GovChat Privacy Policy

Last updated May 2023


1.1 GovChat Proprietary Limited (“we” / “us” / “our”) respects the privacy of our users (“user” / “you” / “your”) and protects your privacy in line with the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 ("POPIA").

1.2 This Privacy Notice ("Notice") explains how we collect, use, share, and safeguard your personal information when you use our application (“GovChat” / “Application”). A user is a natural person (i.e. an individual) or a juristic person (i.e. an organisation) who enters into a relationship whether it be contractual or otherwise with us for the use of our Application and services.

1.3 GovChat functions as a Progressive Web Application ("PWA") (currently accessed through A PWA is a website that looks and behaves as if it were a mobile application. Through this function, GovChat assists in enhancing the communication, engagement and service delivery between citizens and government.

1.4 Your use of the Application and sharing of any information is done on a voluntary basis. If you fail to provide the necessary information required for us to provide you with our services, it may hamper your use of the Application. Please read this Notice carefully. If you do not agree with the terms of this Notice and our Terms of Use, please do not use the Application.

1.5 This Notice does not apply to the third-party web or mobile browser from which you are accessing the PWA or any other app required to make use of our Application. We are not responsible for any of the data collected by any third party apps or browsers.


2.1 GovChat is South Africa's official citizen‑government engagement platform. We enhance governance transparency and accountability through the provision of tools for citizens to measure service levels, combined with the technology and empirical data analytics for government to improve service delivery.

2.2 GovChat's core product offering emerged from five years of development in collaboration with the South African government. Being primarily focused on local government engagement and performance monitoring, the core products were co‑created and developed via a multi-stream approach across a range of government institutions and functions. GovChat's mandate was underpinned by a long-term agreement entered into with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Leaders (CoGTA), the department charged with managing service delivery and local governance structures.


3.1 We collect several different types of information for various purposes to provide and improve our service to you. We will collect only relevant and adequate personal information necessary for the purposes for which we are permitted in terms of applicable law. The type of information that we collect will depend on how you use the Application.

3.2 Information you provide may include, but is not limited to:




This includes demographic and other personally identifiable information such as your ‑

· name;

· identity number;

· application profile identity;

· physical address; and

· email address and phone number,

that you voluntarily give to us when choosing to use the Application.

You may be requested to share health information, such as your symptoms and other medical data for COVID‑19 related purposes. [Drafting note: consider relevance of COVID‑19 and whether or not to expand scope beyond COVID‑19]

There may be instances where you submit the personal information of others. For example, details of your dependents when completing the Early Childhood Development Centre forms for the Department of Social Development. Other instances may involve you submitting personal information for or on behalf of other individuals. In such cases you guarantee that you have the necessary permission to provide such information.


This may include location pins, and physical addresses.



Information our servers automatically collect when you access the Application.


Device information such as your‑

· location; and

· any other available data that is necessary for our purposes, legitimate interests, and providing you with our services as set out in this Notice.


We may use the information collected about you via the Application to:

4.1 increase the efficiency and operation of the Application;

4.2 request feedback and contact you about your use of the Application;

4.3 detect, prevent and address technical issues;

4.4 share your requests, sentiments and feedback about service delivery on an anonymised basis to the relevant government agencies and councils;

4.5 compile anonymous statistical data and analysis for use internally or with third parties;

4.6 display targeted advertising on our Application based on, primarily, geography (location). This advertising is not specifically directed at you but rather a targeted audience (i.e. target market) based on location (e.g. users in a particular area);

4.7 communicate with you about the Application and our services and let you know about our policies and terms of use, including updates thereto;

4.8 conducting and supporting research and innovation on general social welfare, technological advancement as it relates to our Application and services, public interest, health and well‑being (e.g. to aid relief efforts such as those related to COVID‑19);

4.9 verify accounts and activity on the Application, combat harmful conduct, detect and prevent spam and any other negative experiences on the Application, maintain the integrity of our services, and promote safety and security on the Application (e.g. investigating suspicious activity or violations of our Terms of Use);

4.10 assist you with your grant funding applications to government/South African Social Security Agency (SASSA);

4.11 provide you with informative and relevant government services;

4.12 monitor and analyse usage and trends during times of crisis (e.g. COVID‑19);

4.13 provide information on the nearest medical testing facilities;

4.14 where mandated by government and after your consent has been obtained, provide COVID‑19 contact tracing;

4.15 assist in collecting information on Early Childhood Development centres on behalf of the Department of Social Development.


We may share information we have collected about you in certain situations:

5.1 By Law or to Protect Rights: we may share personal information if required by any applicable law, rule, or regulation, or if we believe the sharing of personal information is necessary to respond to legal process, to investigate or remedy potential violations of our policies and Terms of Use, or to protect the rights, property, and safety of others.


· Exchanging information with other entities for fraud protection and credit risk reduction.

