Alumnus Appointed Group Head of Data Privacy for Top Bank
UKZN Law graduate Ms Amenda Makhetha is the new Group Head of Data Privacy at ABSA. She will lead the bank’s data privacy department, which ensures that the organisation processes personal data belonging to customers, employees and other stakeholders within the ambit of relevant privacy, data protection and other laws, amongst other things.
‘I have been in the compliance space for a while, more particularly in the area of data privacy which is something I am passionate about. Privacy is a constitutionally entrenched right in South Africa and the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act gives effect to this right through mandatory procedures and mechanisms for the handling and processing of personal information,’ said Makhetha.
The attorney who graduated with her LLB in 2009, is well experienced in the field of data privacy as she was previously responsible for group data privacy compliance at MTN Group Ltd and prior to that headed the data privacy and compliance function at MiX Telematics Ltd.
Makhetha said that her decision to pursue a career in law was motivated by her desire to serve as a voice for the voiceless.
‘I completed my articles at Legal Aid South Africa where I was intent on changing the narrative around state-funded legal representation. It gave me a lot of exposure to hard-core criminal matters and highlighted just how pressured the justice system is. I represented clients wholeheartedly and with diligence,’ she said.
After passing her board exams, Makhetha joined a law firm before taking the decision to start her own firm.
‘I soon found my appetite for criminal litigation dwindling. After I passed my board exams I joined a law firm and later started my own practice exercising my entrepreneurial muscle. I enjoyed the autonomy that running your own practice comes with and it was quite demanding. A few years later, I decided to go into corporate after advice from my mentor. I have been in the compliance space since and more particularly in the Data Privacy space, another area I am quite passionate about. It is a growing field and poses many welcomed challenges that propel one to constantly grow themselves,’ said Makhetha.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo