The Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act expected to commence on April 1, 2020 may be in effect sooner than planned as the Information Regulator has asked President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare the remaining provision of the act.
One of the biggest concerns felt within the new act is the protection of personal information especially when it comes to markets or spam callers. In 2019, a report by TrueCaller revealed that South Africa is ranked as the fourth most spammed country in the world.
In recent years South Africa has seen a 40% increase in spam calls, going from 15 to 21 spam calls a month. South Africa is the only African country to rank in the world’s top 20 most spammed countries in 2019.
According to Pansy Tlakula, the chairperson of the Information Regulator of South Africa, the new act will give the regulator enforcement powers allowing them to levy fines and pursue criminal prosecution.
This will assist in providing protection from unwelcome calls but this protection will not extend to information posted online. These new regulations under the POPI Act will help to ensure that companies have proper measures in place when dealing with private information.
Although some of the provisions of the new act are already in place much confusion still remains about the laws of direct marketing. This will allow for better control of all forms of electronic communication from faxes, SMSes and email to automated calling machines.
By March 2020, South Africans could finally be in for a break from these irritating and persistent forms of market following the motivation for the act to be implemented as soon as possible.