COVID Alert SA app
Privacy Policy
Terms & Conditions


1. Scope and Purpose

1.1 These Terms and Conditions govern the acquisition and use of the National Department of Health’s (the NDoH) application entitled “COVID Alert SA” (the app) by users and form an integral part thereof.

1.2 The purpose of the app is to notify users who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19, while providing protection for each user’s right to privacy as provided for in section 14(d) of the Constitution.

1.3 The provisions and safeguards in the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (Act No. 4 of 2013) have been used as a benchmark for the protection of the right to privacy.

1.4 Important: please read these Terms and Conditions of use in conjunction with the Data Protection and Privacy Policy for the app. The Privacy Policy also governs and applies to your use of the app and is incorporated herein by this reference.

1.5 As explained in detail in the Privacy Policy – your privacy is protected. The app is not capable of:

1.5.1 Using your GPS location to track your location;

1.5.2 Being used by law enforcement to identify or track you;

1.5.3 Accessing personal information or data saved on your phone (i.e. your emails, messages, or phone contacts); and

1.5.4 Discovering your name or address, or your health information.

1.6 The app does record the following information in an encrypted, anonymous and de-identified form:

1.6.1 How close your device is to another anonymous app user; and

1.6.2 The date and time of these events.

1.7 This data is kept on your phone (not on any centralised server) for 14 days. Anonymized data is uploaded and only used when notifying your positive status.

2. Conditions of access and use

2.1 The installation of the app on a mobile phone and the employment thereof is entirely voluntary for users.

2.2 The use of the app and its functions described in these terms and conditions is currently restricted to the territory of the Republic of South Africa.

2.3 By accessing the app, the user declares that he or she has understood and accepted the following terms and conditions as well as those set out in the Privacy Policy. If the user does not agree to these conditions, then the app is not to be used.

3. How the app works

3.1 The activation of Bluetooth is required for the operation of the app. The app uses Bluetooth Low Energy, in order to preserve the battery life of your mobile device.

3.2 Users are anonymously informed via the app if they have been in close contact (proximity) with a user who has tested positive for COVID-19.

3.3 Once enabled, a user’s device will regularly send out a beacon via Bluetooth that includes a random Bluetooth identifier (random ID). Basically, a string of random numbers that are not tied to a user’s identity and these random numbers change every 10-20 minutes for additional protection.

3.4 The app uses the Apple-Google Exposure Notifications framework to allow Bluetooth to estimate distance from other phones running the app. Other phones will be monitoring for these beacons and broadcasting theirs as well. When each phone receives another beacon, it will record and securely store that beacon on the device. This includes the signal strength, the date and the estimated duration of proximity.

3.5 At least once per day, the system will download a list of the keys for the beacons that have been verified as belonging to people confirmed as positive for COVID-19.

3.6 Each device will check the list of beacons it has recorded against the list downloaded from the server. If there is a match between the beacons stored on the device and the positive diagnosis list, the user will be notified and advised on steps to take next.

3.7 A match is determined based on a risk-scoring algorithm, which considers the following:

3.7.1 The random codes from the user’s device who tested positive are registered;

3.7.2 Whether the proximity between the two users is considered to be of significant risk to warrant the interaction being stored e.g. ±2 meters. Proximity is determined by signal strength; and

3.7.3 Whether the duration of the close interaction is considered to be of significant risk to warrant the interaction being stored e.g. 15 minutes.

3.8 From time to time the NDoH may revise the risk-scoring algorithm in consultation with other experts, including the World Health Organisation.

4. Alerting others of a positive diagnosis

4.1 If you test positive for COVID-19, the NDoH generates a unique PIN which is sent via SMS to you. If you are a user of the app, you can voluntarily share your random ID’s with the app by entering this PIN into the app.

4.2 The NDoH uses this unique PIN combined with the user’s date of birth in order to ensure a valid positive diagnosis and upload of keys.

4.3 Without ever sharing who you are, this allows us to alert other app users that they are at risk of exposure to COVID-19 because someone they have spent time near has tested positive.

4.4 What are notified users told?

4.4.1 Notified users are told that a proximity event has occurred, i.e. that they were in close contact (proximity) with someone with COVID-19, as well as the date and duration of the potential exposure.

4.4.2 They are not told which user has been infected.

4.4.3 The notification also informs the user about what to do next and the resources available to them.

4.5 The app also communicates the behavioral recommendations of the NDoH. The app will only share advice. The app cannot and will not perform a medical assessment or order the user to comply with any measures (e.g. quarantine).

