receive more sms's or emails you actually have to tell the person sending them that you still want to receive them."

He said an independent information regulator will be established.

It will monitor whether conditions set out for the processing of personal information are being followed.

"If information is being incorrectly processed, breaching your privacy or in breach of the conditions that are set out in the bill, the person would have to complain to the regulator."

He said he hopes it will be passed into law by the end of 2012.

"There are further amendments which need to be drafted, but the intention is to finalise the bill as soon as possible at least during this current term of parliament."

He said the new legislation will not affect journalists.

"We had engagements with the South African National Editors Forum, representing journalists. There is an exemption in the bill for journalists who subscribe to a code of conduct. So, basically all journalists would be excluded."