The 1st of July marked the beginning of the roll out of a piece of legislation that remained in a virtual state of dormancy since 2013. It is now seven years later, and with that, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA or POPI Act) has finally come to fruition.
The Act, which gives effect to section 14 of the Constitution, provides that everyone has the right to privacy, and in essence, can be considered South Africa's version of GDPR.
The sections that commenced on 1 July 2020 are:
- Sections 2 –38 dealing with exclusions and the conditions for lawful processing of personal information;
- Sections 55 – 109 dealing with the responsibilities of information officers, direct marketing (unsolicited electronic communications), relevant Codes of Conduct and enforcement mechanisms (offences, penalties and administrative fines); and
- Section 114(1), (2) and (3) which deals with transitional arrangements.
The sections that will commence on 30 June 2021 are:
The Act will ultimately affect all South African companies and with that all entities, big and small, need to ensure compliance.
The biggest impact is on organisations that process lots of personal information, especially special personal information, children’s information, and account numbers. The most affected industries are financial services, healthcare, and marketing.
There will be a one-year grace period in which all data processing must be made to conform with POPIA. Public and private companies are obliged to use this one year grace period to get their houses in order.
We are on this journey together, so please don't hesitate to schedule some time to enable us to assist you and your business to comply whilst simultaneously optimising your digital marketing efforts.
Is one year a realistic expectation in light of Covid-19?
The Act provides for an extension of the grace period by the Information Regulator to up to three years, which realistically could be the case based on current circumstances as well as the fact that businesses may not have the resources at hand to implement the provisions of the act effectively within this time period.
Saying this , the time to act is now as this extension isn't guaranteed.
What to do next?
The starting point is to get a better understanding of how the Act will ultimately affect your business and identify the steps and processes that need to be implemented during this window period.
Velocity Media will be curating a content series over the next few months, which will educate you and your team on how to ensure compliance, the various mechanics to grow your leads/customer lists, and how to use data intelligently and responsibly to ultimately improve your company's bottom line, and enhance customer reputation and loyalty.
Challenge or Opportunity
Beyond ensuring that your company is compliant, this is the perfect opportunity to enhance the hygiene of your client database by cleaning, enriching and segmenting your audiences, which will ultimately enable you to improve customer loyalty and ROI by being able to run personalised and targeted campaigns to the right audiences at the right time, while having a better understanding of your customer and their needs.
By complying with the Act, you will also be protecting and respecting the rights of your customers, as well as building long term brand trust and loyalty.
Who is Velocity Media?
Velocity Media is an inbound and database marketing agency which specialises in cleaning , enriching and segmenting databases with a viewpoint of personalised communication. Our primary objective is to build brand loyalty and convert interested parties into customers and customers into advocates.
We also pride ourselves in our ability to build opt-in databases through a variety of digital tools and mechanics that we have developed over the years.
Please don't hesitate to book a free consultation to assess how POPIA will affect your business and how Velocity Media can assist to get your digital and database marketing efforts where they need to be to flourish in this exciting time.