Original Research

The information legislation (PAIA, POPI, RICA) awareness of undergraduate university students: A longitudinal study

Joel Arthur
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 23, No 1 | a1363 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v23i1.1363 | © 2021 Joel Arthur | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 December 2020 | Published: 04 October 2021

About the author(s)

Joel Arthur, Department of Information and Knowledge Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Governmental legislation directs and guides the manner in which organisations and individuals manage their information. This has a direct impact on the development of organsiational policy and procedures. An individual’s awareness of such legislation is of utmost importance in order to understand how individuals use information.

Objective: The research problem is focussed on the awareness of information legislation by average South African first year student. The study goes on to further investigate how awareness impacts the manner in which users apply the knowledge to everyday use of their personal information.

Methods: The study utilised a mono-method and quantitative methodological framework. The data collection instrument was a survey in the form of a questionnaire. The survey was conducted amongst 2017 undergraduate student and repeated in 2018.

Results: The young adult demographic, of which the sample of undergraduate university students, findings indicated that the increase in awareness of Protection of Personal Information, Promotion of Access to Information and Regulation of Interception of Communication Act legislative acts directly impacted the students’ ability to manage and share their information more strategically. Students’ knowledge of the acceptance of the acts into legislation was not of great importance; however, the use of the acts concerning their personal information proved to be of greater significance.

Conclusion: The study’s findings confirmed that the sample had been introduced to the idea of information legislation and that their awareness of the legislation does in most cases affect their use and management of their personal information. It also revealed that an in-depth knowledge of the legislation was not a necessity rather an overall understanding of the legislation was important. Recommendations for future studies arose from the study.


information legislation; POPI; PAIA; RICA; information protection; information transparency; information regulation


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