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Use of Personal Data—South Africa

Use of Personal Data—South Africa

Upon becoming a publisher, a person acknowledges that the worldwide religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses (“Jehovah’s Witnesses”)—including the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of South Africa NPC, and similar cooperating organizations of Jehovah’s Witnesses—lawfully uses his or her personal data in accordance with its legitimate religious interests. Publishers willingly provide personal data to their congregation as outlined in the book Organized to Do Jehovah’s Will so that they may participate in religious activities in connection with their worship and also receive spiritual support.—1 Peter 5:2.

Personal data includes a person’s name, date of birth, gender, date of baptism, contact information, information related to spiritual well-being, field ministry activity, any roles held among Jehovah’s Witnesses, or any data that publishers provide as they engage in additional religious activities. The data includes information that would reveal the publisher’s religious beliefs and may also include other sensitive personal data. Use of personal data may mean collecting, recording, organizing, and storing that data, as well as performing other similar operations on it.

The Data Protection Law in this country is the following:

The Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013.

Under this Data Protection Law, Jehovah’s Witnesses use the personal data of publishers for religious purposes, including the following:

  • maintaining and administering the religion of Jehovah’s Witnesses;

  • participating in any meeting of a local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and in any volunteer activity or project;

  • choosing to participate in a meeting, an assembly, or a convention that is recorded and broadcast for the spiritual instruction of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide;

  • attending to any assignments or fulfilling any other role in a congregation;

  • maintaining Congregation’s Publisher Records;

  • shepherding and care by elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Acts 20:28; James 5:14, 15); and

  • recording emergency contact information to be used in the event of an emergency.

Personal data will be kept for only as long as the purposes stated above or other legitimate purposes apply. If a publisher, when requested to do so, chooses not to sign the Notice and Consent for Use of Personal Data form, Jehovah’s Witnesses may not be able to evaluate the publisher’s suitability to fulfil certain roles within the congregation or to participate in certain religious activities.

Jehovah’s Witnesses operate globally. Therefore, publishers’ personal data may be transferred to, transit through, or be stored outside the country in which they are located. This may include countries whose laws provide different levels of data protection, which are not always equivalent to the level of data protection in the country from which the data may be sent. Jehovah’s Witnesses take appropriate measures to guarantee adequate protection for any information so transferred. This may include using binding agreements for such transfers. All recipients who are part of the worldwide religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses use publishers’ personal data only in accordance with the Global Data Protection Policy of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Publishers have the right to access, to request deletion or restriction of processing of, to object to the processing of, and to correct any inaccuracies regarding their personal data held by Jehovah’s Witnesses. If publishers give consent to process their personal data for other activities, they may at any time revoke their consent with regard to certain future uses of their personal data. If publishers object to or withdraw consent for the use of personal data or if publishers request their personal data be deleted or its processing be restricted, Jehovah’s Witnesses may continue to use some personal data, based on their legitimate religious purposes or on another lawful ground provided for in the Data Protection Law. Publishers are aware that they have a right to lodge a complaint with the Information Regulator.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have adopted various procedural and technical safeguards, in accordance with the Data Protection Law, to protect personal data. Publishers understand that their personal data will be accessed only by a limited number of authorized persons to fulfill the above purposes.

Any inquiries to the relevant data protection officer may be sent via email to the following email address:

Publishers understand that the identity of and contact information for the Responsible Party in the country in which they reside and, where applicable, of its representative and its Information Officer, can be found on the Data Protection Contacts page of

The data practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses may change from time to time because of changes to certain religious activities, the law, or the nature of technology. If it ever becomes necessary to change this Use of Personal Data page, those changes will be posted on this page so that publishers are always aware of what information is collected and how it is used. Please check back from time to time for changes to this page.