This article attempts to describe the formation of public choice and the role
that government should play in accommodating this in its regulatory environment.
The need to foster institutions arises from certain intrinsic qualities of
society at large, such as the limited capacity of individuals to address public issues.
Collective needs are often expressed and one of the roles of an institution such as
government is to address these needs. It is assumed that government should, in the
design of optimal public policy, adhere to human response and take cognisance
of public choice. There is evidence that the general public in South Africa are
concerned about the protection of their personal information when engaging in
transactions with business enterprises and that they expect government to enforce
protection. Although very strict information privacy laws exist in many countries
of the international world, South Africa is still a surprising exception. Given the
ostensible role of government in harnessing public choice, it is evident that the
regulatory environment concerning the protection of consumer information in
South Africa is not yet successfully addressed, let alone adheres to international