4.6 The app does not track the user’s location or use geolocation services.

5. Users’ duties of care

5.1 Users are responsible for technical access to the app.

5.2 Users are required to take reasonable security measures to protect their own devices against unauthorised access by third parties and against malware. These steps include, but are not limited to, having a passcode to open your device, and to practice caution when downloading software onto the device (i.e. always make sure it is from a trusted source).

5.3 The user’s attention is hereby drawn to the security risks associated with use of the internet and of internet technologies.

5.4 Users are required to keep the app updated. There is no entitlement to use a specific version of the software.

5.5 Users are required to check any data they enter for completeness and correctness.

5.6 When using the app, users are responsible for complying with any applicable legal provisions and these Terms and Conditions.

6. Liability and warranty

6.1 While the NDoH, Discovery Limited, and Telkom SOC Ltd (the developers) take every care to ensure the correctness of the information, content and communications published in the app, the developers make no warranty as to the correctness, accuracy, currency, reliability or completeness thereof.

6.2 The developers expressly reserve the right, at any time, without prior notice, (partly or completely) to alter, delete, or refrain from publishing information and content.

6.3 To the extent permitted by law, any claims for liability against the developers for damage, including material, immaterial or consequential damage arising from using the app are waived by the user. These include damage caused, for example: by access to, use or non-use of the app and the associated information, content and communications; from misuse of the connection, from technical faults; or from infringement of the user’s duties of care.

6.4 The user is responsible for and assumes the risk of any action or behavior undertaken on account of information, content or communications in the app, e.g. self-isolation/quarantine. To the extent permitted by law, the developers will not be liable under any circumstances for any resultant damage.

6.5 The developers assume no responsibility and makes no warranty that the functions and use of the app will be permanently and continuously available and free of errors or faults, that errors will be rectified, or that the servers will be free of viruses or other harmful elements.

6.6 The developers are entitled to interrupt or discontinue use of the app at any time.

6.7 The app may contain links to other websites that are not operated by us. If you click on a third-party link, you will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise you to review the Privacy Policy of every site you visit. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third-party sites or services.

7. Data protection

7.1 Every person has the right to privacy and to be protected against misuse of their personal data. Personal data and information is only requested where necessary and is treated in strict confidence and in accordance with the Privacy Policy.

7.2 In close collaboration with their service providers, the developers make every effort to protect data against unauthorised access, loss, misuse or falsification.

7.3 The processing of personal data by the developers is governed by the app’s Privacy Policy.

8. Termination of use

8.1 Use of the app can be terminated by the user at any time by deleting/uninstalling it from the mobile phone.

8.2 If the app is no longer required, or proves inadequate, to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, the NDoH may terminate or deactivate the app.

8.3 At the latest when the national state of disaster due to COVID-19 is no longer in force, the NDoH will deactivate the app and request users to uninstall it from their mobile phones.

9. Copyright, property rights and rights of use

9.1 Apple and Google have granted the NDoH a license to use Tools, API’s and Frameworks. Apple and Google retain all of the IP related to their software.

9.2 All copyright in the app is held by the NDoH. All copyright for the implementation of the Google/Apple API, including the risk scoring algorithm, as well as the screen designs and flows are held by the NDoH.

9.3 The information and content is made accessible to the public. The content published in the app by the developers is for personal use only. Any further reproduction or passing-on of content to third parties, without prior written permission, is not permissible. The downloading or copying of content, or other files does not result in any transfer of rights as regards the content.

9.4 Copyright and any other rights relating to content, images, photos or other files in this app are held exclusively by the developers or the specially designated rights holders. For the reproduction of any elements whatsoever, written consent is to be obtained in advance from the copyright holders.

10. Advice

10.1 In order to minimise the possibility of false positive matches, we suggest that you switch off contract tracing when:

10.1.1 You are fully protected from customers or colleagues by a physical barrier (i.e. such as a Perspex or glass screen); and

10.1.2 Your phone is placed in a locker or equivalent storage facility.

11. Final provisions

11.1 Use of the app is free of charge for users. Any costs arising for network access to enable use of the app are borne by the user.

11.2 The NDoH reserves the right to amend or add to these Terms and Conditions at any time. The new conditions will be communicated to users through the app.

11.3 Should one provision of the Terms and Conditions be invalid or inoperative, the other provisions thereof shall not be affected.

11.4 The parties agree that South African Law will apply to this Agreement (Terms and Conditions).

11.5 The place of performance of the agreement is South Africa.