by | Mar 26, 2021 | Personal Finance

The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA) came into effect in 2020, but companies were given a grace period until 1 July 2021 to comply. Should they not comply with the Act, they may be slapped with a fine of up to R10 million or face prison time of up to 10 years.

What is POPIA?

POPIA is the comprehensive data protection legislation in South Africa. And its purpose is to protect the personal information of South African citizens.

To achieve this, the Protection of Personal Information Act sets regulations for when it is lawful for someone to process someone else’s personal information. POPIA will also help stop identity theft, money theft and overall invasion of people’s privacy. It also means you will be getting less spam and automated calls, as companies will now need your permission to contact you. But if you have given them permission to contact you – they can do so. But only until you tell them to stop.

Sale of data

You might be wondering why you get so many automated calls when you haven’t given your contact details to any of the call centres or companies who make contact with you.

This happens because your details – like your name, surname, telephone number and email address – is sold and passed along (with the details of many other people ) in big batches, from one company to the next. Once POPIA comes into place, it will be far more difficult to sell and buy personal information.


How businesses communicate with you will now be controlled. Unsolicited, automated “robot calls”, voicemails and irritating SMS’s will have to stop. And you will be allowed to opt out of SMS’s for free. You won’t have to pay a fee when sending an SMS to say NO.

Since telephone calls do not fall under electronic data, telemarketers will still be able to contact you. Until you tell them not to.


Businesses, whether big or small, will also have to make some changes. Company websites will need to be updated with privacy policies. So that clients know what is happening with any personal information that they have supplied to that company. Employers will need to have an information officer on their team, and have an information policy in place for employees.

National Debt Advisors

Rest assured, National Debt Advisors is a credible, law-abiding company who complies fully with the National Credit Act, the Consumer Protection Act and POPIA. And that we continuously strive to give you the very best debt review service on your journey to financial freedom.

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