“This call may be recorded for quality purposes”. Legal or not?


This call may be recorded for quality purposes.….Haven’t we all heard the voice on the other end of the line. I want to explore the legality of recorded telephone calls in the light of SA legislation.

Off the cuff, the first thing that comes to mind is constitutionality and secondly I can think of two pieces of legislation that might have an effect on telephone recording, namely the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, 2013, and the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Communication Related Information Act, 70 of 2002 (RICA). Before I look at legislative frameworks, let me consider why telephone calls are being recorded.

Copyright Act of 1978 – Internet piracy case

In a 2014 court case a Cape Townian man was caught for distributing(‘seeding’) a South African movie via a torrent website. I initially thought this was our first case relating to internet piracy, but after a little bit of research I found that another man was fined R5000 and 6 months imprisonment, suspended for five years, for pirating computer programs in 2001. The hype surrounding the 2014 case of the Cape Townian was probably because in 2001 torrents were not used that much and today downloading (piracy) has become more widely used.

Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013

Hi everyone,

By now I would think that the majority of us knows about the “Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act, 2013“, which basically determines the conditions for processing information. Although it sounds simplistic, it is a rather complex requirement and non-compliance can see you being fined up to R10 million or even face 10 years in jail.

Electronic Communications & Transactions Act

Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002 (Act No. 25 of 2002)

Topic by Ian Dewar an Independent Civic Entrepreneur & Socio-economic Development Professional.

… (Not to be confused with the Electronic Communications Act which is another beast altogether). It has very useful sections, for example on Universal Access, Encryption & Authentication, and Data Controllers, and Protection of Critical Databases.