'Financial institutions must be held accountable'

Criminals are using bank employees to gain access to bank accounts.

A businessman says employers that don't comply with the Protection of Personal Info Act must be held accountable.

CAPE TOWN - A Cape Town businessman says financial institutions must be held accountable if they fail to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act.

The Act became law in November last year, but a commencement date has not yet been set out by President Jacob Zuma.

The new legislation clearly defines how institutions must keep consumers' personal information secure.

The businessman says several banking institutions are ignoring the Act as any employee can easily access detailed client information.

Criminals are using employees on the inside to gain access to bank accounts.

The employee gets paid R50 per bank statement and in turn the middle man is selling it to a third party for as much as R1,600.

It's taken eight years for the Protection of Personal Information Act to be signed into law.

But the gaping loophole is that institutions have a year to comply with it.

After the so-called grace period any organisation that neglects to keep personal information secure can face a jail term and a stiff penalty of up to R10 million.