· Sharing information in response to a search warrant, court order or subpoena where the applicable law requires us to do so.

· To detect, prevent and address unauthorised use of the Application and our services, breaches of our Terms of Use, or other harmful or unlawful activity.

· Co‑operating with regulatory or legal investigations.

5.2 Third‑Party Service Providers: we may share information with third parties that perform services for us or on our behalf, including data analysis, email delivery, hosting services and customer service. We also work with third party partners who help us improve our Application and services.

5.3 Affiliates: we may share information with our partners and affiliates, in which case we will require those affiliates to honour this Notice. Affiliates include public sector entities. Certain information is collected by us on behalf of Government departments (e.g. SASSA and Department of Social Development). In these scenarios, information collected will be shared directly with those Government departments. We may also share aggregated data (non‑identifiable data) in the form of visual dashboards with Government affiliates.

5.4 Marketing:


5.4.1 In terms of POPIA we are allowed to send you (if you are an existing user of GovChat) direct marketing as long as the products or services are similar to what we already offer. You will have the option to opt out of our direct marketing in each direct marketing communication that we send you. If the direct marketing relates to the products or services of third parties or affiliates we will seek your consent to provide you an opportunity to opt in.

5.4.2 We also show you general or targeted ads that businesses and organisations pay us to promote on the Application. This is different from direct marketing because it does not target you as a specific data subject. Instead, it is marketing aimed at a target audience based on certain information such as location (i.e. target market).

5.4.3 We may provide advertisers with reports about the kinds of people seeing their ads and how their ads are performing, but we do not share information that personally identifies you (e.g. information such as your name or email address that by itself can be used to contact you or identifies who you are), unless you give us permission to do so. We allow advertisers to tell us things such as their business goal and the kind of audience they want to see their ads (e.g. people situated in a particular area). We then show their ad to people who might be interested.


We provide general demographic and interest information for advertisers (e.g. an ad was seen by a woman between the ages of 25 and 34 who lives in Johannesburg), to help them better understand their audience on our Application.

5.5 If we are merged with or acquired by another entity: if the ownership or control of all or part of GovChat Proprietary Limited, including its Application and database of registered users, changes, we may transfer your information to the new owner.


We use administrative, technical, and physical security measures to help protect your personal information. We work hard to protect your information from unauthorised access, disclosure or destruction, for example, by making use of end-to-end encryption and obfuscation of personally identifiable information where possible. We utilise the services of the regional Amazon Web Services ("AWS") office, located in Cape Town, South Africa which has secure servers, to provide the Application and host information. Information relating to Application data and aggregated data (non‑identifiable data) may route via or be stored on AWS infrastructure located in Dublin, Ireland. We will take all the steps reasonably necessary to ensure that your personal information is secured in accordance with this Notice and POPIA and that no transfer of your information will take place to an organisation or a country unless there are adequate controls in place.


We store your information until it is no longer necessary for our purposes as set out in this Notice, or until your account is deleted and we do not have a legal basis to retain it for a longer period. This is a case‑by-case determination that depends on things such as the nature of the information, why it is collected and processed, and relevant legal or operational retention needs.

8 OUR legal basis for processing your personal information

Whenever we processes your personal information we have to have something called a “legal basis”. The different legal bases that we rely on are – 

8.1 Consent:  You have told us that you are happy for us to process your personal information for a specific purposes set out in this Notice.

8.2 Legitimate interests: The processing is necessary for us to perform our functions, improve our services, and provide users with access to the Application and our services.

8.3 Performance of a contract: We must process your personal information in order to be able to provide you with our services or fulfil a contract which we have with you, or to which you are a party.

8.4 Legal obligation: We are required to process your personal information by law (e.g. legal reporting obligations).

9 Your rights

9.1 You have a number of rights under POPIA which, in certain circumstances, you may be able to exercise in relation to the personal information we processes about you.

9.2 These include the right to – 

9.2.1 request us to confirm, free of charge, whether or not we hold certain personal information about you;

9.2.2 access a copy or record of the personal information we hold about you, including information about the identity of all third parties, or categories of third parties, who have, or have had, access to the information;

9.2.3 correction of inaccurate personal information we hold about you;

9.2.4 restrict our use of your personal information;

9.2.5 ask us to destroy or delete the information we hold about you; and

9.2.6 object to our use of your personal information.

9.3 Where we rely on consent as the legal basis on which we process your personal information, you may withdraw that consent at any time.

10 Contact Us

If you would like to exercise one of your rights, or if you have a question or complaint relating to this Notice and/or how we process your personal information, please contact us at We are also situated at –

1st Floor Speakers Corner

37 Parliament Street

Cape Town


We reserve the right to make changes to this Notice at any time and for any reason. We will alert you of any changes to this Notice by sending you a service message. You are also encouraged to periodically review this Notice to stay informed of updates.


May 2023