The Protection of Personal Information Act, also known as POPIA has come into effect as from 01 July 2021.

Section 69 of the POPIA, which related to direct marketing by means of unsolicited electronic communications, states:

“The processing of personal information of a data subject for the purpose of direct marketing by means of any form of electronic communication, including automatic calling machines, facsimile machines, SMSs, or email is prohibited unless the data subject;
• has given his, her or its consent to the processing; or
• is, subject to subsection (3), a customer of the responsible party”.
According to POPIA, all WhatsApp groups need to adhere to the Act from 1 July 2021.

The compliance due date for the Protection of Personal Information Act, 4 of 2013 (“POPIA”) was 30 June 2021. This deadline brought about a few changes. One of these changes is that the administrators will be required to obtain your consent for being part of any WhatsApp group.

As such, you are herewith notified that you are entitled to refuse such consent and you may exercise such a right by leaving the group.

Should you elect to remain in the group, it will be accepted that you have consented to being a part of the group and to your personal information (being your cell phone number and personal name) being noticeable to any person in the group.

In this regard, we implore on all members of the group not to make use of such personal information for whatsoever reason, without obtaining the consent of the relevant person.

You may not share contact numbers on the group. This must be done privately with the group administrator, or with the person in question.

It will now be imperative for the group administrator to send the person an invitation link to the WhatsApp group instead of adding them. It is different with non-personal, formal and business groups.
It is important to note that a person or businesses that create groups to market their goods and services must get consent before adding. Like with personal groups, you could also try sending a link instead of directly adding them. It is also advisable to post a notice and basic rules on formal or non-personal groups.