MiWay Blunders Sales Pitch With Zulu King

Last week, MiWay insurance absolutely blew their sales pitch on Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. Was this a violation of the POPI Act?
Jason Snyman
2018-02-14
A conversation between Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and a MiWay sales representative leaked earlier this week. The Zulu King, along with the rest of the Zulu royal family, is now looking to take legal action.

“I’m Not Mr. Zulu. I’m The King Of The Zulu Nation”

In the recording now making the rounds, the MiWay employee, S’thembiso Sithole, contacted the Zulu King and offered him well-rehearsed, low premiums on his car, house and furniture insurance. Sithole, who had apparently never heard of the most recognisable Zulu in the history of modern Africa, made the mistake of calling the King by his first name. According to the royal family representative, Prince Thulani, this is regarded as a huge insult.
“In what the Royal Family regards as a violation of privacy‚ the sales agent phoned His Majesty and addressed him by his name. In the Zulu culture‚ it is highly disrespectful for anyone to address His Majesty by his first name,” said Prince Thulani.
After a brief education from the King himself, Sithole could not have been more apologetic. King Zwelithini went on to complain about MiWay’s incessant, irritating phonecalls. He said that these had even interrupted his recent meetings with President Jacob Zuma. The conversation even ended on a pleasant note, with the King blessing the young sales representative. The PR blunder had been rescued! Except not, because shortly afterward, of course, the conversation had leaked to the media.
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The Royal Family Seeks Legal Action Against MiWay

Apparently they didn't quite get it the first time round, and decided to phone him again. Taking to Twitter, MiWay CEO Rene Otto claimed to have personally apologised to the Zulu King.  Many have asked how MiWay got ahold of King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu’s contact details in the first place and how the audio recording has leaked. Following the audio leak, the royal family immediately sought legal guidance.
“Though the employee was remorseful after His Majesty had reprimanded him‚ we are disappointed that instead of making a formal apology‚ MiWay insurance leaked this audio clip to the members of the public.”
The leaked recording is in clear violation of the Protection of Private Information (POPI) Act. In a statement, the royal family declared that they would be lodging a complaint with advocate Pansy Tlakula, the Information Regulator. The Information Regulator is mandated to enforce compliance with the POPI Act. Tlakula has noted the recent reports. If King Zwelithini hadn’t given his consent to MiWay to process his personal information, then the call was surely unlawful. The POPI Act is clear.
“The owner of the information must consent to the processing of his or her personal information,” said Tlakula. “That’s the first thing. We don’t know if the King gave permission to MiWay for the processing of his personal information.”

POPI Act

The POPI Act sets conditions for the lawful processing of our personal information. These conditions encompass the following:
  • The data subject must consent to the processing of his or her personal information; or
  • That personal information is processed for the purpose of performing or concluding a contract to which a data subject is a party; or
  • Personal information must be collected directly from data subject; and
  • The responsible party must secure the integrity and confidentiality of personal information in its possession or under its control by taking appropriate measures to prevent unlawful access to personal information.
The Regulator faces a slight problem, though. As yet, not all sections of POPI are operative, and it may still be a while until they are. Since the Bill was signed into law on 19 November 2013, the POPI Act has still not come into full force. The Information Regulator aims to be fully operational by the first half of 2019, with about 100 personnel to handle complaints. In speaking with TimesLive, Tlakula had stated that direct marketers often act as if ‘there is no Act.’
“If you do approach a person, for a direct marketing of goods and services‚ you have to do that with their consent,” she said. She went on to state that despite certain sections of POPIA not yet being operative‚ ‘the Regulator intends to proactively engage MiWay with regards to the processes and measures they have put in place to comply with the conditions for lawful processing of personal information as prescribed in POPIA.’
MiWay is currently investigating the situation, and will respond to our queries as soon as possible.   Start your car insurance quote.