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Varonique Philander

Varonique Philander, Founder and Managing Director of Chaya Legal

The biggest misconception held by small firms regarding POPI compliance is they think the size of the organisation determines how they have to deal with the protection of the information they keep. 

However, this is untrue as all sizes of businesses have to consider how they make a culture shift when it comes to the treatment of the information they keep, says Varonique Philander of Chaya Legal, who is the expert guest on the upcoming episode of the Small Business Development Practitioner Webinar Series.

This webinar series is offered as a partnership between the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA), the Institute of Business Advisors Southern Africa (IBASA) and the Entrepreneurial Planning Institute (EPI). The objective of the webinar series is to provide business support practitioners with access to Continuous Professional Development (CPD) so that they can better serve the needs of their small business clients.


The Protection of Personal Information Act (which is commonly referred to as POPI) came into effect in July 2021 to direct businesses and organisations in the way they deal with the information they hold about their employees, customers and suppliers.

“Compliance with POPI is not concerned with the size of the firm or organisation,” says Philander. “In fact, size has little to do with compliance as the POPI Act focuses on whether your firm or organisation processes personal information of an individual or legal entity in South Africa.”

Owners of many small firms — and those advising them — think POPI compliance can be achieved by simply putting certain documents in place without understanding the purpose of POPI. Philander will explain, during the upcoming webinar, what is required to be compliant and how smaller firms may adopt an appropriate approach towards POPI and changing the way it manages information.

Says Philander: “The POPI legislation aims to grant privacy rights to individuals and legal entities which allows them to seek remedies when their privacy rights are violated. This places a duty on organisations who process personal information to do so responsibly.  That’s why I say, POPI compliance is more than just a checkbox exercise, it’s a culture shift and we need to find new practical ways to keep personal information protected.  



“POPI – What you must guide your small business clients in doing” with small business governance expert Varonique Philander 

Thursday 26 August 2021 at 11h30



In the upcoming episode of the Small Business Development Practitioner Webinar Series, delivered by SEDA, IBASA and the EPI, small business governance expert Varonique Philander will explain how business advisors can support their clients in adopting an appropriate organisational culture so that POPI compliance does not become a tick-box activity, but is ingrained in the way the firm or organisation operates.

Philander is the Founder and Managing Director of Chaya Legal and IBASA’s Company Secretary. She completed her BCom LLB in 2011 at Nelson Mandela University and has been practicing law for five years post articles. Her practice areas include contract drafting, contract reviewing, company law, property law and general advisory. She has also lectured business law, company law and commercial law at Damelin College and is an avid business mentor with programmes such as CVC Africa’s Transnet Programme and the GIBS Grow Your Biz programme, in association with the Walmart Foundation.


  • Christoff Oosthuysen is the webinar host, Founding CEO of the Entrepreneurial Planning Institute (EPI) and General Partner at Seed South Capital.