With Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) now in effect in the country the University of South Africa (Unisa) has once again reiterated to students that their officially assigned email addresses must be used at all times when communicating with the school.
“To assist Unisa to safeguard your personal information, please ensure that you use your myLife e-mail account when communicating with the university. By using your myLife e-mail account, the university has a reasonable assurance that we are communicating with you, as your e-mail address contains your student number and you use your login credentials to access the account,” an announcement reads.
There are, however, some caveats to this where using a personal email address is permitted –
• New applicants who are enquiring about information for the purpose of applying for admission.
• New applicants who do not yet have a myLife e-mail account, because they have been admitted but not yet registered.
• Where a student requires assistance in resolving myLife e-mail account access problems.
Unisa has a complicated history with its email system. It has, in the past, needed to ask that students stop directly emailing staff and management about enquiries. This is because Unisa emails are often left unread and unanswered for weeks or months.
This is part of the reason that the #UselessUnisa hashtag was trending on Twitter back in May, but it seems this reminder of using the official email system has more to do with POPIA and ensuring that those emailing the university are actual students, and using communication channels it can oversee.
“Please be aware that any personal information you publish on public platforms, such as social media platforms and WhatsApp groups, is not covered by the provisions of Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013. Any personal information published in the public domain is not considered private and can, therefore be accessed by external parties with access to such platforms,” the announcement concludes.