“As far as the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) is concerned, only the two people that had that conversation should have access to the recording. In this case, the recording was put on social media; that is totally wrong and in violation of the king’s privacy,” Hattingh said.
In the audio clip, sales agent from MiWay Sthembiso Sithole called the King, Goodwill Zwelithini, and offered him low premiums on his car insurance, house and furniture.
The king asked Sithole if he knew who he was talking to and he responded by saying “with Zwelithini Zulu”.
The king then told Sithole that he was talking to the wrong person because he was the king of the Zulu nation.
“That clip is kept as a record if there was a transaction concluded in case the consumer lodges a dispute. It serves as evidence of an agreement that was undertaken, to verify if it is not what actually transpired. It should never be made public, it is private information,” Hattingh said.
He added that consumers can seek legal redress in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act if their private information is leaked.
In a statement, the Royal Family indicated that it was seeking legal guidance to explore possibilities of taking legal action against MiWay.
Prince Thulani Zulu said, although the employee was remorseful after the king had reprimanded him, the royal family was disappointed that instead of making a formal apology, MiWay Insurance leaked the audio clip to members of the public.
“We do not only consider this an insult to the Zulu nation but we believe that it is an indication of a high level of intolerance of the culture and customs of indigenous people of this country.
“It is our view that Miway should be punished for the violation of the Consumer Protection Act. The act guarantees the ‘right to privacy’ and ‘right to fair and responsible marketing’,” Zulu said.
He added that the royal family would lodge a complaint with the Information Regulator, advocate Pansy Tlakula.
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal called for a severe punishment against MiWay to send a strong message to other companies violating consumer laws.
The chairperson for Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, Mathole Motshekga, said all protocols were trampled on by MiWay and its agent.
MiWay CEO Rene Otto tweeted on Saturday that he had contacted the king to apologise about the incident and “ he was very relaxed about the incident. He had a good laugh about the fact that the incident was ‘all over social media’ and said ‘don’t worry, brother’.”