There are various pieces of legislation governing direct marketing within South Africa. Currently the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 (No. 25, 2002) as well as the Consumer Protection Act 2008 (No 68 of 2008), is the overarching Acts to govern direct marketing. There are industry specific legislation which also addresses direct marketing, however, the majority will be in line with these Acts and the Protection of Personal Information Act 2013 (No 4 of 2013).
The Protection of Personal Information Act (Act No. 4, 2013 (“POPIA”)) aims to promote the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies. It applies to personal information of individuals and, when applicable, of organisations. POPIA is not yet in force. In April 2014, the President of South Africa ordered the commencement of some of the provisions of POPIA regarding definitions and regulations, but the implementation of POPIA depends on the setting up of the Protection of Personal Information Regulator, which published the final version of its POPIA regulations in December 2018. Section 114 of POPIA provides that once the law is fully implemented, its substantive provisions will become enforceable after a one-year transitional period.
The Direct Marketing Association of Southern Africa (the “DMA”) is a non-profit company dedicated to the development of the Interactive and Direct Marketing (“IDM”) industry. The DMA is the pre-eminent direct marketing association in South Africa for all interactive and direct marketing disciplines, channels and technologies. The DMA aims to create an environment that fosters the growth of interactive and direct marketing by:
- representing the interests of members on issues of common importance;
- taking a leadership role in identifying, planning for and reacting to matters affecting IDM;
- influencing and shaping policy initiatives which impact IDM, including through the education of Government;
- promoting integrity and ethical business conduct amongst members in the interests of consumers as well as members, as well as taking an active role in ensuring compliance by its members.