Protection Information Act, or simply the POPI Act, is a set of conditions for statutory processing of personal information.

The POPI Act in South Africa affects how you—the website owner—use cookies and track visitors online. This also aims to regulate the way companies secure the confidentiality and integrity of their data assets.

This is to prevent loss and damage of personal information, as well as unauthorised access. This law was signed on November 26, 2013, and all companies are required to comply with it. 

Failing to comply with the POPI Act will result in penalties and possible imprisonment of up to one year with fines that can sum up to R10 million. This fact alone can tell why your website should be compliant—among others.

Do Company Websites Need to be POPI Policy?

Each company websites in Africa need a POPI policy for the following reasons:

  • It give a substantial effect to the legal right to privacy in terms of protecting personal information—for instance, accumulating user data through website forms.
  • Regulate the way personal information is processed.
  • To comply with the necessary demands for personal information processing.
  • Give rights and solutions to persons in order to guard their personal info when processed. 
  • This will also establish both compulsory and voluntary measures as set by the Information Regulator.

What Will Happen If My Website Isn’t Compliant with the POPI Act?

Non-compliance with the POPI Act will result in business implications and face fines of up to R10 million for each violation. In addition, the company’s executives can be jailed for at least 10 years.  

Furthermore, the Information Regulators can shut down your business totally for several days or weeks due to non-compliance. Thus, it’s best to comply with the POPI Act if you don’t want a major problem to hit your business in South Africa.

How to Ensure My Website is Compliant with the POPI Act?

It’s vital for us that our valued clients know of the non-compliance implications with the POPI Act. Thus, it’s important to make an effort to ensure POPI compliance by doing the following:

  • Get the user’s consent to gather and process their personal information online.
  • Be specific in stating how you’ll use and protect the information you have.
  • Get only the information you need for a particular purpose.
  • Implement reasonable security measures to protect the personal information gathered.

Is There a Benefit of Being POPI Compliant?

There are great advantages of being POPI compliant and part of that is not paying for a hefty amount of fines (in case you’ve breached several mandates). In addition, it can boost trust relationships with your customers, improve your data quality and earn you a competitive advantage against your competitors.

Trusting Relationship with Customers

One of the best benefits that you can get from being compliant is developing a trusting relationship with your customers. This is of course—apart from the massive penalties and potential prosecution if proven guilty. 

Since the POPI Act is on a national scale, being compliant with it will provide your business with increased trust and satisfaction from the customers. They’ll likely engage with your business more often, knowing that their personal data is safe, secure and not violated.

Data Quality Improvement

To ensure compliance, an organisation will make a thorough effort to analyse and review its databases. This will guarantee that no personal details are involved in the agreement to unauthorised parties. 

Moreover, it’ll also cause organisations to update their database to assure all customer and stakeholder info is correct, resulting in data quality improvement.

Competitive Advantage Against Competitors

Letting your customers feel secure by complying with the POPI Act means a lot to them. It gives them a sense of value and protection, attracting them to choose your business over the others.

So, with the given benefits, it’s best to ensure that everything about your website is POPI compliant. This is to let you enjoy the advantages of being compliant and prevent paying up to R10 million with possible 10-year imprisonment for non-compliance.